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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,


There is NO LUNCH in June, but instead we will be gathering at the Bleu Smoke Restaurant for an afterhours event on June 25 from 5-7 PM.  Arlene Gerig, ReMax Preferred, is chairing the event.  She hopes that it will be a nice evening so that we can be out on their patio.  Bleu Smoke is at the SE corner of Airport and Albon Roads.  Arlene is also the sponsor of the event.  She has negotiated drink specials and also some discounts on appetizers.  Come connect with a CNer from your class or someone that you’ve never met.  We also love guests, so bring your friends, too.
On July 20, we will hold our semi-annual Fantastic Four lunch at Smokey Bones in Maumee.  This is where we seat you at tables of 4 with all four having the same or similar target market.  We have developed all new questions to launch the discussion and as always, our board members will be table captains to help facilitate the conversation.  You MUST be registered in advance for this event and can do so at The fee for lunch is $17. 

Coming up in June is the first Mini Class of the season, on Friday, June 26, from 9-11 am at Owens Community College, Arrowhead Campus, 1724 Indian Wood Circle, Maumee.  The cost of the class is $25.  The information provided is priceless!  Additionally, we will have an evening session on Monday, July 13, from 5:30-7:30 pm.  This will be at the same location.   Those wanting to register should go to
As long as you have your calendar out, turn to August 2 and pencil in the Annual CN Summer Picnic.  Always a fun time at Debby’s home, it will be from 1-5 PM.  Dessert contest still has room for 5 more homemade entries.  More next month....
Social Media

Along with Facebook we are also active on Linkedin.  All of our events get special attention on both of these platforms.  If you haven’t "Liked" us, please do so, so you can comment and add to the fun!

Member Spotlight:

Barb Wilson, SM3
by Jenn Wenzke, So Now Coaching


The sparks began to fly around Christmastime of 1992 when Barb’s now husband, Scott, transferred to her church and caught her eye.  Barb’s father-in-law was the new minister of the church. At the time, Scott was a freshman in college and Barb was a junior in high school.  When Scott returned to school, they began writing letters to each other and racked up huge phone bills keeping in touch. After graduating from college, Scott moved to Barb’s hometown of Oregon and on her 19th birthday – Christmas Eve – they became engaged. They celebrated 19 years of marriage on May 25th with their three daughters - Grace 13, Anna 9 and Gwen 5.

Scott fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter/EMT and recently celebrated 19 years of service at the Oregon Fire Department. Barb was enjoying her teaching career in early childhood education and worked as a Director of Child Development.  Life was perfect. Then the health care system where Barb worked closed six weeks before their third child was born.  Their family was devastated and Barb had no idea what to do about a new career.

Barb’s friend Adam asked if she would help with his Twitter posts and she agreed to. Extremely satisfied with the quality of her work, Adam sent Barb many referrals.  Now working part-time in the social media world, Barb asked Adam for advice regarding her next career. His response was quick, “I think you should do social media marketing.  You have fun with it and enjoy it. Why not turn it into a career?”  Within days, Barb registered her new company’s name with the state, ordered business cards, set up her website and “Social Media Marketing Matters” (SM3) was born.

Adam connected Barb to another individual that introduced her to her first BNI experience. Barb nervously joined a BNI chapter and to her surprise and excitement - her business exploded immediately.  “I can trace 100% of my business back to a referral I received from BNI members.”

Next stop: Debby Peters and CN.  Barb was scared to death to talk to Debby Peters about CN. After they met, though, Barb was convinced she should take the course.  Not only did Barb take the course, but she also is on the CN Board of Advisors and was Jason Madasz's Graduate Assistant for the most recent class Jason taught.

Barb’s greatest love?  Being a softball mom.  She even designed her very own t-shirt to wear to all the games – “Softball Mom x3”.  The family travels weekly to games that her husband and three children participate in.

Genealogy is another interest.  Barb loves researching her family tree in her free time.  Her last name was changed from McCarty to Andrews and she wants to figure out when and what event caused the name change to occur.  After her initial research she discovered there is a possible “Irish Link” somewhere.  “Plus there is a lot of red hair in the family line.”

Being involved with her community and church inspires Barb daily. She strongly believes in getting the youth connected and involved.  Knowing they have a group of friends they can always count on – without judgment - builds confidence!

How does Barb know that SM3 is the path designed for her?  When she created her business SM3, she ordered company t-shirts.  She was working in the kitchen one day wondering if she had made the right decision and one minute later the UPS truck pulled up and delivered her company t-shirts two weeks early.  That was confirmation enough for Barb and she has been enjoying the success from her decision ever since.


