By Robert S. Benchley
In 2007, Step Sinatra ’98 was hospitalized, weighing 83 pounds. Life itself, not its quality, was in question.
His ambition to be a stock trader had led him to Wall Street, where he worked for a hedge fund.
“I wanted freedom, and I believed that required money,” he says. “It was like the Wild West. I was surrounded by computers, with a phone on each ear, and the financial reward was overwhelming, a positive reinforcement to keep working hard.”
Working 100 hours a week, the stress was non-stop. Two years in, he began breaking down physically. It started with ringing in his ears and steadily progressed, as though some internal battery was dying. In fact, that was what was happening, but he kept working.
Then, his stress-related health breakdown nearly killed him. He experienced adrenal fatigue and subsequent endocrine dysfunction. He consulted with 15 physicians before exploring alternative treatments with the support of his father, cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra.
His recovery took nearly a decade. Sinatra says that a conversation with God in a near-death moment at the hospital was pivotal.
“I was given the option to go or to stay,” he says. “I realized that I still had a reason to live, channeling my dreams in a positive direction.”
Today, Sinatra lives in Calistoga, Calif., and directs four companies based on his philosophy of giving back. One of these—a boutique organic California winery called FreeSpirit—donated wine for gifts for guests during the inauguration of President Alison Byerly.
Sinatra, an economics and business graduate, first learned about Lafayette from his uncle, Richard Sinatra ’60, professor and chair, department of human services and counseling, St. John’s University.
“I received a wonderful education, and it made me a better person,” says Sinatra.
He keeps in touch with Donald Chambers, Walter E. Hanson/KPMG Peat Marwick Professor of Business and Finance.
“He was my mentor, and he fueled my passion for entrepreneurship.”
Sinatra serves on Lafayette Leadership Council and sponsors internships and externships. He also connects with alumni through business. Anthony “Chris” DiMarco ’98, owner and CEO of lamps.com, is a client of StepMedia.com, which specializes in optimizing domain names for maximum profitability.
He believes a process known as “grounding”—connecting to the Earth’s vibrations and energy for healing—helped save his life. He’s made it the focus of another business, Grounded.com.
Sinatra’s own energy is back and redirected.
“I came out the other side with a new intention,” he says. “To follow my dreams, my passions and, most importantly, my heart.”