Seena Cushman

This entry is part 12 of 54 in the series

Cushman_SeenaSeena Cushman

Coca-Cola Refreshments
Vice President, Sales Operations Northeast Region

Years with company:
13 years



Education degrees and professional/volunteer organizations:

  • Bachelor of science degree in marketing/management – State University of New York, Plattsburgh.  I took some graduate courses in business at New Hampshire College.
  • I graduated from Coca-Cola University, an intense three-month global development program as I entered the Coca-Cola organization.
  • I am a member of the Network for Executive Women (NEW) on the national and local NY/NJ front, a member of the Coca-Cola Women’s Linc networking group and spend a great deal of time giving back to community organizations through my work at Coca-Cola (Sprite Spark Parks, Boys & Girls Clubs, JDRF).

Mentors and how they have assisted my career:
I have been privileged to have many mentors and sponsors throughout my career.  Joan Krooss at Nabisco taught me patience and the value of customer relationships.  Pete Carr at Diageo taught me to relax, focus on what is most important and know what battles are truly worth fighting.  The most influential mentor and sponsor in my career has been Brian Wynne at Coca-Cola.  He provided me with straight feedback, empowered me to take on new assignments (sales to human resources and back to sales), pushed me as a peer and boss, intensely focused on building a team and cared about his people, as people and employees.  I hope that I may impact folks along the way in the same manner I have been rewarded by these three individuals.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I am most proud of the hard work I have put in along the journey that has enabled me to enjoy the rewards.  In 2000, I became the first female general manager in the U.S. for Coca-Cola.  Professionally, this was a major achievement and I felt so very proud to work with and lead the Rocky Mountain Division of Coca-Cola Enterprises.  I have had several highlights and proud moments but the greatest reward for me is seeing someone achieve their professional goals by making a HUGE sale, by getting that well deserved promotion or by breaking through with a customer.  I have been so very fortunate in my career and place great personal emphasis on others dreaming, believing and achieving.  My defining moment would have been in September 2001, when we relocated to New York, just a couple blocks from the World Trade Center in NYC.  I left the VP/GM job in Colorado to return to the East Coast during this tragic time.  While my family was spared serious tragedy, I turned my career focus to others and work to find meaningful ways to give back to women in business and the communities we serve.

Most challenging part of your job:
The most challenging part of my job is being away from my family when I travel and duty calls.  Years ago I heard a woman speak about work/life balance and she said it is impossible.  What is important is being the best you can be each day – sometimes that is the best mom, sometimes the best daughter, wife, friend or employee.  Be your best that day, moment, week!

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
Create your own destiny, don’t be bound by career paths, love your teammates and your people, take several lateral moves that give you depth and breadth of experiences and manage people early in your career so you can make mistakes when the stakes and egos are lower.  Enjoy each day!

I love time with my husband, Brad, and 3 children (Alexis, 12, twin boys Jack and Blake, 4).  We love to cook, play sports, ski, go on beach vacations, be outdoors and really do anything as long as we are together.  I like to play volleyball when I can and read.