Monday, March 9, 2015

An open letter to all Greeks, Geeks and Geeky Greeks, (Fraternity and Sorority Greeks that is)

An open letter to all Greeks, Geeks and Geeky Greeks, (Fraternity and Sorority Greeks that is)

A lot of people are up in arms about what has transpired with the Oklahoma chapter of SAE and I'd like to equally condemn their behavior. They should all be immediately expelled and perhaps their names published so future employers can review this incident prior to hiring them. I would also like to come out in support of greek social organizations and here's why.

As a sorority girl who is very proud of the association, I wear my Kappa Alpha Theta letters with pride. In my sorority, I was able to find a community in an enormous and very overhwhelming place, (University of California, Berkeley) and through it was able to develop relationships, have great career coaching, and develop social skills and etiquette which all play into being successful as an adult.

As you might imagine, I became one of the Greek leaders and was elected Vice President of Public Relations for the Panhellenic (Sorority) Community two years in a row. I designed Cal's first sorority and greek community website (because it was 1997). I represented our school at national events, and I regularly sought out opportunities to present, learn and lead. I credit my time as a Kappa Alpha Theta as to why I am comfortable leading a room today. At Theta, I had a wonderful place to live and even though there was certainly some drama, by and large it was a safe haven for me while in school. To this day, I am inspired by my sorority sisters, Panhellenic and IFC compatriots, and the many gentlemen I knew in the fraternities at Cal.

I watch children I know today struggle with social environments, how to interact with adults, how to set schedules and priorities. I remember that our assigned tasks, roles and regular meetings set a stage early on for this capability. As much as some of the archaic traditions might seem obtuse, etiquette and poise will never be. Also, we had some pretty fun parties.

Summers Mckay
(Sidenote, I think they've updated the website just once or twice since I was there.)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Newsweek & Integrated Misogyny - I've felt it. How bout you?

I once had a boss tell me I should show more cleavage, drink and flirt on a business trip with a potential client. I didn't know how to handle it particularly well, ended up doing as suggested, then telling the client and wound up getting written up for bad judgement by my boss. Another boss told me once, while I was producing shows in a male dominated industry, that it wasn't his fault I was a woman. I should bring it up less. I could go on with examples, but I won't. I left that industry.

Now of course every conversation and story can be seen from lots of different perspectives. Certainly as a late twenties woman, I struggled with understanding how to balance femininity, my natural flirty personality, my intellectual capacity and power. I wasn't EVER perfect.

I created and wrote Caution Curves Ahead to explore that feminine and powerful experience. I learned a lot through that project and many of you learned with me. I still struggle today with balancing a strong personality and the expected helpful happy bubbly Summers. At times I'm too bossy and bitchy and at other times too nice and sweet to be effective in getting others to do their share. Learning self advocacy as a woman in business isn't easy. It affects my career and my personal relationships.

This recent Newsweek article is an extremely well written, accurate depiction of the experience of being a feminine entrepreneur. It illustrates the integrated misogyny in so many of our society's structures. I have been petrified to repost it as it might incite the "it's harder to be a white guy because" response. But I am willing to take those punches if they are thrown.

This is what I've set out to change. It is why I have started my company, Delight Wipes and why I am putting everything on the line to do business different. It is scary and I don't know for sure how to pull it off. Through business, I am determined to prove that Beautiful IS Powerful, women can be powerful business leaders, loving wives and generous mothers all at the same time. Hopefully someday, I myself can become someone girls look up to and see that they can have whatever they want.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#RiseNShine Darlings! My Deepest Desires & Let's Do Some Meditation

Good Morning Friends!

It's bright and early and I must admit, I welcome sunrise like none other. I am perhaps one of the few that adores this time change. Here's a little ‪#‎RiseNShine inspiration for you.

I just kicked off a 21 day meditation commitment with these free guided meditations from Deepak Chopra and Oprah. I absolutely love these and sharing twenty minutes a day with myself is a hugely renewing and refocusing experience. This one is all about alignment of your hopes and dreams with your actuality.

Here are my desires, how bout yours?

1) I desire most a fulfilling and inspiring company that brings joy, abundance, passion and healing to my customers and colleagues.

2) I desire a healthy and strong body nourished by good food, good exercise, good air and a good spiritual practice.

