For this week’s Influential Women Spotlight I have the privilege of introducing you to Dina Chan. Dina, at only 25 years old, is a business owner who I met through our mutual love of the video game Destiny. I know what you’re thinking: a young business owner who loves video games? Have we found the perfect woman? Perhaps we have. So let’s learn more.
Dina grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. As she described to me in our interview, most of her childhood was spent living in poverty. Fortunes started to change around 7 or 8 years old and Dina’s family recovered financially, finding themselves with a house, multiple family cars, and a solid income stream. However, her parents gambling and drinking addictions eventually led to losing it all, and would prompt a divorce as well.
At 14 Dina was homeless and taken in by a family she had met through her mother. She attributes this family as the reason behind her rise to success, as we will see in her interview how she became involved with her family’s business. After starting college to study medicine in Boston, Dina took a break to establish businesses overseas in Cambodia with her family.
So, let’s dive in to get Dina’s perspective on what it’s like being a young woman in charge of a growing business.
What is your family business and how did you get involved?
Dina: My family owns multiple businesses in Cambodia & in America. When I had first met them at age 12 through my biological mom, they were very poor. But throughout the years after flipping land & property in Cambodia, they slowly became wealthy. My family owns a large amount of property & land in Cambodia, and businesses such as interior design, jewelry, and beauty salons. The beauty salon I’m currently branding was built from the ground up, over a million dollar investment. Soon I will be expanding the business & opening a practice for rejuvenation and injectables.
What is it like being a young woman in charge of a large family business?
Being a young woman in charge has its own fair share of obstacles. I’ve been told often I am intimidating, and therefore others hesitate to work with me. I am the youngest in charge out of my family, and sometimes my input is overlooked due to my lack of experience or age. To push through this, I have to be consistent with my ideas and results. My education also plays a big factor, because it gives me credibility. I’ve had to prove myself, but in time, the results spoke for me.
How long have you been in Cambodia, and what does the future look like for you and your business?
I’ve been in Cambodia for 5 months now establishing and branding the new salon and traveling to other parts of Cambodia to manage our properties. Every year is another year of progression and continuous expansion throughout Cambodia. After I return to the US next month, I’ll be continuing my education as my main focus. But, I will be traveling back and forth to Cambodia as well.
Finally, since we originally met through Destiny, how did you get into video games?
Growing up I had a large male influence since I only had one male sibling. My brother always had our cousins coming over to play Playstation. In my culture, it was very strict for girls to leave the household so my girl cousins would never come over. So, I started playing video games with my brother and cousins. I first started playing videos games on PC, but I remember playing Crash Bandicoot on the first gen Playstation and playing Nintendo as a child.
I played video games whenever I couldn’t play outside. I was like one of the boys. Whenever they played baseball, dodge ball or any sort of crazy activity, I was just like one of them. They didn’t treat me like a girl so I was hopping backyard fences by the age of 8. I have some pretty amazing stories to go with the scars. Now I play video games simply because I enjoy them and they bring back a lot of childhood memories.
Why Dina is Influential
Dina’s story is amazing and inspiring, and I’m unbelievably fortunate to be able to get to know her more as an Influential Woman. Many of us have difficulty rising above our circumstances, even when others are trying to help us out. Despite her roller coaster of a childhood, Dina had the drive to look past the difficulties and focus on establishing a life of success. Also, despite her success in her family business, Dina still has the drive to complete her education, which I would bet many of us would ignore.
At only 25 years old, Dina is in charge of a million dollar investment business, and is working to grow her business throughout Cambodia, expanding into new realms of the beauty industry. I’m excited to follow her business’s growth, as well as her own. I’m also excited for her to come back to the States this month so that she can carry me through some video games, once she knocks off the rust of course. I look forward to bringing her back in to The Influential Gentleman as well to get more of her input on various topics we’ll look at throughout the year.
Check out Dina in our Woman Crush Wednesday post on our Instagram @theinfluentialgentleman.