Meet a Member: Jennifer Cantero
JUST THE FACTS
Name: Jennifer Cantero
Title: Marketing Director
Years of Experience: 20+
College Name & Degree(s): California State University Hayward, Degree in Graphic Design and Photography
Firm Name: Sensiba San Filippo LLP
Firm City & State: Pleasanton, CA
Firm Size: 17 Partners/190 Employees
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional Memberships: AAM, Tri-Valley Women’s Leadership Group, Tri-Valley Professional Women’s Alliance
Community Involvement: Salvation Army Advisory Board for Alameda County, Mascot for Berkeley Humane Society
Twitter Handle: @jennCantero
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifermcantero/
What types of AI strategies does your firm employ?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Sensiba San Filippo is a true mid-sized firm. We don’t necessarily have the need to apply some of the AI methods that some of the bigger firms are using. Instead our strategy is to begin employing AI in small ways. We are currently researching how AI can help us to build and maintain SEO, as well as how it can help with brand consistency in terms of tone, style and grammar. We are also testing out different chatbots to see which will work best for us.
What is the structure of your marketing department?
Our marketing department currently has three team members. I am the Marketing Director. We have a Marketing Coordinator who handles all of the graphic design and digital advertising. We also have a Marketing Associate who works on communications, PR, events, and social media.
What have you learned the hard way?
The power of delegation. I used to get myself so overwhelmed and overworked. I didn’t always have people to hand things off to, but as we have grown, I have had to learn that I need to give up the reins sometimes and pass things on to others. As I do delegate, I try not to overwhelm people. Finding that balance has been a challenge.
What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?
It takes a full year. It takes a full year to understand the nature of the beast, the ebbs and flows, the deadlines, the stress between tax and audit. It’s different than most other industries because you have more than one boss, so you are held accountable to several different people with different personalities and expectations. Be patient with yourself.
What are your special skills or what is something people may not know about you?
Before I joined Sensiba San Filippo I was a fire eating and fire breathing instructor! As the Marketing Director for an industrial and fine arts school called The Crucible that offered classes in forms of art created by application of fire.
What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?
The comradery. I value the “therapy” of getting together to talk and provide support for one another. It’s great to have a group to bounce ideas off of. AAM has also afforded me opportunities to get outside of my comfort zone. Speaking and writing on accounting marketing topics has helped me grow.
Share one marketing tip.
Look at what you’re doing that can incorporate AI. If you want to stay a marketer in the future, you need to start learning and engaging with AI.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing accounting marketers today?
Helping our firms, partners and staff transition to a consulting practice model. As AI and Blockchain become common place, our firms will need to start moving to a new practice model. Marketers will be on the front lines helping to communication that shift to clients and help support our accountants as they learn to embrace their roles.
What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?
I think I would like to work in health and wellness field. I would probably be working as an acupuncturist or a nutritionist.
What is the biggest project you are working on right now?
I am currently working on building out my marketing staff to handle the day-to-day firm marketing while I build out and lead a marketing consulting department for the firm.
If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?
I would double my headcount - just get more people in here.
What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?
Becoming by Michelle Obama. I highly recommend getting the audiobook because Michelle reads it. What I love is that she keeps it real. As professional women trying to “do it all” it’s easy to get down on yourself. Be kind to yourself. At one point, Michelle was a mother, a wife, and FLOTUS - she had all of the things. It was so interesting to see how she handled it all so gracefully.
The other book I would recommend is Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. You will pick this up and not want to put it down. It details how Shonda was always saying no; she was afraid to do interviews, didn’t want to go to parties or do any “in the spotlight” kinds of things. When someone calls her out on it, she decides to take a year and say yes to literally every opportunity that comes her way. The book illustrates how saying yes completely changes her life and her confidence in herself. Sometimes we could all use a little year of yes.