3) I desire a partner that is healthy, ambitious, passionate, kind, adventurous and has intrinsic self-respect.

4) I desire a home that is safe, welcoming and warm - a home that is clean, tidy and has cross breezes to bring air of joy, winds of change and shed the light of opportunity upon us.

5) I desire a family that nurtures, fosters and teaches self-respect and to be the parent of healthy, hard working and curious children.

6) I desire to awaken most days with optimism, enthusiasm and hopeful ambition.

- Like today, I desire more days like today!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Lifeguard Rule - 5 Daily Reminders and Life Must Do's

We all have way too many things in our lives on a weekly basis to ever feel like we get everything done. Obligations, commitments (real or imagined) and self imposed standards about how we will comport ourselves with one another affect us in huge ways. Whether it's at work, in your friendships, in your family or in your romantic relationships - a lot of time is spent on others and worrying about others.

Long ago I discovered something I have tried very hard never to forget. It's called the Lifeguard Rule - and it's simply this:  If you are not safe, well cared for, healthy and strong - you cannot help others be safe, well cared for, healthy or strong.

When a lifeguard dives courageously into the ocean to assist someone, she does so with a full artillery of training, knowledge and fitness. She doesn't ignore herself and her needs for weeks or months and then say "Hey, I think I'll jump in and help that guy today!"

I believe all professional and personal relationships must all be driven by a me-first policy. If you don't put yourself first, nobody else will believe you are a priority or treat you like one. Loving yourself and respecting the care you need, will set the correct good example.

It's an add on to that important but not standalone Golden Rule.

I've been stressed, tired, working long hours, missing my friends while worrying about setting up a new home, a new business and a new life. I was so stressed that I was brought to tears and ended up having a total Facebook rant about a well known scummy landlord for withholding some of my old deposit despite the fact I cleaned that damn place to near perfection. Why did I do that again? Oh yeah - that dumb Golden Rule.

I have NOT been paying attention to the Lifeguard Rule. I haven't actually been caring for ME and it's affected how well I can do my job and how I can care for others.

There's always a reason to delay change, to get to it next week. There's always something in the way of putting off what's good for you today until the never reaching tomorrow. It's time to stop that.

So make lists, put them on our walls and give yourself a forty day challenge to do em! Let's see what happens when we do.

Here's my list of five.

1) Hydrate - Yep, water. Lots and lots of water. There are lots of different guidelines out there on how much you drink a day, but for me I need about 120 oz to feel awesome. (Between this and all the coffee that I love, it's a very fluid situation).

2)  Take Your Vitamins & Supplements - Yes, I know they are controversial and people say we should get it in the food we eat, but for me - just me - my daily vitamins give me a healthy and powerful energy boost. Calcium, Women's Multi, Glucosamine, Cranberry Pills, Vitamin B, Vitamin C do the trick. I'm a huge fan of mixing a little Emergen C and using it to take my pills.

3) Exercise - REAL exercise for me has to be pretty heart pounding. A spin class, a hot yoga class, a six mile hike, a level -19, resistance-19 forty minute elliptical session generally do the trick. I do my best thinking when my body is hot! (I mean temperature, but thanks guys)

4) Learn Something - Whether it's industry news, participating in an online class, reading a friend's blog or getting in a good podcast (Freakonomics) - My day is better and my life is better when my brain is engaged.

5) Make Your Bed - Get up, make your bed. That's how I grew up. Those were the rules in my house and I am grateful for them. I firmly believe that starting your day with a freshly made bed sets a clear path to a productive day ahead. It also makes it that much more delicious to crawl into at the end of an accomplished day.

So what's your list of five? (Yes, limit it)

Show me how you are going to remember to live the Lifeguard Rule!

Treat yourself how you would like others to treat you. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Women, Where Are You? Oh yeah, and I got ink in the Wall Street Journal.

In mid July, I sent an email out to a few thousand people in the UCLA Anderson alumni database. The message was pretty simple. Hey everyone, thank you for helping by volunteering for the program I run. Hey girls, would you help too? It returned a cool response and more women started raising their hands to volunteer and mentor.

