Kym McNicholas, Entrepreneur and Media Expert


Kym McNicholas, Entrepreneur and Media Expert

Name: Kym McNicholas

Title: Executive Director, Extreme Tech Challenge

City: San Francisco, CA

Passion: Love 

Twitter: @kymbee

Kym is a force of goodness, I had the honor to get to know the past few months. As soon as you meet her, she wants to help you. And her passion for story telling combined with her big heart, lead her to win Emmy Awards, work with Sir Richard Branson and lead some of the most popular sports programs in the country. She has a lot more to offer in the coming years, as she begins to build her own venture, and we are so lucky to have caught up with her in the mission at Four Barrel to hear her intimate story and leave even more inspired to do what we love.

Photos by Elle Wildhagen


On Passion

How and when did you find your passion?

For me, I think the key was letting go of all control that I had and just trusting the universe. Because all I know is that I want to feel successful, I want to feel good. I want to feel fun and want to feel happy but a lot of times you don’t know exactly what that is because there's an evolution of so many new things every day. For example, I never thought I'd want to be an energy news anchor. I had no idea that even existed. Not on my list of goals. Feeling good, feeling happy, feeling as though I was having an impact and that I was changing the world that became my goal. Since I put that out there, the universe kept bringing me those things in ways that I would have never thought of or dreamed up but makes me feel the things I want to feel.

On Transition

Tell us more about the transition to doing what you love.

When I was younger, I was bullied. I was so shy and I’m actually an introvert.  As such, my true purpose has been to allow anyone who has a story to tell it and teach their life lessons. I've been on a lifelong journey learning to speak my truth. Because overtime in the past that I’ve tried speaking my truth, I’ve had naysayers or those that would put me down for speaking my truth.

The place where I've been able to speak my truth has been on camera.

I started doing impactful, meaningful interviews and interviewing more people about their passions. I ended up interviewing a founder  who I thought was the epitome of passion. That won me my very first Emmy nomination for interviewing Ido Leffler CEO or Yes To - we were the only one nominated in that category. It meant so much to me to see my mom holding the Emmy so tight. One of the most impactful moments of my life.

On Failure

What is failure to you, and how do you deal with it?

In terms of failure, I'm going to look at it from an entrepreneurial perspective. People in Silicon Valley see failure as earning you stripes and I kind of agree with that and I am going to take a step further and say that I don't think there are any losses.

Anyone who takes a risk, puts their heart out there and puts it on the line… they all contribute to the entrepreneurial cycle.

Whether you’re successful in your venture or your venture fails you don’t really fail, you learn a lesson and you pivot and you grow from that. It’s all about the journey and you shouldn't judge the journey. I see those instances as moments of clarity.

I remember when I was let go of sports announcement, at first I was devastated and thought, "poor me poor me," but then I realized it doesn't feel good to act like a victim and it’s not empowering . I asked myself what would make me feel better about the situation? To know that it was meant to be. I was meant to focus 100% on something else and because of that I was able to learn and grow so much more.


On Fear

What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is not getting married and having a family. I think I’m going to make an amazing career mom and amazing wife.

I focused a lot on my career. In numerous situations I've put my job first instead of focusing on a relationship or on family but in my heart of hearts, family is most important to me. When you lie on your death bed and you think of all the things on your bucket list that you've accomplished what you regret most is lack of time spent with people you love.

On Money


How do you think about money?

The key to abundance is feeling abundant regardless of how much money is in your bank account. I had to change my attitude about money and it's an ongoing journey. I’m not perfect at it. I did not grow up in an affluent family, I  grew up in a stable family with a strong work ethic.

When you’re constantly worrying about what you’re spending, it is only going to lead to more worry, but because I am aware of the abundance I have I can feel good about spending money, feeling responsible. I have appreciation for what is abundant in my life.

On Self-Love

What is self-love to you? And how important is it to your journey?

Self-love is to stop caring about what other people think and looking inside of yourself and looking in the mirror every day and feeling good about who you are.

For the first time in my life I feel good about all of who I am and where I’m at. There are always struggles for everyone in different places - we’re all human.

When I won that Emmy, that was another turning point in terms of self-love. It didn’t make me feel better about myself. What ended up feeling good for me was accepting all of who I am without the outer influences. It showed me that you don't need to achieve this or do that in order to feel good. That’s the first step to self-love.

