Dennis Shields Award 2022: Meg Riedinger

Meg Riedinger is the Chief of Staff to our Founders, and has been with Yieldstreet for over 5 years. The Founders Office is responsible for driving vision, innovation, and growth for Yieldstreet and the Chief of Staff sits at the intersection of the different functions and partners closely with the Founders to define the vision, communicate progress, and ultimately deliver results. Nearly everyone at the company has a positive story to share about Meg, and this year, she received the Dennis Shields award for her outstanding work.

What does the Dennis Shields award mean to you?

Winning the Dennis Shields award is incredibly meaningful to me because I was lucky enough to know Dennis personally. Dennis was the Chairman of Yieldstreet, a serial entrepreneur, and the ultimate connector. When we lost Dennis in 2018, we decided to create an award in his honor to be bestowed upon employees who embody the values that Dennis held. Over the past 4 years, the  award has been given to employees who go above and beyond and who do everything in their power to make the impossible possible. 

I was humbled and surprised to receive the award not only because I knew Dennis, but because it also places me beside other employees at Yieldstreet that I respect tremendously. Previously, the Dennis Shields award has gone to Marcus Brito, Matt Klopfer, and Glenna DeRoy, who I can say with confidence each played a massively influential role across our platform and investment capabilities. To be named the Dennis Shields Award winner alongside those three was incredibly humbling. 

Do you have any examples of Dennis kind of going above and beyond in the time that you knew him?

I knew Dennis as our Chairman and Board Member and was fortunately proximate enough to him to glean some of his knowledge and contagious “can-do” enthusiasm. 

One particular memory was when Yieldstreet had just started out. We were a small team working aggressively to prove product market fit, grow our investor base and investment pipeline. Our Founders, Milind and Michael had mentioned to Dennis that they’d like to begin speaking with some of the major firms on Wall Street. In under 12 hours, Dennis had secured a meeting with the CEO of one of the most reputable asset managers in the world. Dennis’ ability to use his network, his power of storytelling and his showing our vision got us in the door even though we were still a small player at the time. He found a way to make the impossible possible. 

One of the underrated aspects of your tenure here is that you have such a deep historical knowledge that you share widely. Do you have any memories that are specifically near and dear to you? Or any memory that demonstrates the end or any memory that showcases how quickly we’ve grown in such a short time?

I remember fondly celebrating some of our first “milestones.” From massive balloons when we hit 1,000 investors, to a celebratory dinner and party to celebrate our first $100M on the platform.  Now, we hit that same milestone in a single month! What used to take us several quarters or even a year, is now being accomplished in just 4 weeks. Putting those moments in the context of our growth keeps me so excited for the future. 

What excites you about the next chapter of Yieldstreet growth because you’ve seen it through so much of infancy to now? Any upcoming challenges that you foresee or that you’re excited by?

I’m most excited about the growth of what I consider our most coveted asset, our people. As we double in headcount this year, we have an opportunity to replicate the DNA that helped us get to where we were now– much like Dennis’ “can-do, nothing is impossible” mentality. The opportunity now is to impart the context and the history of the Yieldstreet story while  supporting our team to continue to execute  until, you know, we’re doing a billion dollars a month. 😉 

You’re our culture queen, having been at Yieldstreet and part of our DNA since inception. So our question to you here is how do you build culture? And what does it mean to you?

During my first few years, when I was recruiting, candidates frequently asked me about the culture here at Yieldstreet. In reflecting, I always found myself very lucky to describe the incredible culture that has formed over the years. When you hire really smart people, and empower them to do their best work on a problem that doesn’t already have a solution – creativity, camaraderie, respect, healthy debate – all sort-of fall into place. The culture at Yieldstreet is something I’m really proud of and it’s been a pleasure to watch it evolve naturally. When I have a hard day at work, what keeps me going are the folks I get to work with day in and day out on a mission I am  proud of.Our culture, in many ways, is our biggest recruiting and retention tool. 

What are you most proud of? 

What I’m most proud of is being a part of an organization with a mission like ours. We’re creating something a solution to a problem that doesn’t already have an answer. I often say, we’re creating something in the whitespace. 

It requires all of us to use our talents and push ourselves to develop new ones.I didn’t come from finance or private credit when I entered the office on my first day 5.5 years ago. But I’ve used my skillset to empower and enable a team to do the impossible. And just because you don’t come from the industry, or you don’t know everything, doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute in a really meaningful way.

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