Every month, a member of the WIFS Denver/Rocky Mountain Chapter is recognized for exemplary status: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support industry networking, engagement and promotion.
The member of this month is Emily Cutson, Financial Services Consultant/Field Support Development Consultant, TIAA
Financial Services Consultant/Field Support Development Consultant, TIAA
One word that describes how you like to work
What are you looking for from your WIFS members?
I am looking to network with other women in finance, especially those who work with investment securities.
What's your favorite moment of your career?
I work in the call center at TIAA taking inbound calls on the main line. This means each person I talk to is a new client. It is not uncommon for me to handle complex needs on a daily basis, some more complex than others. 3 clients over the past year stand out to me the most. Each of them were very impressed by my level of expertise, the manner in which I explained the information and concepts in a way they could understand, ability to actively listen to their concerns and take care of their problem efficiently, effectively, and thoroughly. Not only did each of them ask if I could be their personal wealth manager but they also told me I had a special skill set that very few people have. They encouraged me to advance myself in my career as much as possible. They also told me they could see me as president of my company.
What was your childhood dream job?
How do you spend your free time?
Hiking/backpacking/snow shoeing with the Colorado Mountain Club, road and mountain biking, running, attending yoga, barre, and spinning classes, socializing with friends in breweries, wineries, and restaurants, attending an occasional concert at Red Rocks or the Ogden theater, traveling, and seeking out new adventures. I also seek out different ways to develop both personally and professionally.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I absolutely love animals and hope one day to have a very small hobby farm with a vegetable garden, chickens and goats.
Additional Information about Kendra
I was born in Dallas, TX, grew up in Marietta, GA and adopted into a loving home when I was 4 days old. I have one sister who lives in NYC with her husband, along with my parents who made the journey towards working and living in NYC in 2005. I have a darling 5 year old-niece with a nephew on the way! The rest of my amazing family lives in the Atlanta, GA area.
During my childhood I was passionate about school, mostly math and science courses. I've always enjoyed learning in every capacity possible. I played the clarinet in the marching band, symphonic band, and orchestra. I took on other hobbies in college. I received my B.A. from Miami University in Oxford, OH. I initially majored in microbiology on the pre-med track working towards becoming a pediatrician. After some soul searching and lots of informational interviews I decided to change my major to psychology my sophomore year and I minored in French. I was very involved as Social Chair and Social Action Chair of the Association of Jewish Students. I am also a member of the Alpha Phi Fraternity, Gamma Nu Chapter and did a variety of social and philanthropic activities through both of those groups. I studied abroad in Grenoble, France in the summer of 1999. I then went to Case Western Reserve University to receive my Master's Degree in Social Science Administration with an emphasis in Geriatrics. After graduate school, I spent 8 years as a clinical social worker, where I spent some time working in geriatric psychiatry and cardio-thoracic and telemetry inpatient units. Most of those 8 years I spent working in in hospice care in long-term care facilities.
I did some more soul searching throughout that time and decided that I wasn't very passionate about working in that field. I was meant to make a much bigger impact in society in another profession. However, I did not yet know exactly what I wanted to do yet. I went back to graduate school at University of Denver, where I earned by Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Administration. I wanted to focus on business recruiting. I worked in business recruiting for a short while and then migrated towards recruiting students at Ashford University for one year, followed by Academic and Financial Advising at Ashford for 4 more years. I still did not know at that time what I wanted to do for a long-term career. There were very few career advancement opportunities in student advising and I still felt like I wasn't making a big enough impact on the world. While brainstorming other career possibilities over the years, several of my coworkers at Ashford started working at TIAA. They encouraged me to pursue a career in finance at TIAA. Once I researched the position it actually made a lot of sense. I could help people manage their retirement savings while using my people skills, analytical and math skills, and problem-solving skills. I did not realize how much I would really love it until I tried it!
In August of this year, I will have been at TIAA for 3 years. I have never been so happy in career in my entire life! Every day I wake up I have a sense of purpose. My colleagues and managers are amazing. I am also very passionate about helping people save money for retirement. I encountered many heart-breaking stories while working as a social worker and academic advisor. I felt I could make a much bigger impact by helping people understand how to gain control over saving and investment towards retirement. Most of my students at Ashford University did not have the resources to achieve their full academic and professional potential. Many of the healthcare patients I worked with encountered many medical, emotional, and physical challenges that were exacerbated by lack of fiscal resources. By helping people save for retirement, they will have more resources they need to live comfortably.
- Thank you so much for sharing all of this about yourself Emily! We are so excited to have you as a member and look forward to advancing you with your career any way possible! - WIFS Denver/Rocky Mountain Board