Why Manners? Why Me?
Welcome! Please come in and make yourself comfy! I’m honored you’re here.
I’m Maralee McKee, and I’m passionate about equipping people with simple, savvy, sincere skills to become the best version of themselves and the cool breeze in the lives of others. If we were to meet in person (I hope we do), you’d soon know that my style of writing is like me: relaxed and relational. I’ve been described as “Rachael Ray meets Emily Post.” It’s my hope that, as you read my posts and books, you’ll feel as if you’re spending time with someone you have a lot in common with, someone who shares your concerns, doubts, and simple desire to live out a happy life surrounded by people who consider you kind and fair and nice to be around.
My passion for fine-tuning, updating, and sharing modern manners began years ago with my own feeling of lack. I grew up in a broken home — alone and afraid and under difficult circumstances. I felt uncomfortable, even unworthy, around others.
I never imagined that my greatest weakness, self-consciousness, would one day be erased by knowing and using manners — proven ways of changing the ways others perceive, relate to, and interact with us. I was even more surprised that my passion for sharing what I learned and developed through twelve years of research, study, and teaching others how to become the best version of themselves would become my life’s purpose.
But I’m sure glad it did!
“Manners” comes from the Latin word for “hand,” which soon leads to the word “handle.” The purpose of manners is to give us a heads-up for how to handle people and situations. I’ll bet you’re like me: you feel so much better when you’re confident about the best thing to say and do, and how to show yourself in the best possible light. That’s the gift of manners.
In my writing you won’t find stuffiness, fluff, or rules just for the sake of rules. I’ve embraced the grace and timeless wisdom of our grandmothers’ etiquette, but I’ve taken out any pomp, exclusion of others, or pretense. I’ve replaced all that with the new how-to of being kind, considerate, and gracious, and added how to set and maintain boundaries that are needed and healthy, for adults and children, in today’s raw and “me-first” culture.
Setting and defining the standards of personal interactions for this generation is my goal, honor, and calling. With me, you’ll always find manners with heart — not haughtiness.
Getting to Know Me
I’m a native and life-long resident of Orlando. My husband and I have two sons whom we think are pretty amazing — Marc, who is 19, and Corbett, who is 13. They give me lots of practice in instilling manners, and they keep me humble! I love spending time with my sons, and I can’t believe how the years are going by at hyper-speed. I cherish every moment with them — the simple and the sublime.
With her best-friend style, at-ease approach, and insights into how to interact in any situation, Maralee mentors people with the skills they need to enhance the ways others perceive, interact, and respond to them or to the brand, service, or mission they represent.
A sought-after expert in all areas of modern manners (social, youth, business, and family), Maralee provides the step-by-step skills that will enable you to shine in your encounters — from crucial meetings to writing a simple email, visiting friends, or teaching your children the social skills they’ll need to thrive on their own one day. You’ll learn these skills in an easy-to-understand approach that’s relevant for today.
Founder of Manners Mentor, Inc.
Since founding Manners Mentor, Inc., in 1998, Maralee has traveled nationally, presenting contemporary programs and seminars for corporations, executives, churches, ministries, universities, and women’s groups. She is a popular speaker at women’s retreats and mom groups.
Her professional clients include Hyatt, Chick-fil-A, State Farm, Campus Crusade, Paychecks, Inc., and AT&T, plus churches of all sizes. Each program is custom-designed by Maralee to meet needs and touch hearts in the audience so real change can occur.
For more information about having Maralee speak at your event, fill out the form on the Contact Page or contact:
Ms. Karen Campbell
Karen Campbell Media
Because Everyone Asks
What is my personal etiquette pet peeve? It involves people talking on their cell phones in the stalls of public bathrooms. Really. In the bathroom. While they’re actually taking care of business. I know that most people admire multi-tasking, but here I think we need to set healthy boundaries. I always wonder, How important is the phone call that person is on? Can’t one of those two activities wait until the other is completed?
10 Things About Maralee
- I love what I do and know it’s my calling in life. It feels great to know that you’re living your purpose. However, if I hadn’t been called to do this, I’d own a marketing agency or work full-time for a church or ministry.
- I know that love at first sight is real. My first husband and I were engaged ten days after we met. Sadly, he passed away five-and-a-half years later of cancer, leaving me a young widow in my twenties. Kent, my current husband, and I were engaged three weeks after being introduced by a mutual friend.
- I’ve battled panic attacks since my late teens. I went through almost five years where it was hard to leave the house and I didn’t drive a car. Many years of prayers and the insight of a caring therapist have given me the insights to make great strides. I still struggle from time to time. However, I’m proof there’s hope in overcoming our worst fears and living in freedom. (You can read more about my story in chapter two of Manners That Matter for Moms.)
- We have a Sheltie and a tabby cat. The dog has no problems showering us with all the love we gladly share with her. The cat — well, we love her, too. It’s just that she makes it clear that she’d rather we didn’t exist except when it comes time to feed her. We’ll never give up. We’re still hoping she comes around.
- I adore chick-flicks. My all-time favorite is Steel Magnolias. I Cry. Every. Single. Time. My favorite musical is Funny Girl. When Barbra Streisand sings Don’t Rain on My Parade, I feel that nothing is impossible. That song got me through some very difficult times when I was a little girl. I’ll cherish it forever. My two favorite TV shows are Downton Abbey and Duck Dynasty. I know, it’s an odd combination — go figure.
- Laundry is my downfall in life. I actually bought everyone in the family more socks and underwear so I could go longer without washing clothes. Really!
- I’m addicted to iced tea and Starbucks’ frappuccinos, and I eat two Hershey’s dark chocolate nuggets with almonds almost every night before bed.
- I’m a horrible Scrabble player. The game makes me feel like I only have a third-grade education. After I use up all my three-letter words, and a few simple ones like house, movie, and tree, I can’t think of another word to save me.
- I admit to the bad habit of chewing loudly on ice cubes. But I only do it when no one is around — I hope. You sometimes get so used to doing something that you don’t realize that you’re doing it.
- My bucket list includes a trip to London, seeing Barbra Streisand in concert, going to the Kentucky Derby (I want a reason to buy and wear a beautiful hat), being invited to the White House, learning to speak French without a trace of my Southern accent sneaking in, seeing the Grand Canyon, living long enough to celebrate my 60th wedding anniversary, living on a farm for a month — or maybe just a week (we’ll have to see how those first couple of days go), and raising my boys to become men who seek the face of God in all they do.
Postscript: In June 2013, I fulfilled two items on my bucket list. I had the great good fortune of going to London. While there, I saw Barbra Streisand in concert. Oh, and I walked through the door of a restaurant behind Al Pacino. That was pretty cool, too! I was acutely aware of every moment in London. I wanted to ingrain my time there with my husband in my mind in such a way that I could “relive” any moment of our trip forever; yet I felt like surely “I” couldn’t be living this dream come true. It was as if I were watching myself on a movie screen in real time. Has that ever happened to you?