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Career 180: A real jewel when it comes to helping kids

Satya Scainetti

Satya Scainetti Credit: Satya Scainetti

Satya Scainetti, 51, is the CEO and co-founder of Satya Jewelry, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

Satya Jewelry is now available nationwide through and several stores in New York City. It has a celebrity following, including actresses like as Kristen Bell, Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone.

The Satya Foundation has also donated millions of dollars to children’s charities internationally.

Before co-founding Satya Jewelry, Scainetti was a social worker for children's organizations. She lives in the West Village.

Why did you switch? I was frustrated just in the overall direct impact I was making in children's lives. I think you get very overwhelmed working in the many systems and bureaucracies in the social work realm. … One, [the organizations] don't pay very well and second, I wasn't making as big of an impact as I wanted to. … Then 9/11 happened and I watched the towers go down - I lived down there - and I thought, what if it was me that died?... From the first year on we always had the intention to design jewelry and donate some of the profit to children's organizations. We've donated millions of dollars since we started, and we get to visit kids in India. It's been the best social work experience I've ever had.

What are some pros and cons? Well, we have 50 employees, that alone is really intense. The pros are I can do whatever I want and I love running my own company. I think the other part to combining my social work background is just creating a really great space for people to work that helps them grow, empowers people. I share with our employees all the time just how much we're helping out in the world. The company is not just, "let's make jewelry and sell it," it's "how can we really make a difference in the world?" It's pretty amazing. The con is just keeping the balance. Balancing it all out is really challenging. We've grown so much, I feel like sometimes I am a mom to 50 people, but I have twin boys at home that are almost five. [But] all the challenges are just exciting challenges, because they all bring me to a better place.

Are you happy with your career switch? I am. … There's been so many changes in this industry, the market crashing and the thousands of jewelry companies that have been started. But I still love it and for me, I'm not afraid of change. … I love my business. I'm challenged by it, I would love to maybe get back into a little more of the philanthropic end of my company, but right now everything's really wonderful.

Do you have any advice for readers who are considering a career 180? We get so stuck, and I was so stuck on "I'm a social worker." A wonderful mentor said, "Satya, because of who you are you will always do social work in the world." ... I think we get so stuck on what we think that we're supposed to do. I always look at it like you have no choice but to take the chance. You have an option: Stay where you are and be unhappy, or take the leap of faith. … I think that we have this delicious, wonderful life and we live in this incredible country which gives us more opportunity than any other place on the planet, that you should always go for the highest potential, never hold back. I started this company when I was 40, so it's never too late.

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