On Inspiration

Who inspires you and why?

I love women who are true role models who really follow their heart. My mom inspires me with the adversity she has had to overcome her health issues. I’ve never met anyone like her that literally wakes up every single morning with a smile and greets everyone with a smile.

My dad inspires me with how committed he is to his family and how much he has had to overcome in his life. He was in Vietnam  in the military, having to pick up pieces of his men. Recognizing that being a leader isn't just bout taking the glory but about being a part of the team and protecting your team. He did all of what it means to be a leader.

In being a leader of the Extreme Tech challenge it wasn't only about being on stage, but it was about being in the trenches with every single of these entrepreneurs.

Advice to the Community

Please share a piece of advice with our community of men and women who are looking to leave their traditional jobs and live their passions.

Align yourself with what you truly want, believe its already done and allow for it to happen. So many of us say we want something  and put up resistance without realizing it because it hasn't happened as yet. Embrace the fact that it hasn’t happened yet, then get down to what it feels like to have all of what you want. It feels good to have all of that you want. 


Nate Bagley, Creator of The Loveumentary, CEO of Unbox Love

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Nate Bagley, Creator of The Loveumentary, CEO of Unbox Love

City: Salt Lake City, Utah

Passion: Love


Nate Bagley abandoned a successful career in Internet marketing to tour the US interviewing real couples in happy, successful relationships for his debut documentary, The Loveumentary, because he believes true love exists beyond Disney fairy tales and drama.

Nate’s passion to chronicle authentic romances has introduced him to all sorts of couples; rich, polygamous, atheist, high school sweethearts, arranged marriages and even a Georgia duo who’ve been happily married for 60 years.

His goal is to redefine expectations of what true love really is, and unlock the secrets of how to create it and maintain it through life’s highs and lows.

Nate’s quest - which began with a Kickstarter campaign - recently inspired him to design a new subscription box service, Unboxed Love, to help busy couples inject a fresh spark into their relationship by supplying them with everything they need for a spontaneous date night.

He is also planning to host the world’s first Lovecon, a weekend retreat for couples looking to “get away from everything to focus on strengthening their relationship and making their love more passionate and deeply connected” in the near future.


I was frustrated from looking around at what the world was offering as far as real love and relationships; what people were saying was possible and accepting as the status quo, as normal, as happy. I just thought there’s got to be more than this. I started asking questions and the more I asked, the more answers I found and I fell down the rabbit hole.
I realized that if I kept putting it off, my life would be a blur of computer screens, cubicle walls, and meaningless meetings. For years I’d had this voice in my head telling me to pursue this thing I was insanely curious about... what makes the most ridiculously amazing, passionate, and lasting love possible? The more I ignored and put off the voice, the quieter it became. I loved that voice, and never hearing it again terrified me. So, I quit my job, and I set out on a love journey. Since that time, the things I’ve learned have deeply changed me and others. The world is starving for real, true love.


The hardest part was taking the leap and developing the courage to ask people to get involved. It’s really easy to pretend you’re doing something by buying all the gear, doing all the training and getting caught up in the details, but it doesn’t start until you actually do something, make an ask, publish something or put something in the world.
It was do or die, so I jumped on Facebook and said I was looking for couples in amazing relationships. I got a couple of responses, showed up at their houses and it’s just been a learning process from there.
Even strangers are nervous at first, but they tend to warm up once they realize you don’t have any ill intentions. I just want to hear people’s stories about what’s worked, what hasn’t, why and how they overcome their challenges.


It’s still difficult to separate the forest from the trees. I don’t know where this project is going. It’s hard to know which lily pad to jump to, which opportunities to pursue, when and how they’re going to pay off. It’s scary to blow through your entire life savings for a dream and not know how you’re going to pay rent, where you’re going to be living, how you’re going to be feeding yourself. It’s a scary thing, but you have to be more driven by the passion for your cause than the fear that you have of failing.


I constantly fail to meet my own expectations, but the only way to eventually meet them is to keep doing things.
I know a lot of people who get really focused on not releasing their creations and passions to the world until they’re perfect, but it’s never going to be perfect. For me failure is a necessity for success. If you never fail that means you’ve never tried, and if you never try you’ll never experience success.


