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Winning With Women Wednesday: An Interview with Sarah Cirelli, Marketing Manager – Internet Marketing, WithumSmith+Brown



It’s Winning With Women Wednesday and over the past week we had the pleasure of getting to know Sarah Cirelli, the Marketing Manager – Internet Marketing for WithumSmith+Brown,PC. Sarah is a passionate and dedicated woman who is devoting her time and effort towards battling the “boring” reputation that the accounting profession has been known for. We invite you to learn more about her and all of her accomplishments.

Get to know SarahSarah Cirelli Headshot

Name:  Sarah Marie Cirelli

Education:  Bachelor – Marketing // Summa cum laude in 3 years

Organization: Johnson & Wales University // Providence, RI

Position: Marketing Manager – Interactive Marketing

Organization:  WithumSmith+Brown, PC

Organization headquarters:  Princeton, NJ

Total number of employees: 550+

Number of employees the Interactive Marketing Manager oversees: Works WITH a team of 11

1. Sarah, in your own words please share what it means to take on the role of the Marketing Manager – Interactive Marketing for WithumSmith+Brown? What responsibilities and duties do you oversee and partake in?

As a Marketing Manager, internationally recognized social media strategist, interactive marketing guru (and non-sleeper), I spend my time coordinating and implementing various interactive and digital marketing strategies to the accounting profession. Perhaps best known for Withum’s famous viral video sensation, I fill my days creating and implementing online marketing strategies while battling boring accountant reputations everywhere.

2. How did you discover WithumSmith+Brown?

I discovered Withum when I was looking for an internship and still in school. A mutual friend of mine was the current Marketing Director. At the time, as a kid in college going to school for marketing, working for an accounting firm was the last possible place I thought I would end up. I always pictured myself working for Nike, or clothing or something way sexier. Fast-forward over eight years and I’m still here. I truly believe that you can inject so much of yourself and so much passion into something that it becomes exactly what you never knew you were looking for. I encourage everyone reading to look past your own expectations and dig a little deeper into the unexpected (career, job, industry, PEOPLE…) you never know what you’ll find.

3. Do you have a quote, mantra or tip regarding how our audience could manage their one-to-one personal interactions better?

I believe in living a certain type of life. The same goes for face-to-face interactions AND online. For colleagues, friends, family AND strangers. A bad attitude can literally block everything happy and successful from happening to you. I believe in surrounding yourself with people who celebrate you rather than tolerate you. It affects the way you view the world and how much you want to put into it. Too often, I see people with bad energy being the single reason they can’t figure out how to succeed. I believe that self-care is not selfish, it’s necessary. “Refilling your own cup” is vital to being able to pour out into your career, your family and all aspects of your life. You cannot do anyone any good if you’re not truly happy first. Also – it’s so important to be true to yourself. Embrace what makes you unique. It’s a brave thing to do and so incredibly attractive. Don’t be afraid to share, to give back without expecting anything and to go the extra mile for someone who can’t necessarily repay you. Put in the WORK… with a good heart… and you and the people around you will be happy and successful.

4. Who was an influential boss/mentor for you and in what ways did they shape you to become the leader you are today?

I’ve said on occasion that “perspective” is my mentor. Every person I’ve come across and every experience I’ve ever had have been my mentors. Some of the biggest professional and personal lessons I’ve learned have come from experiences in perspective. It all circles back to attitude. Things are going to happen TO YOU and FOR YOU and BECAUSE OF YOU. It all comes down to what you choose to take from any given person or situation. Not every situation or relationship is supposed to be forever. Every experience is a lesson to be had… and lessons (with perspective) are most definitely always positive in a way. Sometimes to show you what’s right, what is wrong, to show you who you can be and to teach you what you need to be happy. To ultimately, teach you how to be the best possible YOU… professionally or personally. The ability to identify a positive perspective, to keep going and to genuinely learn and improve from everything you can is the best possible teacher I have ever asked for.

5. What do you think the greatest challenge is for Interactive Marketing Managers today?

The biggest challenge I seem to face, along with other marketing professionals, can really be relevant to many positions… How do you make someone CARE? How do you make something… a product, service, message… relevant enough to spark an action or a response? Not easy!

6. What is the highlight of your work week?

I certainly have many highlights but… I like to be a “connector”… so, any time I can connect someone to a person or situation that makes their life easier, happier or more successful is a good day.

7. How would you characterize your management style?

I heard an old affirmation once. I try to lead in this way, “Act as a lighthouse rather than a lifeboat. Never try and rescue someone… instead, try to help others find their own way to shore. Guiding them by light and example.” I try and stay away from directing and, instead, SHOW.

8. If you could turn back time, what is something you wish you knew before entering the job market?

That “they” all try and scare the heck out of you about the real world. The real world is not scary and it’s not impossible. You don’t have to know everything right away. There many more good people than there are bad people. There is time to learn and most people will teach you if you just ask. Life rewards passion, hard work and kindness.

9. When looking for potential job candidates what do you turn to?

I definitely recommend using LinkedIn. Not taking control of your online identity is single handedly the most professionally irresponsible thing you can do for yourself these days. If you don’t take control of the information that people are going to find on you – someone else is going to. Describe every aspect of yourself, your education, your experience, etc. in words that will translate the unique value YOU have to the person you’re looking to meet. What can you do for someone and why do they need it?

10. What is it about your current role at WithumSmith+Brown that sets it apart from other accounting firms?

There’s no doubt that Withum is unique in terms of culture.

Just spend some time on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.
Also – best described here

The fact that they’ve invested so much in me in my role and as a person is beyond standard for most companies, anywhere. It’s not every day you meet someone who knows what to do with a Sarah Cirelli!

11. How do you stay abreast of hot topics within your industry?

Talking, reading, sharing, exchanging… there are many blogs I read every morning before I even open up my email. I’m constantly speaking around the country and meeting people as I do it. Sharing information with someone is the easiest and fastest way to learn someone new. It leads to an exchange. I’m also not afraid to ASK. I’ve found that often times, people are really eager to tell you about their story if you prove your interest and admiration. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was also this… instead of looking ONLY at your competition within your industry – look OUTSIDE your profession for new examples to be inspired by.

12. When speaking to others about WithumSmith+Brown, what is the most important message you want them to take away from your conversation?

If you don’t love what you are doing, then why bother doing it? We are zealous in our pursuit of living. Happy professionals approach their work life with the same enthusiasm with which they approach their personal lives. This enhances their relationships with clients as well as the delivery of service to them.

13. If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

Honestly? There’s a little piece of me that really wants to work for Disney… put me in a plastic head, I’m sure I’d still be happy. Or dancing. Or serving/drinking all the coffee.


4 thoughts on “Winning With Women Wednesday: An Interview with Sarah Cirelli, Marketing Manager – Internet Marketing, WithumSmith+Brown

  1. Lovely interview with Sarah. I had to comment when I saw “effort towards battling the “boring” reputation that the accounting profession has been known for.” I chuckled because I wrote one of my novel characters as an accountant — but she’s a Goth and her life in fictional “Atonement, Tennessee” is anything but boring. LOL.
    Congrats to Sarah for a job well done — and to MILSPRAY for continuing this Wednesday series. Cheers!


  2. I learned a lot from the interview. Nice answer on question #13. I’m pretty sure a lot of people would love to work for Disney. 🙂


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