Then something entirely wonderful incredibly awesome happened, but I wasn't sure I could tell anyone. A writer at the Wall Street Journal contacted me and asked if I would be willing to participate in a story he was doing on precisely that challenge. I said "yes" and inhaled deeply. I knew that the people I worked for wouldn't be all that excited to see my name in print. In an ironic twist, shining bright wasn't really allowed in the gig I had. It was more of a "team" approach. I had myself become afraid to raise my hand and take ownership of my own success.

But now two months later, I am really pleased to share with you this article. You know what - I should have shared it back in August. As I am launching my own company Delight Wipes, I've also got a new lease on my shine. It's going to be bright. 

I have the extraordinary honor of helping my fiancĂ©'s two little girls navigate their tween years and along with their smart as a whip and talented mom, their passionate and brilliant dad have been working to help them relate to more strong feminine role models. Understanding that beautiful IS powerful, is something that I want for every girl and woman out there. Beautiful IS powerful simply means that being a feminine, intelligent, talented and passionate woman is in fact a powerful thing. There is no difference between the two. I want them to know that. I want them to feel powerful. 

So here you go. I got covered in the Wall Street Journal a few months back and it felt unbelievable. Thank you John Greathouse for this article and this dialogue. I look forward to continuing it with you. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Love to Laugh - And Where I've Been

First a quick sentence or three on the three month quietude at Caution Curves Ahead and the preceding seventh months of occasional whispering, but general non chatitude of it all.... I had a lot going on.

I found myself exploring a healthy and happy relationship (which one might recognize as terrifying) redefining other relationships (which all might know is.... unsettling), addressing parenthood and childhood (which has been generous and gentle), and being fearful of repercussions of writing/blogging/expressing and how they might affect my livelihood (because... well that's for another day). I was certainly less of a story teller for a bit while in self preservation and personal investigation mode - and that's A - OK. It has however led to a decline in the whole CCA world and I know it will take a bit to recover. Thanks for those who have waited it out.

Tonight, I dip my toe back into the world of sharing life's unexpected curves and passionate or painful bold adventures. Earlier today I sat and embraced an ocean view I have loved for a decade and practiced a few farewells. I am leaving the safety (and static peace) of a full time job to start a new company and with that comes the requirements of a new home base. My beach retreat and I are gently bidding adieu.

I decided to sit on the beach this evening with a glass of wine and read a book from home. I chose The Art of Happiness from my bookshelf and was surprised to realize it was a book that a dear friend from high school had passed onto me nearly fifteen years ago. She'd received it from her aunt and uncle on her 21st birthday, and somehow it landed on my bookshelf.

I got to thinking about happy, about joy, about a true love of life and I realized that one of the greatest gifts we offer one another is laughter. As a little girl, I watched Mary Poppins with absolute fervor. My dad and I danced to the scenes and my mom knew every line with me. There is a precious scene where humor launches even the staunchest of pessimists into floating hilarity. I still today have dreams about laughing so hard, I float above the room.

Relationships, businesses, families are all opportunities to create joy and to create play. They require hard work, focus, respect and an intrepid spirit to make successful. Ultimately for me, it's all about creating an opportunity for laughter, in my relationship, in my family, and in those I write for and work with.

So, I'm back to writing and risking all that I might risk with writing, because laughter, love and joy are what I'm meant to do. That's my job folks...  I love to laugh, loud and long and clear! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I met her once. Powerful. Inspired. Determined. Fly free, Maya Angelou.

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, Inc.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Just a little Selfie Video About CCA Media Entering into A Competition That's Sorta Fake

A few weeks ago, a friend forwarded me information about a contest to win the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro with some of the worlds most successful contemporary entrepreneurs with a major technology incubator called The Summit! Like OMG could there possibly be a more perfect contest for yours truly?

A trip where I get to climb a mountain that previously kicked my tail,
with mentors, investors, and other entrepreneurs 
who are likely trying to change the world, 
and Do Good 
and even more importantly of all..... DO WELL?

I've realized in the last year that doing good is easy, doing well is a lot harder!! So.... I went in full force. I filled out the application, wrote charming stories about my own experience. I even did what I often tell my students and coaching clients to do. I found all the top execs and sent THEM emails letting them know precisely what I could and would bring to the mountain.

It worked! I made it from 2100 to the top 200... Or so I thought.     

