MAKER Patricia Selin Inspires Others with Her Inner Strength and Determination
Senior Portfolio Manager and Senior Vice President Patricia Selin doesn’t believe in excuses. After all, she’s never counted on anyone to make things happen. “You have to make it happen for yourself,” says the Boca Raton, Fla. based Financial Advisor. “I never blame others or my circumstances if things don’t go my way.”
No stranger to adversity, Patty has learned to take control when things don’t go as planned. “I’m determined to find a new solution. Each mistake is an opportunity to learn. You see, I've hardly ever learned how to do things right the first time,” she laughs.
That sense of humor, energy and optimism - plus her compassion and willingness to listen - draws many people to her. Her team learned very quickly that she’s a fighter who sets high standards for herself and everyone around her. “There are no limits except the ones we place on ourselves,” she tells colleagues, who say she gives the best hugs, knowing one hug can change someone’s whole outlook.
Patty came to the industry through a back-office job she earned because of her conviction. At the time, her life was in turmoil. She had left a very dysfunctional relationship to build a better life for herself and her 10-month-old son, Gary. She refers to the efficiency she was living in as “a dump.” She had no money, her car had been repossessed, and she carried her son everywhere because she could not afford a stroller. “I measured my wealth in diapers,” says Patty, who cried herself to sleep many a night. “I could not have survived without my sense of humor,” she reflects. “Joking about my circumstances helped relieve some of the sadness.”
Scouring the help wanted ads, she saw an ad for an administration position at a brokerage firm. Her only experience had been with commodities, but she figured she could learn stocks quickly and called for an interview. “I knew this was the opportunity that was going to change my life,” she said. She convinced them to see her that day, borrowed a car to get there, and walked in “acting like I owned the place,” she chuckles. When she shook hands with the hiring manager, Jerry Greene, she said, “You and me, we're a marriage made in heaven.” He smiled, took a client call, then asked her to tell him about herself. “No, you have orders to post. Orders come first,” she quipped. So he placed the orders and described what sounded like “a dream job come true. I wasn’t leaving without an offer.” When he said he had others to interview, Patty stopped him in his tracks: "I’m exactly what you want in an assistant, and you’re everything I want in a boss. I’m not leaving here without the job.” With that, Jerry walked over to HR and said: “This is Patty. She starts on Monday.”
Growing up in Florida, Patty’s childhood also was rough. The second to the youngest of six siblings, her parents divorced when she was young. Mom, having no child support, worked nights as a waitress. “It was a struggle. We fought with each other every day. That was our normal.” They didn't live in a great neighborhood and stood out as the only divorced family. Today, though, “we’re amazingly close. There's nothing we won’t do for each other.”
Patty lacked confidence and self- esteem and never understood her potential. “I didn’t have faith in myself. I thought anything good that happened was based on luck, not skill. I didn’t think I deserved good things.” So she quit school and, at 16, “fell in love with working. It gave me a sense of pride, and I learned I was very capable. I quickly became someone others could count on. People came to me with questions, and I had answers. I knew I could learn anything. That was life changing.”
As was the role working for Jerry Greene, where she worked her way up to Assistant Branch Manager. “Jerry and his wife Rose Ellen truly believed in me, convinced me that I was worthy of having a better life, and helped me get there,” she says. “I hope to pay that forward.” That’s also where she met her husband Chuck, who adopted Gary after they married.
With Chuck’s encouragement, she pursued her CFP®. However, about halfway through the course, she was told she couldn’t continue without a college degree. She fought to stay enrolled and won—and didn’t stop there. She went on to Wharton to earn her CIMA®. Patty’s life has been all about turning “no’s” into “yeses.”
Patty made the move to Morgan Stanley nine years ago and recently joined the SVS Wealth Management Team to help her better serve her clients, including more than 50 in New Jersey that all came to her through referrals. “Everything I wanted to put in play as a solo practitioner they were doing,” she says of SVS. “Managing Director Anthony Valente has the same vision and dedication to providing the best service possible, and when we met, it was a second marriage made in heaven!”
Newly named a Morgan Stanley MAKER, trailblazing women of accomplishment nominated by their peers, Patty offers this advice to others: “Take the punches, but do not let them knock you out. In some moments you may get beaten down, but the next moment can be amazing. I guess I'm a perennial optimist.”
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