Hello! My name is Betty Shen and I’m a former Silicon Valley techie turned Soulpreneur and Breathwork Facilitator. I was born and raised in San Francisco and graduated from UCLA’s Design Media Arts program in 2015. I was a Product Designer at Airbnb for the past 5 years and recently founded Exhale Row, a wellness company with the mission of helping women tap into their self-worth, practice mindfulness and realign with their inner empowerment. I’m fervently passionate about creating a life that is in complete alignment with my values and mentoring women to follow their own similar journey.
Go-to Boba order?
Strawberry Matcha Latte with Oat Milk from Boba Guys!
How did growing up in San Francisco shape your values and experiences on cultural impact, social reform and community?
Having been raised by Asian immigrant parents, I was instilled with a lot of traditional Asian values such as excelling in academics, securing a stable job and having high standards of achievement. Within the San Francisco community—especially in Silicon Valley—there’s always this notion that you should be getting involved in entrepreneurship, technology or medicine and finance. But my strong suit was always in the arts which brought me to pursue design school at UCLA. Design was really the bridge that connected my creativity mindset to a traditional work space because upon graduating UCLA, I joined Airbnb as a product designer. I personally felt that in San Francisco, there were always women of color surrounding me and there was always a community I could relate to. But, when I shifted gears into the Wellness industry, that’s when I noticed there was a definite gap and the prevalence of underrepresentation of minority women.
How did this inspire you to create Exhale Row? What’s behind the name?
I created Exhale Row to really embody who I am and to help other women feel comfortable and accepted into the space around them. The name really speaks to this because when you take an exhale, it’s like a release and letting go. It’s essentially like letting go of all the limiting beliefs and things people say you can’t do and discovering your inner self. Growing up, I personally went through a lot of tough emotional moments of thinking I had to do things perfectly, but I didn’t know how to express these emotions which led to bad cycles of emotional eating and never feeling good about myself. This led me to want to learn how to grow my self worth and self love as well as to understand the power of mindset and emotional health. With Exhale Row, my mission is to be able to share and teach these values to women like me and to help them along their own journey.
What were some logistics behind how Exhale Row came to life? How has the journey been so far?
I started the first stages of Exhale Row while I was still working at Airbnb, but I soon noticed it was like having 2 separate identities—a spiritual wellness side and another side as a tech product designer. Recently, I decided to dive fully into Exhale Row and to take the opportunity to take the next steps with it. I started the blog in February 2020, then began to focus on building a community around it on Instagram (@exhalerowstudio) and Pinterest (Exhale Row). Now, I’m currently in the phase of testing out different ideas, learning to experiment and seeing what resonates with my true passion. Services such as the Soulpreneur in Bloom naturally progressed from the blog and I recently launched one-on-one personal development sessions. I’m very much still in the early process of how I want to grow Exhale Row, so I’m excited to see what’s to come!
What are, in your opinion, the biggest challenges facing Asian women today?
I would say that one challenge Asian women face is the stigma of putting yourself first. I never really saw my mom or grandma indulging in self care first or putting themselves first. Culturally, there’s still a stigma of taking a pause and a moment for yourself, which I think is really important. That has transitioned into entrepreneurship as well, because you should put your passion and desire first and build an amazing purpose around that. I also think there’s a challenge of inclusion and diversity and I would love to see more women of color being represented in the wellness industry.
Any advice you would like to share?
Don’t let anyone or anything dim your light because there’s always something that will. You are resilient enough to keep pushing on! Even when it’s hard, you have no idea how that light might inspire somebody else or impact someone else’s life. Trust yourself to be able to get through anything, and continue to follow what inspires you the most.
I recently launched a mentorship program on Exhale Row, which kicked off earlier this month!! I also obtained my breathwork certification with Revelation Breathwork last month, so I’m incorporating breathwork into many of my offerings. In the future, I plan to create more online group mastermind classes and implement new signature programs for other female entrepreneurs.
Betty Shen is a spiritual entrepreneur & breathwork facilitator who runs Exhale Row. She is passionate about holistic wellbeing, slow living, and loves a good matcha latte. Her teaching style is all about empowerment — helping YOU heal yourself and accessing the divine truths within. As a San Francisco native, Betty is excited to bring more wellness to the womxn of color community and normalize the ritual of self-care. She is currently expanding her breathwork & mentorship offerings through Exhale Row.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!
We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.