Monday, June 30, 2008

Romantically Inclined

Saturday I spoke to the Maumee Valley Romance Writer's Association. It all happened because I met Barbara Horvath (third from left in the picture) at the WEN (Women's Entrepreneurial Network) last fall. Self admittedly, she was "trolling" the crowd that day, for speakers for this group.

I took the bait!

What a fun group! They come from all walks of life; a bankruptcy attorney, an owner of a beauty salon, one who works in the newsroom of a local TV station and a stay-at-home mom were just a few that I got to talk to.

They are all in this together, most writing multiple books, some already published and others still hoping for that day. One is published both in the states and also in Great Briton. One has just received word that she is going to be published and is worried about how she now has to act when she goes to the national conference.

Some funny comments that I overhead at the lunch after the meeting.
One writer said that her husband read her book and said, "No way, I'm not doing that with you!" Her reply was that she wasn't planning on doing it with him!"

Another was from the really nice stay-at-home mom who has moved around the country so many times as a result of her husband's job. She said that she felt so bad about what she did to a heroine in one of her books. She said, "I still feel sorry for Terry because of how bad I was to her!"

(It made me wonder if she was just taking out her stress of moving on her fictional character.)

Another member was stressed over the fact that she needed to create a marketing plan for the newest book. Things like updating her website and creating a blog were all part of that plan. Her complaint was that stuff like that takes her away from writing.

Sound familiar?

It should, because all business people face the same challenges and doubts. And the romance writers are no different.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Acquaintance

I am slowly learning my way around Findlay and getting to know members of the community one person at a time.

Several months ago I met Rick Beverly at the GreaterFindlayInc monthly breakfast meeting called Fresh Brewed. Rick is the local president of Citizen's National Bank and that morning his bank had been one of the sponsors of the event.

After the formal part of the meeting was done, I had a moment to chat with Rick and asked if we could get together. We scheduled an appointment, but because of how busy each of us is, we've had to delay that appointment several times.

Wednesday I was heading to Findlay and Tuesday I found out that I had an opening in my schedule. I called Rick and he was gracious enough to give me 30 minutes of his time.

Rick is really an interesting guy. He's been in banking all his adult life, having started at little Continental State Bank right out of high school. His career has taken him through all areas of banking and several different institutions. He likes his current bank because they are local and yet can provide many of the bells and whistles for his clients that a larger bank can do.

What really won me over about him was how committed he is to his 13 year old daughter. He has helped to coach her basketball team ever since she was a little girl. In that time her team has lost only four games. Parents tell Rick that they're so happy their daughter is on the team he helps to coach because he helps to instills good skills, both basketball and life, that will be a foundation for a successful life.

Bankers are real people!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"I just did a one!"

My friend Sandy Pirwitz made me laugh the other day. She has a knack for doing that. She called me to tell that she'd just done a "one."

I (and I'm sure you are doing the same) said, "Huh?"

It seems that Sandy has a meeting scheduled with another person to get to know that person. We label that type of meeting a one 2 one. It seems that Sandy never got a word in edgewise. It was a one!

Give and take in a one 2 one meeting is a hallmark of good networking. But obviously this person didn't know better. Unfortunately, people are going to run from this person in the future.

This does NOT mean that the conversation has to be 50/50 either. Many times I like to find out as much as I can about a person and end up letting them talk 90% of the time. But I am inviting that much focus by continuing to ask questions about them.

Have you ever been involved in a one? What did you do the next time you saw that person?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scary Ways

I have just finished reading Stolen Innocence, the true story of the young woman, Elissa Wall, who was forced to marry someone against her wishes when she was only 14. She was a member of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints or FLDS as it is known. She went on to testify against Warren Jeffs in the state's trial against him. It was brought about because he forced this marriage even though she was underage and did not want it. While it is a very sad story, what is amazing is the end of the book. Elissa Wall moves through all the sadness and disruption in her life to let those in her life, especially those still in the FLDS compounds know that she still loves them. She refuses to let anger and hurt rule her life.

Just previous to this book, I read The Bookseller of Kabul, set in Afghanistan. Again women have no standing in the community and just as in the first book, women are thought of as a man's property.

In this day and age.

While I am not a man-hater, in both books, men thirsted for power. They were not happy unless everyone obeyed them.

Power. Small word. Ugly consequences.

My massage therapist has a saying displayed in her office that reads something like this, "When the power of love supersedes the love of power, only then will we have peace."

I have nothing more to say.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Best of the Best

I have been a member of BNI since January 1994. Since then I have probably attended at least 48 meetings per year for 13 1/2 years. (A few weeks of having subs for when I was on vacation or at conferences made up for the other 4 weeks per year.) If you do the math, that's approximately 650 weeks. So that means I have seen that many ten minute presentations given by members. For those of you not BNI members, each week one member gives a ten minute presentation about their business.

