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Connext Nation


By Debby Peters,

July Breakfast
Our popular quarterly breakfast will happen again on July 12, from 7:30-8:45am at Pam’s Corner Restaurant on 10th Street in downtown Toledo.  For this event, we will have a panel of marketing experts that will share ideas with us on how to better reach our prospects.
Summer Picnic
Plan to just socialize with other CNers and their families and guests at the annual CN picnic at Debby Peters and Steve Cotner’s home on Sunday, August 7 from 2-5 PM.  More info will come later, but for now, just reserve that date and time on your calendar.
Using the CN Emailing List
Many of you are users of the CN email list where you can address your communication to just one address and then it goes out to all our students and grads.  It is one benefit of being part of the community!
      A few facts about this benefit:
  1. It is a moderated list, so your email will first be OK’d by CN Grad, Jennifer Bazeley, who refers to the guidelines that the BOA set up for usage of the list. Jennifer has just volunteered to assume this duty from Ernie Lewis who has provided this oversight for many years.
  2. The address to use is
  3. You MUST implement your message from the email that the CN group knows you by.  If you don’t, the system will reject you.  If you’re not sure what that address is, you can contact Debby.
We know that so many members gain benefit from getting little problems or challenges solved by using the feature and we hope to continue offering this benefit in the future. (See the story below about this list!)

Social Media
To find our page, either key in Connext Nation in the search bar of FB or using this link.  What Barb Wilson keeps the page updated and you’ll be able to keep abreast of all that’s happening in your community. Plus you might see your face there if you attend one of our events.

Member Spotlight:

Kevin Walker
by Debby Peters


Kevin Walker has a delayed-reaction sense of humor!  What I mean by that is that he may say something and then it takes me a few seconds to realize that he is now pulling his tongue out of his cheek!
Kevin opened his firm, Walker Wealth Management, about 21 months ago and he says, “Some days are great and some are still challenging, but I know that in three or four years I’ll be extremely happy that I made this jump into business ownership.”  With three young kids, Kevin is glad that he can manage his schedule so that he can attend their events.  He says, “You only get one shot with your kids and for me, family is important.”
Love Bug
Asked how he met his wife, he said, “Well I guess this conversation is going to be three hours!”  It is quite a convoluted story, but I’ll try to tell it clearly.  Kevin was working as the Operations Manager at the Mentor location of a new Best Buy store.  In the opening process, usually an experienced Operations/Customer Service person from another store is sent to help get things off to a good start.  This person for Kevin was from the Elyria store.  Eventually this woman became a permanent employee in Mentor. She decided that Kevin needed to meet one of her employees from the Elyria store.  A blind date was set up.  In the meantime, Kevin received a promotion to manage the Elyria store so the date had to be canceled, as he could not fraternize with an employee under his supervision.  This first day at the new store, Kevin met all the staff including the almost date.  Sarah.  He says. “As soon as I met her I said, ‘Damn it’ because I thought she seemed pretty interesting. “  After being in Elyria for awhile, he was moved to Syracuse, NY and then eventually back to the Cleveland area.  In the meantime Sarah had graduated from college and had left Best Buy.  Kevin emailed her about getting together and the rest is history!
He and Sarah now have three children, Ben, 8, Zach, 9 and Katie, 12.  Katie is into basketball and plays on a travel team.  Kevin is very supportive of her practices that are three times per week plus dedicating most of the weekends to the actual basketball games.  His boys are in Cub Scouts and Kevin is attending a campout with Zach during the upcoming weekend.
Tennis and dancing are two of his pastimes.  He shares, “I took up tennis as a freshman in high school and played all four years and then one year of intramurals in college.  Then life got a bit more complicated and he dropped this sport.  About 7 or 8 years ago he picked it up again and now plays 2 or 3 times per week.  He adds, “I play SMUT.....Saturday Morning Ultimate Tennis!  This is a group of guys that gets together at 7 or 7:30 to play.  They are all fairly good and it means that I can get a game in and still have most of the day for other things.  Although with the basketball games for Katie, I haven’t played in many weeks!”
Kevin presents himself as the consummate professional, so while I knew that he danced, I assumed that it was ballroom dancing.  I was wrong!  Kevin learned hip-hop from his roommate in college and can shake it up on the dance floor with the best.  He does add that perhaps it’s more jiggle now than shake!  Several years ago he won a dance competition at the United States Tennis Association in Nashville. He loves to go to weddings so that he and his wife can dance when the “real” music starts after all the waltzes have been played for the grandmas and grandpas.
Community Service
I really don’t know how he finds time, but he is actively involved with the Westlake Kiwanis and the Westlake/Bay Village Rotary.  One project he worked on recently is called “Replay for Kids.”  He explains, “This is where we rewire and refit electronic toys so that severely handicapped kids can play with them.” 
Above and Beyond
His caring nature is shown in a story about one of his clients who happens to be in his late 80’s.  Kevin was in the gentleman’s home completing some business and was about to leave when he noticed an unusual fish shaped object and Kevin asked his client, “What is that?”  The client explained that it was a cribbage board and wanted to know if Kevin played.  A positive answer meant that they sat down and played a couple games right then and there.  Kevin says that each time they meet they now play with the client even bringing the game along when he visit Kevin in his office.
Bathroom Humor
That funny sense of humor jumped out again when I asked Kevin if there was anything else he wanted to tell us.  He paused and then related, “Someone once told me that I’m like a roll of toilet paper!  At first it rolls off slowly but as more and more paper comes off, it goes so much more quickly.  That’s why I am so happy that I can be so involved with my kids right now because I know the time will go too quickly!”
Kevin takes the time to help others, including his family.  For those in the Cleveland area, give Kevin a call to find out even more fun stuff about this surprising guy!


