Finding space to serve clients and community starts with inner peace

May 21, 2024 Chelsey Sleator
How financial consultant Doreen Huang turned what she learned in a Himalayan ashram into a passion for serving her community in many ways.

In addition to serving her clients, Doreen Huang, a financial consultant based out of Fremont, California, has a long list of community activities she participates in. She teaches yoga and healthy living at her local Shaolin Temple. She’s a lifetime member of the Bay Area Chinese nonprofit organization, Citizens for Better Community (CBC), and she’s also active with the Rotary Club of Fremont, to name a few. 

She says it’s the yoga that keeps her calm and centered and able to accomplish it all, and it’s what drove her to community service in the first place. In fact, Doreen explains that while a lot of her students enter her yoga practice for the muscle, they end up sticking around for the internal journey and the inner peace that they find along the way. 

Unlike her students, Doreen was never interested in the muscle, her entry to yoga was a little different.

Finding her inner teacher

In China as a young girl, Doreen remembers watching a show on China Central Television featuring a woman doing yoga on the beach, wearing a Hawaiian-style rainbow crown. The woman was Zhang Huilan, who is sometimes referred to as the “mother of yoga” and is credited with bringing modern yoga to the country in the 80s. Like she did for many others, Zhang Huilan piqued Doreen’s interest.

Doreen left China for New Zealand as a teenager, and then moved to the United States in 2006 with her husband. It’s in the U.S. where she first started practicing yoga as an adult, and she knew right away that she wanted to be a teacher. But she was turned off by the American-style of gym and studio-based yoga. She wanted to find the root of yoga.

So in 2019 she traveled all the way to the Himalayan mountains, to Rishikesh, yoga’s birthplace. There, she lived in an ashram halfway up a mountain where she woke every morning at 5:00 a.m. to study ancient philosophies, meditate, practice yoga, and live a slow, simple, and quiet life. After living there for a month, Doreen says she found a sense of inner peace for the first time, and she was ready to share what she learned.

“Yoga is a good way to share awareness and wisdoms, and it’s something that I’m really passionate about and something I continue to do despite my busy work schedule,” she explains.

In fact, Doreen finds a lot of parallels between her role as a yoga teacher, community volunteer and a financial consultant.

“My work is not just about getting a paycheck. It’s about helping families in my community with their finances,” she says. “In my role, I run a lot of workshops, and I do a lot of education, I’m here to help you and to understand you and to find the topics that are important to you and that you need. It’s another way I serve my community.”

Combining Community, Culture and Colleagues

Many of the organizations that Doreen volunteers with have ties back to her Chinese culture. And one of the things she values about Schwab is that she’s able to bring her community and her culture together at work. 

“I really enjoy how Schwab allows me to connect with the community and is supportive of the non-profits that I work with,” says Doreen.

Doreen is also a co-chair of the San Francisco chapter of APINS (Asian Professionals Inclusion Network at Schwab) where she enjoys bringing colleagues together to celebrate traditional holidays and festivals. 

“I always have people come up and comment to me and say that we feel that our culture is understood and that we feel respected when our most important holidays from our home countries are celebrated here,” she says. “And that brings me warmness and joy.”

It’s just one more way Doreen has found a way to serve her community.