Today was a high point!

New member, Cheryl Minifie, who is an independent insurance agent for Preferred Insurance Network, regaled us with facts and figures about auto insurance.

How in the world could that be the best of the best???

Let me tell you.

Cheryl, disappeared from the room just about the time another member, Tom Baur, was giving her introduction. He even finished the intro and everyone said, "Where's Cheryl?"

Seconds later, the door banged open and in rushed Cheryl, straw hat, jeans and all. But this person said she wasn't Cheryl, but that she was Cheryl's hillbilly cousin, Charlene. And since Charlene had ridden in on her horse, she could only stay about ten minutes, "cause she didn't want the neighbor across the street to get mad about her horse eating too much of his grass."

Charlene "stumbled" her way through the explanation of the ins and outs of car insurance. She had us in stitches. She gave us good information that could have really been boring if presented in any other way. But what was even more important was that Charlene/Cheryl showed us how she will take care of people we'll send her way. She'll have fun with them. She also knows her stuff. And she kept repeating that her goal was to give people the coverage they need, but that's all because she doesn't believe in giving those big insurance companies any more money than necessary.

Cheryl/Charlene, my hat's off to you. You gave the best presentation I have seen in over 13 years. (That's Cheryl leaving the meeting on "horse"power!)

And gosh darn, you've put the pressure on as I'm giving my presentation in just two weeks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What's This About?

I have had an interesting week of people canceling appointments at the last minute. Now, I do know the stuff gets in the way, but in most of the instances the person either forgot or had something more important to do.


I always give out my cell phone number because I want to be notified if something does come up. I also take the person's cell # to let them know just in case I have an emergency. Because you see, I would make every effort to keep an appointment unless it was a life and death emergency.

I can tell you that I will schedule a second time, but when it happens that the second appointment is kicked to the curb, I am ready to go on to the next person.

Am I being too unforgiving?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Usually in the past 4 or 5 summers, I have made a goal to take Fridays off. I wasn't always successful and sometimes I only got part of the day, but that was the goal.

This summer, with trying to fill three Certified Networker classes in three widely ranging areas, I have booked my days full with those types of activities. I have days dedicated to meeting with people in Toledo, Findlay and Archbold (near Defiance on the map at left.)

Steve and I don't typically take a summer vacation, so no lengthy time off was planned. Then I got two communications from friends.

My friend, Deanna Tucci Schmitt, said, "I miss you, when can we get together?" We carved out the weekend of the fourth of July.

Then last night my friend, Marcia, (she'll kill me when she knows that I used the picture below!) with whom I had renewed my friendship about three years ago, e-mailed to say that she has ovarian cancer and could I come this summer. Now let me tell you, visiting Marcia and Gary at Tingley Lake, PA is like the best. But with my schedule I hadn't given myself permission to do that.

Now, it's not about me. I will be driving the long trip toward the end of July, if it fits into Marcia's chemo schedule. I'll have to change a couple appointments that week, but I can do that.

Now, I want to be there for her. Don't get me wrong, it will still be fun for me. But friends, especially long time friends, are where my thoughts are this AM.

What goal have you changed in response to a friend's call?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ask for What You Want

As I mentioned several times, I am working with the non-profit Hannah's Socks to help them get organized. Currently we are working on developing a board of directors for them. We are meeting with people to find out if they are interested in such a position and also if HS is interested in them.

During one of these conversations, I mentioned to Jack Hollister, president of the Employer's Association here in NW Ohio, that Doris Turner, the founder of HS, needed a laptop computer. He said, "Consider it done. Doris come to my office on Thursday and I'll give it to you then."

If you don't ask, you won't get.

Friday night I attended the Rotary charter night dinner with Steve. I spent a lot of time talking with Jenna Wasylyshyn. Jenna is the wife of Rotary member, Mark Wasylyshyn and he also happens to be the sheriff of our county. They live out in the country like we do. Jenna is a horsewoman and works at Serenity Farms. This is an organization I had not heard of before, so Jenna shared quite a bit about what they do. Of course, I asked the question about board members for Hannah's Socks. I figured Jenna might be too busy, but that she would know some other good people.

Flash forward to Saturday. Jenna and Mark attended a wedding in Perrysburg. At the wedding Jenna took it upon herself to talk with two people about this opportunity and both women were interested.
Like I said, "If you don't ask you won't get."

What should you ask for?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Out of Control

I have been so busy meeting with people that I have not been very good at sending thank you notes and emails. Nor am I able to remember who I have sent them to.

I shared this dilemma with my Master Mind group on Friday and they agreed that a thank you is always appreciated, even if it is late or a duplicate.

