A Renaissance Woman
A Renaissance Woman | Foto: A Renaissance Woman

A Renaissance Woman

Por: Diego Cerón

7, October, 2022 en Business Concept

A Renaissance Woman by Geraldine Zialcita

A broad mindset, multi-dimensional character, and a woman determined to succeed in all channels equate to Seline Elin who was made for greatness.

Seline was born in Hawaii to Vietnamese immigrant parents who fled from Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon. As the second to the youngest child of eleven children, Seline often dreamed of traveling the world. “My father worked in the Air Force and I wanted to become a flight attendant to trot around the globe. I often envisioned myself in a different place to broaden my horizons,” she shares.

After living in Hawaii, Seline’s family moved to San Diego, then settled in the San Francisco Bay Area where they planted roots. After picking up the pieces, the family thrived, embracing their new country to attain the American dream for their family. Slowly but surely, they assimilated to the culture and lifestyle, establishing restaurants, groceries, and shops. Seline witnessed first-hand how hard her parents work to be able to provide for their children. “My parents lost everything they had in Vietnam and had to start from scratch. People from the church and community stepped up to the plate to help my family which served to be fundamental in our journey,” she reveals.

A Renaissance Woman
A Renaissance Woman

Equipped with good moral values and work ethics, as early as sixteen years old, Seline engaged in the real estate industry where she spent over fifteen years selling properties. “As a top licensed real estate agent, I learned the importance of communicating effectively with people. Everybody has different needs and wants, and real estate enables you to understand people’s outlooks,” she relays.

After spending many years in the real estate industry, Seline invested in her own properties. She is the proud owner of De La Vina Inn, a historical hotel located in Santa Barbara, CA. “I stumbled upon this property while searching for a retirement community for my friend. I happened to mention in passing to my sister the idea of purchasing a property somewhere down the road when I’m older. She asked why I have to wait until I retire, and why not now while I’m still young and have the energy. What she said struck a chord in me and this was what compelled me to buy the Santa Barbara hotel,” she unveils.

“1323 De La Vina Street property originated as a grand Victorian residence in 1895, which was one of the prominent homes surrounding downtown Santa Barbara during the turn of the 20th century. Local financier Henry Spencer originally owned the residence. Among its occupants in the early part of the century was the soon-to-be-famous dance pioneer Martha Graham who lived at the home with her parents before leaving for Los Angeles in 1914 to spearhead her life’s work. The Menken family owned the home from 1917 until 1969, after which, the property began seeing commercial uses, including once being used as an antique store on the 1st floor with an owner’s apartment on the upper levels. In 1984, the building officially was licensed to become a Bed & Breakfast Inn, which eventually became known as the Tiffany Inn. Shortly after, the B&B became an annex to the Upham Hotel from 1998 through 2018, known as the Country House Inn,” she indicates.

In 2018, the property was purchased by Seline, a remarkable and energetic entrepreneur, and re-branded as the De La Vina Inn. De La Vina Inn is a three-story building with eight private suites. Nestled in downtown, Santa Barbara, the quaint hotel is minutes away from shopping, dining, museums, and other historical attractions. “I fell in love with the hotel because of its charm and location. We have maintained the original structure which was built in 1895 and has been a historical landmark in Santa Barbara. The famous dancer Marta Graham lived at De La Vina Inn. The bigger hotel down the street was owned by Abraham Lincoln’s family. If the walls could talk, I’m sure there would be lots of stories to tell,” she narrates.

Making headway, Seline who sits on the advisory board of the hotel and her company Dela Vina LLC assists other investors in acquiring properties and hotels. She has a penchant for finding a gem in the rough. “Scouting for properties is like immersing in a treasure hunt. Each time I discover a place, I get all excited like a little kid who has found a priceless treasure.” She smiles.

A Renaissance Woman
A Renaissance Woman

Blazing the trail, this dynamic woman created her private wine label, Dela Vina to complement her hospitality and tourism business. “De La Vina means, ‘of the vine’, and our wine is directly derived from the grapes of Santa Barbara. We want our guests to experience the complete vacation package―a cozy, historical hotel, fine wine, and a private getaway which equates to the ultimate Santa Barbara charm,” she states.

Known to be a versatile and well-rounded woman, Seline spread her wings further by hosting special events for Comcast Channel. She conducts special coverage for car shows, golf tournaments, technology, film, and celebrities. “I do three segments a year and truly enjoy featuring people from different industries. I’ve been fortunate to interview some influential people like American football player, Jerry Rice, and Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison. Listening to their stories provides a wider perspective for me,” she conveys.

Creativity and talent flow through Seline’s veins. She unleashes her artistry in many forms―acting, painting, and cooking. De La Vina Inn is a work of art created by Seline. “I am a creator who has produced, designed, and innovated projects. When I’m done with one activity, I need to find something new. I love to embrace a character role that engages in comedy since making people laugh is one of my strengths. I also use oil and watercolor as my medium to express my imagination. And, since I’m adventurous when it comes to food, I love cooking European, Mediterranean, and Asian dishes,” she describes.

Despite all her accolades, Seline has encountered challenges in her journey, yet has chosen to overcome them using her strength, character, integrity, passion, and remaining focused. “Women in this age continue to face racism and being a minority in the field. I’ve learned to step out of my comfort zone and confront these obstacles. You gotta have that attitude where you don’t give up. Using Steve Jobs’ quote, ‘Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.’ Some people may drag you down and distractions can hinder you from fulfilling your goal, but you need to remain steady. Filter the noise and listen to your intuition. Always dream big and never give up,” she advises.

A Renaissance Woman
A Renaissance Woman

As a single mother of two teenagers, Seline spends ample time rearing them to be independent and exercise wise decisions. “My children are my masterpieces and inspiration. I always listen to the advice of my parents and inject my version of discipline that applies to my children’s generation,” she briefs.

As she forges ahead, Seline plans to use her platform to help others and give back to the community. She also hopes to concentrate on philanthropy work and support children’s education and causes. “Looking back, I have reached a stage in my life where I can count all my blessings. To express my gratitude, I want to focus on inspiring young women, moms, and single mothers to achieve their dreams and be progressive. I believe in hard work, perfect timing, and embracing the opportunity that arises. My goal is to motivate and support underprivileged young women to have better or improved education so they can thrive and be empowered in today’s society. I want to be a humanitarian, advocate, and philanthropist for the causes that resonate with me,” she concludes.

Whether she’s treasure hunting for properties, developing her next project, or being in the limelight, Seline embraces all angles to entertain, inspire, and empower everyone she meets. Seline Elin is A Renaissance Woman.

IG: @delavinainn