My biggest fear is having to go back to a cubicle, taking steps backwards not forwards. That is honestly what terrifies me. I don’t know if this is exactly what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life, but I know it will open doors and my fear is that I get complacent and take a step backwards, take a 9-5 job and be really comfortable in life. I don’t think I’ll ever make a difference if I do that, and that scares me.
I don’t beat myself up with guilt anymore. I had a real problem with shame and guilt growing up and I’ve really done a lot of work, research and studying on why those principles exist. I learned to accept my humanity, all of my flaws and really embrace them, and I think that’s really made a huge difference to my level of happiness.


For a really long time I was the very definition of what Hollywood would make fun of: the 30-year-old guy, living in my parents’ basement without a full-time job, with no money because I’d burnt through my entire savings.
I’m a fiercely independent person and it’s been a really difficult journey. I’ve had to swallow my pride a lot and learn a lot of things about self-love, the fact that my situation doesn’t determine my worth and my value.
Personally and professionally it’s been a really big struggle, but the thing I’m most proud of in my life is that I persevered even though it was hard, and the fruits are really starting to show now and good things are happening.


I think too many people mistake love as a feeling when it’s more a state of mind or an action.
Self-love means that you treat yourself with love, literally. If you love a friend or family member you’re willing to forgive them, encourage them and support them to go after their dreams, you never talk poorly about them, you build them up, you treat them with respect. There are a lot of people who don’t understand that those principles apply to themselves as well.
Self-love is key to living a healthy life and having a healthy relationship, and that’s where it all starts. You can’t give something that you don’t have; I can’t love you unless I have love for myself first.


Brené Brown is a really great example of somebody who, despite the natural tendency not to want to be vulnerable, stares vulnerability in the face and has done a lot of shame research. Her books are great and her TED Talks are great. Shawn Achor, he wrote The Happiness Advantage, which has really influenced the direction of The Loveumentary.
I’ve never really been exposed to divorce. Marriage and family have always been a huge part of my life, but whenever I asked people for details about what is it that’s so great about it, I always got these really generalized answers like, ‘you have to sacrifice a lot’ or ‘love requires a lot of work,’ and I want to know what’s the work? What’s the sacrifice? It’s hard for people to articulate what is second nature to them and that’s what made me passionately curious about what these couples specifically do that makes them so happy. That was my quest; what are these people doing differently?


I get notes weekly from people who say an interview or a blog post of mine was exactly what they needed right now in their life, and that to me is better than any pay check. It’s knowing that there are other people out there that are struggling with what I’m struggling with, and being able to be the catalyst to finding those answers is the coolest thing ever. The community is invaluable.
I think you can learn something from everybody’s story. When it comes to relationships there is no best. There is always room for improvement and an opportunity for growth in a relationship, no matter how good it is. I’ve talked to a lot of people and the one thing I’ve learned is that there are as many versions of true love as there are people who experience it; there is no recipe, there is no one single true love relationship.


Learn how to ask questions. Sometimes the hardest thing about a situation like this is not knowing the answer to something, and typically the only reason you don’t know the right answer is you don’t know the right question. When you get really good at asking questions, you get really good at finding the answers you’re looking for. It’s very rare to find somebody who became a master of their trade without training or help from somebody else, and most of the time getting that help requires asking so be willing to ask the right questions and hard questions to yourself and others.

Nate's Top Tip for Dating

People consistently look for what they can get out of a relationship, rather than what they can put into it.
We have this societal belief that if you care the most you have the least power in a relationship, so everybody’s always withholding, resisting, not opening up, not being vulnerable because as soon as you’re the one who loves the most you give the other person the power to break your heart, to damage you, and that’s just not how love works.
You can’t love without risk, you can’t love without vulnerability, you can’t love without the potential of hurt and when you go into it selfishly it’s never going to end well.
If you go into it thinking what can I add to this person’s life, how can I make their life easier, happier or better, be a positive influence in their life, that’s when a relationship works, when you find two people who share that mentality.
You have to be cautious in the way you make your decisions but when you find somebody that you get along with and want to give it a shot with, why hold back.

The Passion Co. is here to help you find and pursue your passions. Find out more about our upcoming programs here

Written By: Aoife Anderson

Photo Credit: Stacy Young


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