My question is, what system do you use when you are so busy all week that you don't always have time to send those notes immediately. Do you just make a list of people to thank or do you go back through you calendar to jog your memory. I badly need a system and maybe it is as simple as a list.

Help me out. I am in a little bit of chaos!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ya' Have Ta Laugh!

Yesterday, I was invited to be the featured speaker at the WEN SEMI (Southeast Michigan) meeting.

Yesterday, when I jumped into the shower, it was icy cold.

Yesterday, I decided not to wash my hair which meant that it wouldn't look quite right all day long. But I just couldn't do the icy cold shower.

Yesterday, as I headed north, I ran into problems because of the fierce storm that had hammered our area the night before. The main road that I was traveling north on, was blocked by a giant tree.

Yesterday, as I detoured, somehow I got turned around on a bunch of curving roads, and others that didn't head in a direction that seemed logical. I was so turned around that I headed south for a good five miles before I realized it. (My little Mini doesn't have a display that tells me which direction I am traveling.)

Yesterday, I finally arrived at the meeting location in a raging rain storm.

Yesterday in spite of it all, I was the featured presenter!

But let me put it into perspective.

The attendance at the meeting was a little lighter than normal. Want to know why? Most who were there were still without electrical power from the night before. But they still made it to the meeting. They probably didn't shower or have light to put on makeup or make breakfast. But they got themselves out anyway.

My challenges were minor compared to theirs!

My hat's off to those who made the extra effort!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Library Thing

Well, I figure I've saved myself about $315 at minimum. I decided to start using the library instead of ordering books online. I also started keeping track of the books I read through "Library thing" which you can link to from my blog. You can look at what I've read in the last year just by clicking on it. The first entry was May 21 '07 and since that time I've read 45 books. At an average price of $7, (if I ordered used) the savings really does add up!

I really hadn't looked at all the features of this website, but just recently realized that in the list of books, if I click a title, I get a whole bunch of information including usually a list of other books that I might enjoy. Gosh, I'm in pig heaven!

For those of you who love reading as much as I do, this might be fun for you to do, too.

What's the best book you read recently?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Nametags, Both Sides of the Story

As you have read, I was at a conference these past couple days. Also last week I graduated from Leadership Toledo. I want to compare the name tags of both organizations.

As with many groups, both had laminated name tags that were to be hung around the person's neck.

Where each was different was that one group printed the same information on both sides of the name tag and the other group only printed on one side. And you guessed it, more times than not, when I was trying to remember a name, all I could see was the blank white of the backside.
I noticed that I was a little more shy in this situation.

So my suggestion for conferences or any groups, is to print on both sides. Probably takes a little more ink and slightly more time, but the value to the people using them in priceless!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wow! I Didn't Know That About You!

There's nothing like being in a car for several hours to get to know those people better!

Yesterday, I spent five hours driving from Toledo to Lombard (Chicago) with Megan Coyle Stamos, her dad, Joe Coyle and Josie Freeman. All three were heading to the session for funeral pre-planners that I am presenting at.

Josie and I sat in the back for the trip.

I have met with Josie over coffee previously, but I didn't get the flavor of her humor then. What I found out yesterday is that she is smart, funny, persistent and has resources that support her success. When we got close to Chicago and wanted a good place to eat, Josie called her sister and then was able to direct us immediately. She even knew exactly where to park.

I am really happy that I got this opportunity to get to know the REAL Josie.

What methods have you found that help you to find out the personality nuances of business friends?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Lost is Found

No, I have not been living under a rock. Just a pile of stuff on my desk!

Nuff said!

I have a few minutes before I leave for Chicago to present to The Outlook Group. It was a referral from one of my CN students, Megan Coyle Stamos. Thanks Megan for making such a great connection.

This morning I was in Findlay, which is about 30 minutes south of here. I attended the morning session for GreaterFindlayInc and also helped with the new member orientation afterwards. Jeremiah Gracia, VP of Business Development for GFI, led the session. Why would I drive through driving rain for such an early morning meeting? The reason is that my goal is to get to know the Findlay community better. I do that by scheduling future appointments with people I meet at these events.

Interestingly, one person I met, Robert Thomas is the franchise support person for Joe Reidling, a new owner of Embroidme. Robert works from Minneapolis. Most might have ignored him, but after the formal session, I walked over an intro'd myself. We talked about BNI, as he recommends that all of their franchisees join BNI. But while he knew a little about it, he want to know more. It was great that I could give him some information and promised that we'll talk later about additional information. He wants to help those who become members of BNI to understand what they need to do to get the best out of their membership.

As the conversation continued he wanted to know more about Certified Networker. In the end, he asked for my card to pass on to someone in charge of the Midwest, as Robert thought this person might want to know how it could help their organization.

All because I wanted an outsider to feel welcome.

People can feel like outsiders, even if they live in town.

What have you done lately to make an outsider feel welcome?