I was asked to submit a one minute video about my company in 72 hours and why I should climb and I promptly did. I had a terrible week that week because of all sorts of unexpected personal drama, and let me tell you - it was hellish to figure out how to be compelling, but I think I figured it out. Here is my submission.

Then, I decided to ask for more details. I wanted to know what "WINNING" meant. Thank you Charlie Sheen....  It turns out, WINNING means I have the opportunity to purchase a spot on the climb for the not so bargain price of $5500. My climb just six months ago was less than half the cost.... The email I received from the organizers was a bit of a surprise. My best friend who had forwarded me the information replied simply.

"Well that's disingenuous."  

What became even more disingenuous is realizing that every single person who voted for me then received an email suggesting that they too could apply. There are no real deadlines and there was no top 200. The company is in fact developing a robust and likely effective marketing database. Yes, there will be a climb. That part's entirely true.

So now I'm in the running, but the truth is I cannot afford to put that much of my new company's start up fund into a luxury adventure trip. Yes, I need mentors. Yes, I need investors. Yes, that experience could likely change my life, but no - it's simply not a prudent pursuit.

What it did help me better understand is that when you are starting a company, there are lots of seemingly enthusiastic opportunities that might not pan out. At any given moment, momentum might seem like it's coming from one side or another... As the CEO you really do have to give almost everything a shot, and be willing to learn from it if it doesn't come to fruition.

If you feel like voting so I can win the popularity contest, that's cool too ;-)

I learned more about my company's goals, more about my audience, and precisely how passionate I am about getting this thing going! So, all in all - it gave me a call to action and you know what, I seriously do think I can build a company as valuable and offering the impact of our good friend Oprah! Let's do it!

Let's #GetClimbing

Create A Space For Peace In Your Home And Your Life.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Courage To Succeed - Intrepid Spirits Seek Victory Over Those Things That Seem Impossible

The Courage to Succeed

"The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore. Unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible. It is with iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors. To meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown."
- Ferdinand Magellan, Explorer

Dearest friends,

I open with this quote because today, I feel like the rough seas are taunting me a little.  You see I am about to put together a journey with the most important people in my life. My mentors, my colleagues and friends have agreed to support me, and some in fact join me, on this extraordinary journey. As I ready my boat and prepare my supplies, a hitch almost always comes along. That one last thing that makes you double take, and ask -

"Am I really strong enough to do this?" 
"Do I really have the moxie I need?"
As spring has finally found its way into our lives, so comes a time of renewed passion, vigor and a purpose of growth. There are reasons to spring clean and reasons to plant new seeds. At Caution Curves Ahead, Ive taken some time off to review what the future of this endeavor might be. The community support around Caution Curves Ahead and our inspirational mantras has been remarkable. We are ready to embark on something new. 

I believed after climbing Kilimanjaro, that I was in fact done with writing my blog. A story that started with my journey through business school, dealing with a divorce, and leading into dating, while developing a new career seemed complete when I came down from that mountain.

But the experience of inspiring with my stories, the observations I have had about this beautiful and extraordinary world, and the people I have met along the way have made one thing clear.

Caution Curves Ahead is about more than just Summers on a journey. It's about ALL OF US on a journey to be inspired, to seek opportunities to be empowered, and most importantly to pursue a life that amuses us in a way that makes each day worth rising and shining. 

Over the next several months I will be working to relaunch what once was my blog into OUR COMPANY site. Caution Curves Ahead Media will be a company built with a fundamental desire to inspire, empower and amuse. It is a business dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the world by improving YOUR experiences.

Caution Curves Ahead Media is a social entertainment enterprise focused on creating media, live events, apps, and experiences that inspire, empower and amuse the world. We will succeed because we are smart enough to know we should.  

Summers McKay

Monday, November 4, 2013

I Don't Like it Gentle, Be Selfish and 13 Other Lessons from the Climb

It's been three weeks since I returned from the most ass kicking journey I have ever attempted.

I'm just your average blue eyed blonde, mischief making, Pasadena raised, spin class attending, weekend camel-bak wearing, hiking, beach-bound ocean playing, princess who is downright determined to "make an impact" because according to some feels oodles of liberal guilt.... And honestly. I'm kinda spent. 

