Member Success Story

Sandy grew her design firm to new heights by taking risks and winning over top talent.

Meet Sandy Marsico

Employees: 20-49
Region: Chicago
Industry: Marketing consulting

Success with Vistage

  • Increased revenues from $600,000 to $5.5 million between 2006 and 2016
  • Featured on CNBC story for her successful company culture
  • Appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business to reveal her talent acquisition secrets

“I have a different life because of Vistage, and I’m a different person.”

-Sandy Marsico
Principal, Sandstorm Design

Before Vistage
Sandy launched her brand experience agency, Sandstorm Design, in at the young age of 24. However, she always had help by her side: her dad.

A business owner himself, Sandy’s dad served as her advisor, guiding her through one successful business decision after another until she reached $600,000 in revenue. At that half-million mark, the pair hit a standstill, as Sandy’s dad was afraid to see her take risks. To grow her business, she needed fellow professionals to push her to make tough decisions.

She turned to Vistage.

With Vistage
During an exercise with her new Vistage group, other members strategized how they’d put Sandy out of business. Their tactic was to take away her key talent, demonstrating how important it was to focus on retention strategies.

She aimed to build a culture that fostered growth and creativity. Sandy held a meeting called “The best job you’ve ever had” to learn what motivated her employees to stay with a company. From the insights she received, Sandy reimagined Sandstorm’s office culture.

Especially successful were “You Rock” meetings, meant to combat office negativity by sharing team wins. She also redesigned the workspace to cater to employee preferences.

Result
By focusing on culture and talent, Sandy determined her purpose in life was to create great jobs for great people. She grew her company from $600,000 to $5.5 million in just 10 years and went from six employees when she founded Sandstorm to about 30 employees today.

Sandstorm Design appeared in a story in Crain’s Chicago Business, which featured some of their talent acquisition secrets. CNBC also aired a piece on Sandstorm’s unique company culture.

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