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Interview with Mamata Venkat

Interview by Rehana Paul

An Ohio native, Mamata graduated from Wright State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in Spanish. She worked with Global Health Corps, a non-profit global health fellowship organization based in New York City for three years, and currently supports operations and events management at Success Academy. Mamata was a TEDx speaker featured during the 2016 TEDx event in Perrysburg, Ohio, utilizing the theme of (inter)action to discuss the application of meditation to internal and external development, and how success in either does not have to come at the cost of the other. Mamata has been practicing Heartfulness meditation for nine years, and has been a certified trainer for four years. You can find her on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and through her website. She is currently looking to couple her interests in mental health and meditation with her passion for storytelling and communications.

  1. What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

Learning to manage my anxiety. I have done a lot of cool things in my life, such as giving a TED talk and writing for a lot of magazines, but I never would have done these things had I not learned how to manage my anxiety. It’s made me a better daughter, a more present friend, and it has completely transformed my life.

2. Describe what you do.

I am a Heartfulness Meditation trainer! I teach meditation free of charge in the New York area; I’ve been practicing meditation for the last nine years, and I’ve been a meditation trainer for the last four years. Meditation has been a part of my life ever since I can remember: my dad began meditating when he was sixteen-years-old, and my mom started meditating shortly after they got married. I grew up with meditation as the foundation of my life, similar to how people go to church or temple. And with that foundation of meditation came a very unique childhood filled with beautiful memories and a group of friends that are some of my very best friends to this day. 

3. What is are three books you think everyone should read?

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adicihe, and Designing Destiny by Kamlesh D. Patel

4. What are some of your goals?

I have so many goals! On a professional level, I would love to write a book, share more about meditation on national platforms, launch a podcast or a talk show, stay in New York City and build out a business and brand here. I just want to keep getting better and better, and to challenge myself to be better than yesterday. On a personal level, I would love to eventually get married and have a family. I would love to move to India one day. I would love to get more sleep (ha!). Ultimately, with everything I do, I just want to feel at peace and live with no regrets. 

5. What is your go-to coffee order?

I don’t drink coffee! I’m a huge tea person. I love a good cup of ginger tea and hot chocolate.

6. What, in your opinion, is the biggest problem facing Asian women today?

We are still struggling to have our voices heard and not be minimized, in everything from leadership, to mental health, to marriage. We’ve come a long, long way in allowing South Asian women to have their voices heard, but we’re still not doing enough for them. There’s a lot left to do in balancing out the way we treat Asian men and women. Our emotions are suppressed because they are dismissed as frivolous. It’s easy to brush girls off when they’re younger because it’s easy to write them off as dramatic or emotional, and a lot of women are still looked at that way. My goal is to gradually break that stigma around mental health.

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