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April 08, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Book about women leaders in wellness unveiled on Saturday night

The book was available during the inaugural “Wellness Innovation Summit” held at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Knoxville’s Wanda Malhotra unveiled her new book on Saturday night during the inaugural “Wellness Innovation Summit” held at the Knoxville Convention Center. Ironically, the event was the evening before the Covenant Marathon.

Titled Women in Wellness: The Empowering Journeys of 35 Female Leaders in Wellness, the event featured six of the women spotlighted in the book that was published by Authority Magazine. Malhotra and four of those individuals who were featured had a conversation that brought the event to its conclusion. Earlier, four women – three spotlighted in the book – and a man from Silicon Valley who was a longtime family friend, spoke before a dinner.

In addition to Mountain View, CA, those who spoke came from as close as Knoxville to as far away as Denver, CO, and Long Beach, CA.

Describing the book as “a very special project,” Malhotra said she interviewed 400 women. The 35 who were spotlighted in the book “were not (necessarily) 35 of the best, but those that impacted my journey.” Malhotra cited their resilience and strength as qualities that she admired.

The promotional information about the book notes that “each story is a guide crafted from experiences of successful women in wellness, serving as a motivational tool to propel readers to follow their intuition and guide them on their life journeys. It transcends the conventional narrative of a compilation of stories, evolving into a powerful guide to motivate and propel readers in any field they choose to pursue.”

Much of the emphasis during both the five formal presentations ahead of dinner and the panel discussion after the meal focused in one way or another on mental health. We had a chance to talk with the lone male on the program ahead of the event. His name was Wedge Martin, and “yes,” he was named by his father after the golf club.

He’s lived in many cities including Greenback and Maryville. In 1993, just as the Internet was emerging but before the web was a household term, he launched an Internet Service Provider company in South Carolina.

“I was obsessed with the Internet and how it was put together,” Martin admitted. His wife, who works with start-ups in the Bay Area, and Malhotra are best friends.

As a full-time resident of Silicon Valley for more than a quarter of a century, Martin has seen a lot of technology developments. He offered these insights.

  • Studies have shown that the risk of depression for adolescents increases by 13 percent for each hour of additional engagement with social media.
  • “Technology should augment our lives, not take over our lives.”
  • “AI is going to be a big problem. We will have to figure out how to use it.”
  • “I do believe we will all be plugged into VR (virtual reality) one day just like in the Matrix.”

Other presenters before dinner included: (1) Dr. Leslie Dobson, a Psychologist from California who spent much of her career working with very violent criminals; (2) Victoria Margaux Nielsen, a published author and leader of transformative retreats and workshops; (3) Margaux Cousturian, a Physician Associate at Performance Medicine in Fountain City; and (4) Emily Steines, a speaker and breathwork facilitator. Dobson, Nielsen, and Steines were part of the after-dinner panel.

Those interested in purchasing Malhotra’s book can find it at this link.

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