Casey Cummings: The Cummings Story, A Family of Success
“The Cummings Story, A Family of Success”
My story is not that different than stories of the many people you know or the extraordinary people you will meet in your life. What I will say to encourage you is to take time to meet people, listen to their story and store their experience in you to help you shape what you see and your future.
To understand the story of my success, you need to understand how the story began. I was born the third of four boys to Marlene and Nelson Cummings in the town of Fort Wayne Indiana. Marlene was young and excited and started off to make her way in life from Indianapolis Indiana to Milwaukee Wisconsin where she studied and got her degree as a Registered Nurse from Mt. Sinai Medical Center. Nelson, from Springfield Illinois, went to cast his fortunes in Texas, played football earned a Bachelors degree from Texas College before embarking to Milwaukee to pursue a goal of studying law at Marquette University. The two met, fell in love and got married prior to Nelson getting called out of school to serve his country in the United States Air Force in Washington DC. Subsequently, Marlene working as a registered nurse and Nelson working in the Judge Advocates at Bolling Air Force base they made time in their busy schedules to welcome their first baby, Stephen into the family. After fulfilling his military duty, they left the Capital City to be closer to roots and family and settled in Fort Wayne where children two and three (Jeff and Casey) joined the growing family. Never ones to let the grass grow under their feet, the Cummings Family then moved to new job adventures in South Bend Indiana where they added the last child to the puzzle, Patrick. I believe at that point South Bend wasn’t big enough to hold all those Cummings and they made their last big family move to Madison Wisconsin where after all those moves Nelson decided they were done – a car full of kids, and a home where the family could stay for a while.
Madison gets its own paragraph because that’s the basis of much of the grounding and growing up which influenced much of the success I’ve experienced in my life and really an influencer and shaper on all of our lives. Yes, Madison was really the launching pad for it all. Our patriarch, Nelson started it as Executive Director of the Urban League to executive with the Wisconsin Teachers Association to lobbyist to where he found his real groove as a high school guidance counselor, all the while lending guidelines and a supportive hand to help four boys stay in line and grow up. Marlene, not to be outdone or outshined in anyone's eyes, left nursing to take on a broader circle of influence in becoming an author, a columnist, a television producer and tv show host, to human relations consultant to small business owner to the Secretary of Licensing and Regulation for the State of Wisconsin all the while ensuring enough care and attention was shown to the boys to help them grow and thrive and thrive they did.
Marlene and Nelson set the pace and tone of success that for me, the third of four boys and the fifth of six of the Wisconsin Cummings Clan I felt compelled to get on the path of success I witnessed every day. Whether it was going down the street to the store to get what was needed for Marlene to prepare dinner that night or to accompany Nelson on running an errand which could be 10 minutes or two days which prepared me to being able to handle change and the unexpected. When I talk about following the path of success, it was to the same schools in Madison (a shameless plug for Our Lady Queen of Peace and Madison West High School) where all four boys attended and graduated prior to setting on on their individual college experiences. Whether it was to New Orleans to study at Loyola University, to East Lansing to study at James Madison College at Michigan State to Northwestern University to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. All of us graduated and set off to embark of differing careers, from the financial world to a practicing attorney to a marketing executive to a corporate branding executive. We have all swept ourselves into the habits of success and are doing what our parents did and passing it forward to the next generation where you will find graduates from the University of Florida, Stanford University and coming soon from the University of North Carolina and from San Diego State University.
When asked what makes me successful I would say it is the people around me and the tempo and environment they set for me to be able to achieve hopes and dream of what might be today and what may lie in the future. Everything in the past from leadership positions on sports teams, to fraternity and campus leadership, to corporate management teams to small business management to coaching and imparting wisdom and direction with the community and our future, the youth of today. As one of six people in a VW Beetle traveling hundreds or thousands of miles on many weekends, you had to learn to listen, to share to be patient and grateful for every opportunity. Imagine being in the room with all of that success and the only thing you are excited about is that they want to make time to hear what you have to say and that you and your opinion are a valued resource for them. To this day, I am always excited to hop on the phone and be a part of whatever is going on and even more excited to be in touch with any and all of them in person because that is where the magic really happens.
“Every day I wake up and know that I have two choices: am I going to have a good day or a bad day? I choose to have a good day.” – Nelson Cummings That’s about as simple as it gets when you want to succeed. I’m a big believer in goals and they all start with a positive attitude – I expect the best out of everyone in the given situation. That being said, you need an idea where you are going and know that there will be obstacles along the way. If things are too easy you should find the next great arena to challenge yourself so you can keep on growing and achieving.