CN Horn Tooting


Steve Cotner, Corporate Intelligence Consultants, was inducted as a 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient for the Perrysburg Alumni Association on May 9, 2015.  Cotner graduated from Perrysburg High School in 1970. 
Tony Szczechowski, Pro Edge, is proud to let everyone know that they have hired their first outside sales professional, Chris Rigby.  His main goal will be business development of recurring services for commercial and high end residential clients. 
Karla Lewis, Sales Professional, Coach and Speaker with Southwestern Consulting, was selected by her peers from all over the world as Coach of the Year. This award is given to a Southwestern Consulting Coach who leads by example, is a practitioner of everything they teach, has a positive attitude, is a top producer for the company, gets quantifiable improved results for their clients and lives by the Southwestern Consulting Creed. Karla is currently coaching 32 clients from a variety of industries all over the country and runs on average six workshops a month for Sales Managers in Ohio who are looking to improve sales results and their lives. 
Tiffany Brunson Miracle, Watchtower IT Services, Inc. hosted a series of Tech Talks discussing Microsoft Office 365 and how it will help small businesses.  The first was an Office 365 Overview, the second discussed the Office 365 Apps in more detail, and the third talked about OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.
For the 4th year in a row Becky Pegorsch reports that Lee Winters Florist is Top 1000 FTD Florist in the World. This is an award given to florists that deliver professional floral designs and great customer service.
Mary Nyitray, Optical Arts, is proud to say that they have had another successful trunk show.  Everyone always enjoys their frozen margaritas!!
Smokey Smoktonowicz is announcing the re-branding of Otto Smoktonowicz Jr. LLC into myImaginationNetwork effective January, 2015. Smokey created myImaginationNetwork to train Entrepreneurs on the Tools and Skills of Public Speaking, Merchandising, Marketing and Sales.

Graduation Time!


We had not one but two graduations in the month of May.  The first was for the Cleveland based class, where three students joined the ranks of official CN community grads. Sharon Mack, Get Waisted, Jason Orsky, Jason Orsky Wealth Management and Julia Rankin, Keller Williams Realty GCW were members of the small but mighty class.  They spent a lot of class time figuring out how to help each other.  A lunch was held at the Wine Bar restaurant in Rocky River. Guests filled the room and made for a fun celebration.  Sharon Mack was named MVP of the class.  She gave money to a charity that Jason had told her about, 30 Hearts.  This new non-profit is finding homes for 30 orphans in Bako, Ethiopia.  If you want to know more about this grass roots group go to
The very next week, the Toledo CN community celebrated with students from two different classes, Sandy’s evening group (Jennifer Hamilton, jh Photography, Tami Harmon, attorney and Origami Owl and Brook Wagner, The Babbling Brook,  LLC, plus retakers Michelle Ansara, Women of Toledo and Michelle Quilter, GenoaBank) and Jason’s morning gang (Kerri Brimmer, Brimming Design, Kristinna Clauson, GenoaBank, Sally Ernsberger, Arbonne, Michael Hinkle, Northwestern Mutual, Greg Kissner, Duke Architecture & Design, LLC, Sarah Krafty, Krafty Travel, Patti Leupp, Naturally Organic Essentials, LLC  and Liz Thees, The Pinnacle.) As always, the Maumee Indoor Theater was alive with laughter, talk and fun.  Pam Weirauch, CN grad, provided the yummy food for the event, while Bob Werner provided the beer and also tended the bar.  It’s his way of getting to meet everyone, even though he is a self-described shy person.
While each class member shared how the course is changing their life, Debby Peters listened with excitement, because she knows that a new group of grads will join in events and bring energy to the community. 

From Sandy’s (Pirwitz) class, Jennifer Hamilton, jh Photography, was chosen MVP by grad assistant Maleigha White, Naturopathic Physician.  Jennifer chose DogWorks, because she loves dogs. An interesting side note about Jennifer is that she attended the Mini Class in Cleveland with her husband, Jeremy, because it matched their schedule better! 
The early risers MVP chosen by Barb Wilson, SM3, was Sarah Krafty, Krafty Travel, who also had the most guests in attendance! Her chosen charity was the Victory Center, which has now been honored 5 times over the years. 
Our next graduation won’t be until November 19, a Thursday evening.  You might want to note it on your calendar so you won’t miss the fun!

Networking Etiquette

When you meet someone at a networking event, the next logical step is to get together over a cup of coffee or lunch so you can get to know each other better.  Sometimes this step can be fraught with landmines.
If someone reaches out to you, unless you absolutely feel “creeped” out by this person go ahead and meet them.  Yes, we harp on focusing on your target market and those who connect with that group, but sometimes it is a good idea to just go with the flow.  You never know if this might be the one person who can make the bridge to something bigger.  But more so, as CNers, our goal is to help others be successful first.
If someone suggests in an email, that they would like to meet and gives dates and times that they have open, first, answer ASAP and second, if those dates don’t work, please give alternate dates in the return email.  Even better, make a call to this person and get it done over the phone. In my opinion nothing is more rude than just saying, “No, those dates don’t work” without adding anything to help further the communication.
Also, be aware that if you attend a networking event, whether it is speed networking, a chamber lunch or an after-hours event, you are sending an implied message that you are out there to make connections.  Make sure you allow time for follow up appointments that will result from these networking attempts.  If you don’t, you are wasting your time going to the event AND wasting the time of the networkers you are meeting at the event because they could be talking with someone else who does have time to continue the conversation, instead of you.
Being a polite networker means that people will hold you in high regard.  That is how credibility is built.
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