40 Under 40 Class of 2023

Chelsea Russell

Manager/CPA, Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C.; Age 29

Chelsea Russell“There’s never a dull moment.”

That’s not a phrase anyone not in accounting and auditing would probably use to describe that profession. But Chelsea Russell, who has chosen that field, means it when she says it.

“There’s a lot of variety, a lot of excitement — you can do the grind of the work, but you can also go out and meet people in the community and other business owners,” Russell said as she talked about the sum (that’s an industry term) of everything that goes into her career, especially the networking and relationship building, in addition to the number crunching.

Russell was trending toward business management while at Westfield State University, became inspired by one of her accounting professors to focus her career in that direction, and became further inspired by a talk delivered by Jim Krupienski, now a partner at Meyers Brothers Kalicka, on “a day in the life of an accountant.”

She pursued an internship at MBK, one that led — as these opportunities so often do — to a job at the firm. She currently serves as a manager in the Audit and Assurance Department, where she handles large audits in the not-for-profit, commercial, and employment-benefit-plan arenas.

She has become an emerging leader at the firm, serving as co-leader of the Not-for-profit Division, a member of the mission and vision committee, an internal trainer for the Audit and Assurance Department, a member of the Business Development team, and a mentor to audit and accounting associates.

But maybe her most noteworthy contribution at the firm, one she’s passionate about, is her work to develop its Community Outreach program, through which she has established monthly charitable opportunities for the firm to participate in. She has coordinated drives, awareness campaigns, and service for a wide range of organizations in Western Mass., including Square One, Dakin Humane Society, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, the Opera House Players, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel’s Table, and many others.

“It’s become a staple of who we are,” she said of the program. “I always wanted something to make my work more meaningful. I love what I do, and I love my clients … but there was more that we could do with the resources that we have. We’re in Western Mass., and there’s so much need in the community.”

When not working or coordinating support for nonprofits, Russell is engaging in outdoor activities — camping, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and more — with her husband, Tyler, and 8-month-old lab, Copper.

 

—George O’Brien

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