Philadelphia, PA (May 25, 2021) – Sarah Cirelli, head of marketing at New York, NY-based Grassi Advisors & Accountants, has received the Association for Accounting Marketing’s (AAM) 2021 Marketer of the Year award. The winner was announced on May 24 at AAM’s Annual Summit.
As one of the youngest Chief Marketing Officers in the accounting industry, Sarah brings a fresh perspective and energetic drive to every project she spearheads at Grassi. She works closely with the firm’s executive committee and niche practice leaders to develop the strategic direction and activities of the Firm’s multi- faceted marketing department. Sarah manages a team of eight experienced marketers who execute marketing, advertising, communications, public relations, practice growth and business development initiatives on behalf of the Firm’s more than 350 employees.
Since joining Grassi, the 64th largest accounting firm in the nation, Sarah has taken ownership over multiple growth initiatives that were stalled or non- existent prior to her arrival. She implemented a new Pipeline process to create a structured and effective method for tracking leads and moving them through the sales cycle. Sarah draws from her extensive experience to educate the professionals on BD best practices and to equip them with the right strategies and resources to increase wins on current qualified leads and opportunities. These efforts immediately contributed to a steep increase in the firm’s organic revenue growth, which more than doubled from 4.5% in 2018 to 11% in her first full year with the firm (2019).
Even throughout the COVID- 19 pandemic, the firm’s organic growth has continued its upward trend, due in large part to Sarah’s ability to quickly pivot Grassi’s marketing strategies to address the rapidly changing needs of its clientele and community. She and her team created and quickly implemented a process to empower Grassi professionals to identify new service opportunities and bring them to market quickly and effectively. In 2020, Grassi’s organic growth percentage was double the average of the Top 100 Firms.
Sarah went a step further and created a custom tool specifically to track, report progress and move opportunities arising from these new initiatives through the Grassi sales cycle. Known as SWAT, the process is designed to drive increased revenues and encourage more thorough client service and value through these very warm leads. The SWAT initiative resulted in a nearly $2 million ROI at a time when the impact of COVID- 19 threatened to derail other firm growth strategies.
Managing Partner Louis Grassi, says Sarah is a unique professional in that she is homegrown in the Professional Services world, while providing the creativity and uniqueness often found outside of our industry. She is not afraid to challenge the norm, and while we have great mutual respect for each other, she is not afraid to challenge my ideas if she feels she has a better solution, which I greatly appreciate.
Cirelli says, “I buy into a servant- style of leadership, lead with empathy and humor, but take my work very, very seriously. I want people to enjoy working with me and the rest of our marketing team because it’s fun… but, mostly because we get the job done. And, we get it done well. We earn our stellar reputation within the Firm and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It is our job to create a marketing and business development culture that allows our professionals to create success for our Firm and our clients.”
Sarah is a recognized leader within the accounting industry and other business circles. She has been invited to speak at several AAM Conferences, NJ Women’s Leadership Conventions, the Accounting & Finance Show in NYC, and other business seminars and events.
Outside of the office, Sarah is active with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where she was honored as Woman of the Year. Sarah’s work in the NJ community has been extensive. As a NJ Zumba Instructor, Sarah has led over 100 charitable Zumba classes for causes including: Hurricane Sandy Relief, various organizations such as St. Jude,
American Cancer Society, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, local schools and churches, domestic violence awareness, shelters and more.