CN Horn Tooting


Angela Crosby, reports that 9Round in Maumee celebrated its’ first year anniversary in May. Stop in at 1506 S. Reynolds Rd., Maumee at the corner of Reynolds and Dussel behind Speedway.
David Bodner, Mass Mutual Financial Group, says that his inner athlete is coming out at a later age in life. He qualified for the 2016 Age Group National Championships for the Duathlon (Run, cycle, run) in Bend, Oregon. Congrats to a man of a certain age!

Laura Grayce Beck, Beautycounter, is proud to be a graduating CNer, she is proud of her podcast, on the online rado show Defining Audacity.  It is entitled, “If I stay Frozen, I die.”  Want to listen?  Go to

Krisi Vadnais, DoTerra, has won a speech competition at the District level through Toastmaster International. This means that she will move on the semi-finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington D.C. in August. She is one of  the top 100 public speakers in the world.

Barb Wilson, SM3, had the honor of presenting two sessions on social media marketing at The Toledo Dental Society Spring Clinic that was held at Owens Community College on April 20. She says that it was a wonderful day meeting new people and presenting to 100 people at each session. 

Angie Weid, owner of Organized Solutions, is excited to have successfully launched ShelfGenie in the Toledo area.   She is still going strong with her sexy, sassy organizing magic for her clients home, office and life.  ShelfGenie is an additional design service Angie is providing to help transform everyday cabinet and storage frustrations into personal solutions.  Angie can be contacted for more information.  Also ask her about her magical adventure from zip-lining on the arctic coast to rolling down coastal cliffs Iceland.
The End of the Story!
by Debby Peters, 

Do you ever wonder what happens to the requests that come through the CN emailing list?  I know I do, but usually we just see the request end of the partnership. Occasionally, a grad will tell me what happened as a result of a posting.
Jeanne DeWitt, Computer Programming Unlimited, Inc, shared with me the end of one of those stories.  She asked me if I saw all the requests that are made on our emailing list serve and I said that I did.  She then asked, “Did you see the one about the two guinea pigs needing a new home?”  I had to admit that for some reason I didn’t see that one.  Jeanne explained that she knows the pigs that were offered have a good new home.....because she adopted them!
Jeanne and her husband, Dave, were the proud “parents” of an only child, a guinea pig that they brought out each night to be with them when they arrived home from work.  They specially prepare his meals and he even has a fenced in play area in the kitchen.  But of course, only children can get lonely, so when Jeanne saw the offer of the two guinea pigs from CNer Margie Sparks, she couldn’t resist.  The three little pigs get along quite well, even though the new ones are quite a bit smaller than their new companion. A great example of CNers helping each other in the best way!

Cause Networking 

 The new phrase being bandied about is “cause networking”, which basically means accomplishing the tasks of doing good in the community and networking into one action.  Personally, I don’t think this is new, but the phrase is.
Our Strategic Partner BNI
To give you an idea of what that might look like, we turned to Jason Madasz and Kerri Brimmer.  Kerri is heading the Business Voices project locally for BNI of NW Ohio.  Jason is the Executive Director of the region for BNI. Business Voices is an initiative of the BNI Foundation to provide help to the schools which have the greatest needs with the help of BNI members and concerned, engaged and motivated corporations, service clubs and community groups.  Jason says, “Cause Networking is simply networking events and activities that are tied to a charitable cause.
How You Can Become Involved
BNI in this area has become an official partner with Partners in Education.  Kerri shares, “They have an awesome mentoring program, but they need volunteer mentors.  We have concerned members that can be those mentors.  It’s pretty easy, just meeting twice a month with the 5th grade student assigned to you.  Even though I was given a written outline of what to do, what I have found out is that if I just listen to what the kids tell me about their day or their week, that helps so much.  They don’t normally get that attention in their lives.”
And Then There is More!
Partner’s in Education also sponsors the Dragon Boat races each year at the Docks in downtown Toledo.  This year BNI is going to sponsor a boat.  While the crew is already set, BNI will have a team tent and food is also needed for the day.  Kerri adds, “We will still need sponsors, volunteers and 30-t-shirts (donated). The sponsors can still get their logos on the shirts... we need the sponsor $150 donation and logo by Friday May 27.”
The boat race is a great example of cause networking.  Obviously spending a whole day along the river helping with this race will give you plenty of time to talk and find out about each other.  In the meantime, you will be contributing to a successful community event. 
The Business Voices committee is NOT limited to BNI members.  If you would like to be a part of this steering group, or to volunteer, connect with Kerri at Make a difference in your community.


Graduation Debuts Our Newest Grads


There’s nothing better than a CN graduation to make everyone smile!  Our most recent event had even more to smile about because there were so many little kids that were showing the unbridled energy.  We love have the whole family celebrate with our grads and so we were totally jazzed about all the youngins’ in attendance.

This was also a first for CN in that both classes were just one gender – female.  The only male representative was Jason Madasz, the trainer for the Friday morning class.  He expressed how interesting it was to channel the class material to a bunch of extroverted women!

Those being officially welcomed into the CN community were Laura Grayce Beck, Beautycounter; Beth Boehr, Love Legacy; Teresa Boyer, The Provisional Pen and Patty Slupecki, Professional Etiquette Consulting LLC from the Monday evening class.  The Friday morning representatives were:  Jennifer Abke, NOIC Homne Mortgage Lender; Carole Conner, Mary Kay; Carol Kremer, Kremer Acupuncture, Jen Linehan, Beautiful Blooms by Jen; Dede Ruckman, Uppercase Living and Deb Yeagle, ASEA.  It was fun to hear what mattered most about the class to each one. 

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