I think Kilimanjaro finally knocked my voluptuous ego
on my curvy ass.

For the last two years I have shared my stories with the world on this blog. My adventures in business school, my heartbreak post divorce and the process of learning to date were all presented quite candidly to all y'all. From the first date to the fortieth many of you have read about just what it was like to test out the boundaries of relationships, personal branding, business and capital endeavors, social media discovery, romantic exploration, and all sorts of career adventures.

On Caution Curves Ahead, my healing from a confused post divorcee, post reality tv producer to entrepreneur and educator has been well laid out. It has been pretty amazing and I am grateful for your support as an enthusiastic audience. The truth is, I climbed Kilimanjaro to set my stake in the ground, to demonstrate I was intrepid, and to heal - with each oxygen deprived step - another iteration of a great Summers Love turned Broken Heart. Yes, once again... Seriously why do I keep doing that?

I have great news.
I think I've finally reached a top, a resting point,
a pinnacle of some kind.

I don't remember actually writing these, but a day or two after I came down from Kilimanjaro, I flipped through my journal and found my Lessons From The Climb. Whether it was the 102+ fever, or the altitude, or the bronchitis - I dunno, but the honesty of these lessons resonates with me back at sea level.

Here they are - simple, clear, and yours to do with as you journey ahead. #GetClimbing

Lessons from the Climb.

1. Every step counts. Witness and experience them.

2. It WILL be incredibly hard. Choose the path because it will be hard. Gentle and easy does not inspire you.

3. The only person you MUST take care of is yourself. Put all other's needs second.

4. There are those on the trail who will need your help. Stop and help them if you are strong enough.

5. Carry lots of water. You will be thirsty. You won't be the only one who is.

6. Don't be afraid to cry, but do so discerningly.

7. You are not alone. There are many others in stride.

8. God and your Angels will protect you. Know who they are. 

9. Listen to nature. It plays the most beautiful music.

10. Find your stride. March to it. Others will have a different cadence. Don't worry about their steps.

11. Stay warm - in your attire and demeanor.

12. Bring a playlist of stories and songs that will help you. You will need them near the top.

13. Don't bring a heavy book. You will not need the extra weight and you will feel like a dick making your porter carry it for you.

14. Ask probing questions. You will learn more.

15. Everything makes sense at 3500 meters. Only important things make sense at 4900 meters.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Humbling little Mountain in Africa called Kilimanjaro

There’s this humbling little mountain in Africa called Kilimanjaro. .. I climbed it for six days. At 1:45 am two nights ago having reached an altitude of 4900 meters just three miles from the top my body said “that is quite enough!” My intrepid guides Frank and Naftal were with me every step of the way, along with our crew of 12 other porters and cooks. It was a life changing perspective reinventing adventure. More to come for sure

-  #GetClimbing #CautionCurvesAhead #Kilimanjaro #OneWorldSafari (at Arumeru River Lodge)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kilimanjaro - Day 5

Ever not recognize your own reflection? I got up five hours after that last pic ...and tried with every ounce in my soul to summit. Frank held my hand when I turned around and reminded me that living was my most important accomplishment. Here's what the morning after looked and sounded like... There is more to come. It was good but I get better and then I get worse. #GetClimbing

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kilimanjaro - Day 4.9 (Longest Day Ever)

So then... we hiked for about 6 more hours... up to Lava Rock to acclimate which was amazing and then down and up through the Karanga Valley. .. which was excruciating. My little cough had become deep and brutal. My body finally reacted to altitude with a digestive battle.... By the time I got to the Barafu Camp it was 5:30 pm. I crawled into my tent without dinner and simply cried. The cook sent cinnamon and honey tea for my cough and ginger cookies for my stomach by way of my kind porter Ema.. I had five hours before my Tanzanian brother, guide and angel, Frank would awaken me for the twelve hour attempt to reach the summit..... I have never been so exhausted. #CautionCurvesAhead #Kilimanjaro #GetClimbing

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

A Power Blonde Gets Camera Ready - 1 Min - 5 Minute Makeover Not much more too it than that! Here's how I go from just a wee bit mid workday drab, to super camera cute for appearances like the ones on Huff Post Live! It's a five minute job if you start with the right tools. I'm a Laura Mercier and Nars kinda girl!