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Book Release: THE CALL TO LEADERSHIP Unlocking the Leader Within In Times of Crisis-Anita Mendiratta

Why is it that when a crisis occurs some leaders immediately, instinctively step up and lead, as though hearing a calling? Are they just wired that way, born to lead? Or do core moments in life impact their ability to face a crisis, putting them on a path to extraordinary leadership?

THE CALL TO LEADERSHIP: Unlocking the Leader Within In Times of Crisis focuses on the personal leadership journey when facing a time of crisis. But not purely the technical aspects of leadership in crisis. It goes deeper than that, deep into the hearts and minds of global leaders of the highest levels, and how they dealt with leading in one the hardest times in all our lives: the COVID pandemic.

Through up-close-and-personal interviews, 20 C-Suite leaders from across the global Travel, Tourism & Aviation ecosystem share their unique, intimate perspectives on stepping forward to lead through a time when the world was literally grounded - a time we can all relate to as we were all kept away from loved ones and livelihoods for a length of time never seen before in our lifetimes. 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 - be it personal or professional - and come through safer, stronger, and even stronger for others. The findings are remarkable, emotionally raw, and rigorous as a study of exceptional leadership.

No book has examined so deeply and closely the impact of a major crisis (in this case COVID-19) on:

  • The travel & tourism industry which the global population relies on

  • Leaders - having to lead through a serious, never seen before, 2+yr sustained crisis

  • Followers – staff/stakeholders/families/communities having to remain hopeful while being isolated

  • Ways of using a crisis as a way of strengthening one’s own personal strength as well as that of the people around them

And no author has been given such:

  • Direct access to some of the highest level, highest profile, yet extremely private leaders across the globe, including o Willie Walsh - Director General, International Air Transport Association (IATA)

  • Julia Simpson - President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

  • Paul Griffiths - CEO, Dubai Airports Authority (DAA)

  • Puneet Chhatwal - CEO, India Hotels Company Limited (IHCL)

  • Exposure to the most intimate thoughts, struggles, hopes and past challenges of these leaders

Uniquely, the book captures lessons learnt from COVID-19, making it a valuable tool in:

  • Understanding of the imperatives of effective crisis leadership,

  • Identifying specific behaviours key to getting oneself, and others, through a crisis,

  • Understanding and aiding mental health impacts of crisis in the workplace, at every level right from the top down.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to Anita for ensuring that lessons learned are not lost. This book will inspire and empower leaders around the world to answer their call to leadership, while at the same time inspiring global youth, enabling a stronger and more resilient future not just for tourism but for humanity.” - ZURAB POLOLIKASHVILI, SECRETARY GENERAL, WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION (UNWTO), UNITED NATIONS

About the Author

ANITA MENDIRATTA is a globally recognised authority in Tourism & Development, respected as a strategic advisor, author, diplomat, speaker and on-air/stage personality. Born in Canada with 25+ years of professional experience across over 100 countries she is credited for having an innate ability to feel the ‘heartbeat’ of nations - economically, socially, politically, culturally and environmentally. From the beginning of 2020, through her London-based international consulting firm ANITA MENDIRATTA & ASSOCIATES (, Anita took on the critical role of trusted advisor, guiding leaders and educators in the sustainable recovery of global Travel, Tourism and Aviation in a post-COVID world. Her observations of, and support for, global leaders inspired her to author her latest book: THE CALL TO LEADERSHIP: UNLOCKING THE LEADER WITHIN IN TIMES OF CRISIS ( She also holds several industry leadership positions including Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Strategic Advisor to CNN International, Visiting Professor at Cranfield University, and Executive In Residence at University of Surrey. Her accolades include one of the ‘Most Innovative Women Leaders Inspiring the World’ in 2022, and ‘Top 25 Inspirational Executives in Travel/Hospitality’ in 2023. Determined to make a positive impact beyond the work of her firm, her UK-registered charity The Anita Mendiratta Foundation ( works to restore early childhood education in tourism-based economies and communities around the globe suffering from crisis.

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