Anita Mendiratta: a journey of connection and inspiration.

By   Zoila Marenco 5 min read

Anita Mendiratta is a globally respected strategic advisor, author, diplomat, speaker and on-air/stage personality. With 20+ years of professional experience across over 100 countries, Anita is regarded as an authority in Tourism & Development, with an innate ability to feel the ‘heartbeat’ of nations. Her latest book, The Call to Leadership: Unlocking the Leader Within in Times of Crisis, includes exclusive interviews with twenty C-suite leaders, whose raw reflections offer invaluable insight into how one can control and navigate one’s own personal or professional crises, emerging stronger on the other side.

Q1. Could you share with us a bit about your background and how you established your profession?

Once upon a time, when I was only a baby, my career in Tourism and Development began. Having been born and raised in Canada as a child of Indian descent, this heritage meant regular travels to India to visit extended family, a pattern which naturally extended my exposure to and understanding of different people, places and perspectives. Magnification of my understanding of the world grew being a ‘Rotary daughter’ – my father being a lifelong leader within Rotary International. Serendipity and a series of international professional moves through global blue-chip firms including IBM, Coca-Cola and Unilever embedded within me an acute awareness of opportunities, as well as challenges, faced by entities and individuals when trying to make critical connections country to country, culture to culture, company to company. This lens on the world ultimately evolved into the establishment of my own (now London based) consulting firm over twenty years ago to support leaders in governments and businesses seeking to make an impact.

Q2. Were there any women who inspired you to enter your industry?

One of the most powerful influences on my business, and dare I say its success, was the embedding of an aspect of its DNA that was not overtly taught to me, but naturally and beautifully demonstrated. It came through a woman who remains an enduring source of example and true inspiration of heart: the late Pam Golding, one of South Africa’s, and the world’s, most successful property developers. WHAT she did in building her property group empire was remarkable. But that alone was not what so inspired me. It was her HOW. As strong and powerful as she was as a business icon, she was always, always a lady. She was always respectful, graceful, grateful and deeply connecting. Part of my relationship with her was being a consultant to her business, as well as writing her speeches, articles and also exploring authoring her memoirs.

Through Pam I found my writing inspiration and voice. I also discovered my ability to carefully and effectively access the minds and hearts of the people about whom I was writing. Thereafter, through years of professional writing in different forms across the spectrum of strategies, reports, articles, features, speeches, my love of writing grew in parallel to my love of capturing the stories of others. This became especially true for those whose stories were unknown as a result of modesty and duty, and yet so needing to be revealed as a source of invaluable learning and inspiration for others. Thankfully, to me they spoke freely, richly, trustingly.

Anita Mendiratta The Call To Leadership Book

Q3. Could you tell us a bit about your journey as a writer? What inspired you to write your book?

The Call to Leadership: Unlocking the Leader Within in Times of Crisis (, released globally late 2023, is a book project that was, in truth, a calling to me. Long story short, in early 2020 as the world began to shut down as a result of the speed of spread and severity of COVID-19, my professional role as a global advisor to Tourism leaders in government and business took on a critical shift – becoming a trusted advisor guiding these same leaders in their leading sustainable recovery of our industry that had been decimated by the pandemic: global Travel, Tourism and Aviation. Seeing (and feeling) first-hand the exceptional demands of leaders through crisis, I could not let the days, months and years that we as a global community spent at the mercy of COVID-19 pass without pausing to honour what we have all lived through, to celebrate the ability to persevere and overcome and to salute those who guided us through. And so I reached out to a world of leaders at the highest levels of government and big business, who I am privileged to know personally as colleagues, as clients, as friends. And they knew me – they knew I ‘saw’ them beyond their business cards, beyond their spheres of influence, beyond their operating stature. They knew I would hear their hearts, not just their voices, when I asked the hard questions. And they wanted to answer those hard questions, being brutally honest about what it really took to find and sustain the faith, focus, motivation, confidence, support and connections at all levels that they needed to lead in the hardest of times. Their never-heard-before stories, reflections and revelations enable us all to learn how we can understand, control and even navigate our own ability to face a crisis – any crisis, be it personal or professional, individual or collective – and come through safer, stronger and even stronger for others. The findings are remarkable, emotionally raw and rigorous as an intense study of leadership.

Q4. Did you encounter any challenges while writing your book and if so, how did you overcome them?

The process of authoring was not easy. By implication it demanded a high degree of commitment, discipline and determination. It demanded careful planning, research, analysis and synthesis. It pushed my way of working, thinking, hearing and feeling. Critically, it pushed my pace of development – it had to be complete, from structure, manuscript development (14 versions in total), review by first editors, selection of publisher, second editor review, finalisation in formats (hard copy, digital, audio) within 18 months to successfully honour the task, the context and the leaders who shared their stories. Delivery was a self-imposed, enduring demand, as if I were to respond to my calling.

Anita Mendiratta The Call To Leadership Book

Q5. What advice would you give to aspiring female authors who are just starting their writing journey?

For anyone courageous enough to become an author, especially women, I humbly offer these words of sincere encouragement. At a practical level, please never, ever, ever go to print until the audiobook is recorded! Why? Because it is in the studio, reading every single word, that the tiniest of errors become apparent – duplications, disconnects of logic, details unseen as we become too close to the text to notice the tiny touches needing final polishing.

That said, at a philosophical level, please never forget one vital truth: words are powerful forces of energy and impact. They unlock imagination, creation, connection and emotion. To capture your words in a way that has the ability to guide, influence and inspire others in a positive way is a great gift as well as a great responsibility. Allow not only your smartest thoughts, but your sincerest intentions and deepest emotions, to shape and guide your voice as an author so that a meaningful connection can be made – your voice heard, your duty fulfilled.

Zoila Marenco
Zoila Marenco
Zoila has five years of experience in client management. She transitioned from working in an organisation offering talent management services to a tech startup specialising in behavioural change in teams. Her experience with clients and communities prompted her move to marketing, taking on the role of a community manager to help Whitefox build, expand and oversee online communities.