Another great morning with North County Referrals members, Marlene, Steve, James, Larry, Katie, Martina, Ginny, and Michele not pictured because she is behind the camera.

Many years ago in 2000, when I first opened my acupuncture practice I had no idea how to spread the word to let people know about my business. One of the first tips I learned from a business class was to join a local networking group, and to go to chamber of commerce meetings.  Luckily, I met a few people at the then called, I-15 Corridor Chamber of Commerce, who invited me to a breakfast meeting with the North County Referrals (NCR). 

One of the members, Frank Mihalovich, invited me to my first meeting. At the time meetings were held at Stone Ridge Country Club in Rancho Bernardo.  Many things have changed since then. Stone Ridge Country Club no longer exists, and Mr. Mihalovich has retired from real estate. However, Frank remains a good friend, and still refers business!

The reason I joined back then was because I found NCR to be a group of professionals that believes in giving, sharing, and developing personal as well as business relationships. Not only do we introduce ourselves each week, we have a chance to showcase our business as the club speaker, and to showcase our business during one of the quarterly social events.

To this day, I feel the meetings are low stress, low pressure, devoid of penalty fees, and I always leave having learned something new each week.  Each member contributes something special to the meetings. Our real estate agent, Ginny Winkler, not only gives tips about the housing market, but anything else that can help you with your home, and family.  Do you like to travel, and would you like someone to help you create the best vacation ever?  Our very own Diane DeBerry with Bobbi’s Travels will make it happen!  Her husband, Bill DeBerry from DeBerry Engineering will help you with all structural concerns of your home as the civil engineer. Are you concerned about cracks in your concrete? Ask Bill!  Do you lack the time to clean your home or business?  Worry no more because Martina Herman provides the best professional cleaning services. She also believes in using natural non-toxic products.  I cannot say enough about our chiropractor Kip Rode. He often refers others in the group.  He truly cares about our health. His health and wellness tips are a good reason to never miss a meeting, or else you will miss out!  Talking about health, unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen.  That is when it’s nice to know Steve Schulman, attorney at law. He knows how to help you with work or auto accidents. Our other legal expert is Rob Butterfield. He will help you and your family feel protected, and secure in the future should the inevitable occur. He will help get your estate planning in order. 

Networking, as you can see are the bread and butter of local businesses.  Economically it makes sense to network as there is no better referral than word-of-mouth referral. The self referrals as well as referrals of their friends and families to my acupuncture practice has paid for itself many times over.

It was the networking and relationships of the North County Referrals’ members that was instrumental in building my practice.  Whenever I needed a referral whether it was to another medical professional, massage therapy, chiropractic, dentist, health insurance, financial, accountant,  professional cleaning, or other business I could count on NCR. This just makes me want to give back to the individuals in this group even more. 

My history with NCR goes back as I said to the year 2000. I was a member for four years after joining.  For personal reasons I stopped my membership for several years.  The group had continued to grow while maintaining several of it’s founding members. Just at the right time, I was invited to rejoin by Mrs. Katie Cook, Margo Carrera (now a former member), and Mrs. Diane DeBerry when they stopped by my office one day in November of 2019. I was looking to grow my acupuncture practice as well as promote my online health and wellness classes, and books on gut health. It made perfect sense to be a part of NCR again.  Only a few months later the world shut down occurred!  

We were able to keep our meetings going strong via livestream using Zoom during the lockdown.  Thankfully, we can meet in person once again enjoying breakfast together at the IHop in Rancho Bernardo. I attribute my continued business success throughout the pandemic, and presently from my NCR membership. The contributions to the group from MaiLan Tran are huge!  MaiLan is our skin care consultant from Rodan and Fields. She knows her products, and shares amazing before and after results you won’t believe. She is the event, and social planner for NCR.  

It’s hard to believe now in 2021 that North County Referrals, a local business networking and leads group, has been active in North San Diego County for over 38 years! Larry Cook along with his business partner and wife, Katie Cook have been members for many years. Together they provide health insurance, disability, financial advice, and Aflac.  Using Larry’s and Katie’s products I know that I am well protected.  What about your business?  Do you have employees? Protect your rights, your career and business by using Marlene Zagon’s human resources consulting services known as SD Human Resources Consortium. Knowing the ins and out of HR like Marlene can save you from making major mistakes, and help correct the ones you did make.

In fact, because each member represents different business categories, different aspects to what I call the, “Web of Wellness” are available . Using my fellow members’ expertise I am assured to be protected for my health, physical, financial, career, legal, social, home and family, and spiritual well-being.

Did I mention teeth?  Our dentist, Dr. James Spalenka, is a founding member since 1983.  It is amazing how much his practice evolves overtime with the growing technology, and advancement in oral health.  Take a tour through is practice, and you will feel as if you know him through his passion for sharing his art, and photographs of surfing, and the ocean. Then take a deep breath and relax as you look around at the special equipment used to make your visit as pain free, and safe as possible.  

In the health and wellness categories we currently have a chiropractor, dentist, skin care consultant, and an acupuncturist (myself). I would like to increase membership in the health and wellness categories that will refer to each other for the benefit of their patients and clients. Plus, members within the group also use each other’s services, and refer their family and friends.  A great addition to the group would be a massage therapist, physical therapist, personal trainer, nurse practitioner, medical doctor, optometrist, yoga instructor, cook, or others I didn’t mention.

There are many other business networking opportunities that aren’t health related.

You can easily find open business categories to see if your business is needed.  Go to Available Categories – North Country Referrals (

We would love to have you join us for breakfast to see if we are a match for your business networking and growth.  Simply fill out the form on the contact us page Contact Us – North Country Referrals ( 

Happy Networking!

Dr. Michele Arnold

Michele Arnold is a doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (D.A.C.M.), and California Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.)

She has been in practice since 2000 in the North County San Diego area of Poway, and Rancho Bernardo. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *