Executive Leadership Support Forum: Assistant of the Week: Minneapolis

Meredith Cuda
Executive Assistant to President, Insurance & Annuities and Chief Strategy Officer
Ameriprise Financial, Inc.

Meredith has over 15 years of experience supporting C-suite executives. The past six years she has been working with the President of RiverSource and the Ameriprise Chief Strategy Officer. RiverSource, Ameriprise’s Life Insurance and Annuities companies, has of over 600 global employees. The CSO leads the company’s long-term planning and strategic business development initiatives including mergers and acquisitions.

Meredith is an advocate for assistants to engage as strategic partners and enterprise leaders within their organizations. She loves helping others achieve their goals through training and mentoring. Her initiative and tenacity combined with her efficiency and attention to detail make her an indispensable partner to the executive she supports. In addition to being tech-savvy, Meredith is skilled in direct communication, prioritization and juggling.

Meredith is an avid world traveler, visiting 28 countries and 19 states, enabling her to indulge in her passion for food and culture. She lives in Minneapolis and in her free time enjoys sailing, dancing, listening to live music, gardening, and the MN State Fair.
Meredith has a Bachelor’s degree in international business from Loyola University Chicago, also having studied at LUC Rome Center.

Meredith will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Minneapolis on October 3-4, 2018.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum important for executive assistants?

It is so hard to find quality, executive assistant level content from administrative trainings. The organizers of the Forum have curated a dynamic speaker line-up and relevant exciting content, I am so humbled to participate.

Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?

I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if I didn’t already have the hard skills: MS Office, travel booking, time management, refined processes for optimal office efficiency, etc. Lately I have been focusing on the soft skills: personality assessments, team collaboration, and leadership skills; which have merged nicely with the expanding responsibilities of supporting more senior leaders. I have also been leading the assistants in my organization in skills trainings which I have found builds mine even more.

Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.

Transitioning to a paperless office for myself and my executive has saved time as well as resources. I add almost everything to my leader’s calendar: meeting materials, agendas, travel confirmations, background info, etc. That way the information is accessible to both of us and is retained in one spot and accessible from laptop, table, and phone at all times.

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?

It’s small, I know, but the “Time Zones” option in outlook (calendar) is amazing. I have it on all the time and use it for everything from meetings to flights to car reservations, it helps me stay accurate at a glance with no math required! Also www.timeanddate.com/worldclock, who knows when/if Singapore has daylight savings?!

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?

Radio Silence is success. If my leader is traveling and I don’t hear from him, that trip was a success. If a to-do or email is completed without extra back and forth or ripples that is a success. Completing/responding to inquiries without having to interrupt my leader for guidance and questions because I have access to the information if I look for it, is success. Autonomy is success.