In May of 2007, Svetlana Saitsky crossed the stage to receive her diploma. After a full and enriching four years at the University of Maryland, Svetlana was graduating from the Smith School with a BS in marketing and a job offer straight out of college. However, when the Dean asked if she was excited to start her new job, she replied: “Actually, I’m not taking the job.” Svetlana wanted to see more of the world, so she traveled for 6 months before beginning her first job at TransPerfect, which was the world’s largest private translation company at the time. With a solid business background, Svetlana hit the ground running.
Four months into her role as an Account Executive, the company needed someone to run a satellite sales office in Sydney, Australia, and Svetlana jumped at the opportunity. Even as one of the newest and youngest employees, she hit the goal requirements and was offered the opportunity. She ultimately left TransPerfect, because it wasn’t a culture fit. Looking for a less cutthroat culture, Svetlana then moved on to work for companies like AdRoll, and Robert Half International, and soon after on a short project for Google, which was her dream company while studying at Smith. Still not feeling “at home,” she began doing her own consulting work, served as a contributing writer and photographer for various blogs and publications, and took several positions with a handful of companies. She even ended up back at Google X as part of the team to launch Google Glass.
After navigating through careers, Svetlana has finally landed her dream job of corporate coaching full-time. It wasn’t until one of her own bosses told her that she needed to work for herself and was really meant to coach others until she took the leap. She now works with both individuals and corporations and coaches managers and executives on being positive leaders, creating a happy workplace and the importance of “mental wealth.”
Svetlana is very grateful for the University of Maryland and the Smith School for helping her achieve happiness in her career. Identifying as an artist, but wanting a strong business foundation, Svetlana discovered creativity and business actually mix quite well. “Creativity is everywhere. It’s in how you run a meeting and in the colors you use in a PowerPoint. Artistry is a way of expression, and that’s what the business world needs. That’s what makes companies like Google and Apple so innovative.”
Some of her favorite classes at Smith were design marketing, international business and strategic management, taught by Gosia Langa-Basit, who became an important mentor for Svetlana and with whom Svetlana still keeps in touch with today. In fact, one of Svetlana’s biggest pieces of advice for current Smith students is to get a mentor. “Never be scared to tell people you admire them, and ask them what they did,” she says. She also advises students: “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t.” She recognizes her story as “different,” but is glad to have always stayed true to herself to land the career of her dreams.