“For 100 years of travel to 100 destinations, we’ve led our business and our people through crisis after crisis through world wars, terrorism, financial collapse, severe weather events and more. The Call to Leadership is a fresh must-read, and a masterpiece of what made great leaders during the biggest of all crises of our generation – the global Covid pandemic. Anita Mendiratta weaves new perspectives on leaders who see light through darkness and make decisions with zero visibility on the horizon as billions of people in all countries faced an epic life crisis. Honest, emotional, and very personal accounts provide lessons for all leaders in all sectors. Travel connects people in ways no other industry can – we are grateful to our 21st century leaders. “

– Robin Tauck, Co-Owner and former President, Tauck Inc

The Call to Leadership will be known as one of the most significant books to be written about the Covid-19 Pandemic. The book sets the context and lays out the gravity of the events leading up to and during the crisis and then both scientifically and artfully examines the human response to the crisis and why some leaders were able to stand up, stand out and lead despite the odds. Through this book Anita Mendiratta exposes the inner workings of the minds of a group of exceptional leaders but more than that she gains a rare insight into their hearts and humanity. This is not just a book about the Covid 19 pandemic but is a really important book to truly understand leadership.”

– Velma Corcoran, Regional Lead, Middle East and Africa – AIRBNB

“Anita’s The Call To Leadership is an absolute masterpiece, offering a brilliant distillation of real-world crisis management experiences on a global scale. Through twenty powerful lessons of courage and leadership, the book concludes with a compelling formula for how leaders in both business and politics should approach crises: providing comfort and confidence to stakeholders while boldly charging ahead, safeguarding lives, livelihoods, and institutions. This remarkable book is a must-read for anyone eager to explore the science, art, and unbridled enthusiastic and determined leadership. I am thrilled to incorporate this exceptional work into my next university business management curriculum for my students, where it will undoubtedly inspire and empower the next generation of leaders.”

– Ibrahim K Osta, Senior Advisor, Economic Growth & Trade, Chemonics International

“In The Call to Leadership Anita Mendiratta vividly captures the economic and mission-critical upheaval brought about by the Covid pandemic and showcases how a subset of leaders in the hospitality and travel spaces winningly dealt with the challenges. Covid ruthlessly murdered traditional ways of doing business, and those with the skills, nimbleness, integrity, and conviction led their teams to do the right things, emerging on the other side better for the ordeal, more efficient, more consumer-oriented, heathier, and happier. Through the lenses of 20 leadership journeys, with all the dizzying uncertainties and agonizing downs, with honesty and passion these vanguards blazed trails through the darkest woods to the beaches of success.

The toughest thing in a crisis is to maintain the core culture and values of the company or organization, and these candid accounts are examples of how it can be done. It is not enough to be smart or well-intentioned; sustained success through extraordinary times requires clarity, a readiness to take risks, the will to innovate, and the resolve to make the hard decisions.

The case studies within these pages share some of the key secrets for navigating the complexities and perplexities of extreme threats, and the lessons conveyed have never been more relevant. For every generation of leaders this book is not just recommended reading, it is required.”

– Richard Bangs, Celebrated American travel author, broadcaster, producer and innovator. Founding partner of MT Sobek, and founding executive team

“This book represents a chapter of our lives which will mean very different things to different people. Anita captures this period so well, the different impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on different parts of society, how it impacted on individuals and most importantly, so well described by the title of the book, the positive leadership qualities displayed by a number of respected world figures who helped get us through the crisis. I love a book I can read at different levels and different speeds – the rapid scan through the book, dipping in and out, drawing out key quotes and slogans in a most enjoyable and inspiring way followed by a more thorough detailed read providing new insights and commentary from both Anita and her chosen world business leaders and confidantes. Having worked with Anita at various points through the crisis I have seen first-hand her own inspirational leadership style; she has a most beautiful technique which puts people at ease and brings out the key thoughts from individuals in a most natural and trusting way. I thoroughly recommend this book to all.”

– Professor Sir Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace – School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University

“For all of us in tourism, our clocks stopped in March 2020. Our lives were turned upside down. Nobody had the answers. We were all feeling our way in the dark. ‘The Call to Leadership’ expertly tells the Covid – 19 story through the lens of twenty industry leaders. Anita Mendiratta has superbly unpicked the character and characters of these global players in tourism. This is an essential read for anyone seeking to understand how leaders listen, consult, adapt, change and above all support people through a crisis. “

Niall Gibbons, Head of Tourism – NEOM, Former CEO – Tourism Ireland

“The Call to Leadership, brings together the stories and lessons learned from many of these exceptional individuals. While the biggest crisis in the history of our sector looms large, the stories also focus on the personal experiences of all of those leaders, myself included. They speak of doubts, but also optimism and hope. And in this way these stories offer a valuable insight into not only what decisions were taken, but why they were taken, what that means for the future of the sector we are all so fortunate to work in, and how we can make these lessons a part of tourism education. I extend my deepest appreciation to Anita for ensuring that lessons learned are not lost. I have every confidence that 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, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

The Call To Leadership: Unlocking The Leader Within In Times Of Crisis by Anita Mendiratta is a timely and excellent exploration into the world of leadership amidst the unprecedented challenges presented by crises, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. Mendiratta, in her warm and engaging manner, creates a platform where the experiences of the interviewed leaders are displayed and analysed, providing great insight into leadership in tough times. The crafted meticulously dialogues offer a balance between the humane aspects of leading during hardship and the pragmatic strategies employed. They also offer readers a deep dive into the multifaceted experiences and strategies employed by leaders from businesses in navigating the tumultuous waters during trying times.

I have enjoyed reading this book and congratulate Anita Mendiratta on her rich insights from her own experience and understanding of leadership, by weaving together the narratives of leaders who have not only weathered storms but also successfully steered their organisations toward stability and growth amidst chaos. A key strength of the book lies in its diverse range of voices, presenting a holistic view of leadership that transcends industry-specific challenges. From leaders in the healthcare sector, grappling directly with the pandemic, to those in the travel and hospitality industries, navigating the economic and operational upheavals, Mendiratta brings forth a chorus of wisdom, resilience, and innovation.

When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity. It is evident from the interviews, the Covid crisis presented the opportunity for courageous and resilient leaders. The notion of “the Call
to Leadership” could not be more eloquently illustrated by Mendiratta skilful interviewing and writing. Steven Thulon once said “Conflict builds character. Crisis defines it.” This is very true. In times of crisis, leaders must connect, motivate, and inspire others, and show true compassion. Humility and responsibility are key values that make the difference. The leaders interviewed in this book have certainly demonstrated these qualities.

I have found the leaders’ nuanced approach to exploring the emotional and strategic dimensions of leading during a crisis fascinating. Mendiratta does not merely glorify the triumphs but also delves into the struggles, the doubts, and the failures experienced by some of the leaders. The book imparts a message of endurance, adaptability, and the transformative power of empathetic leadership. The stories of leaders attuned to the needs of their teams, demonstrating vulnerability, and forging paths through uncharted territories with a blend of courage and caution resonate well with me as a leader of a large university.

I highly recommend The Call To Leadership to all leaders and aspiring leaders, as a valuable resource on leadership insights. It serves as a testament to the indomitable spirit of leaders who, through introspection and strategic acumen, navigate through upheavals,
thereby unlocking not just their potential but also enabling their organisations to emerge strong from the throes of crisis, and position well for future successes.”

– Professor Max Lu AO DL, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey, UK