As soon as a new year begins, suddenly it can feel as though the world is once again opening up. Budget cuts, careful management of the bottom line both at home and in the workplace, were events of 2010. With a new year has come a new freedom to think bigger, think wider, think more feel, especially as economic crisis of 2008/9 (with its hangover in 2010) is now past.

And so the question arises: how will we see the world in 2011?

On the surface that question prompts an answer of travel to places one dreams of visiting on holiday. Or places to explore for new business opportunities. Thoughts turn to planning the where/when/why/with whom.

The year 2011 is, however, already proving to be about more than that. How we see the world is not about plotting itineraries. It is actually about pausing to look closer, look deeper. Because the world which we have always known is changing, dramatically, ever second of every day, everywhere.

Even in places we thought would always stay the same, because they always have, and there seemed no reason for that to change.

At this very moment the streets of Cairo are filling with protesters demanding a future of freedom, fairness, liberation and life deserved. An echo of events in Tunisia just over a week ago, Cairo may also be the precursor of events elsewhere in the Arab world, where the ground feels like it is shaking. Revolution is turning from noun to verb. In Egypt, in a matter of days a 30 year + government has been shaken at its foundations. The DNA of a nation, and region, is changing, politically, economically, spiritually.

And with it, the way we see the world is changing.

At the same time the nation of South Africa has had its foundations rocked with news of the hospitalisation of President Mandela, “Madiba”, “Tata”. The father of the nation, now 92 years of age, was officially unwell. Across the country over fourty nine million South Africans, along with the rest of the watching world, held their breath and whispered prayers for more time. South Africa and the world were not ready to face the future without the leader of their hearts, their conscience, and their belief in miracles. Thankfully the President left the hospital, mercy allowing him more time. Still, a foreshadow of the imminent new reality was felt. The way South Africans would have to see tomorrow, and see the world, without their beloved Madiba, was changing.

And in Davos, as the leaders of the world’s economies and corporate ambitions gather for the 2011 World Economic Forum, together they work to understand and navigate the “New Reality”. The past three years have shaken the foundations of how we see the world as a place of power, place of presumed security, and presumed financial comfort. But the way we see the world has changed. Profoundly.

With that change has come a shift in where we now look to for inspiration. As shared with CNN’s Richard Quest in an intimate one-on-one interview in Davos, Klaus Schwab, founder of the WEF confesses that the speakers he is most looking forward to hearing from are “the religious leaders whom we have here, not necessarily the politicians. Because if you want to get inspired I think it has to be based on a kind of change of values, (sic), and we need a kind of reform of our classical approach to what we have responsibilities for.”

The way we see the world in 2011, and beyond, is not about where we travel, where we visit. It is not about stories we share about what we have seen.

Instead it is about where we stand, here and now, and how we look at the world differently. The difference is not just in how the world around us reshapes. But how we open our eyes, and minds, and hearts to look at the same sight with different meaning. It may be with greater compassion. It may be with greater understanding. It may be with greater curiosity.

Whatever it is, it is in our hands. And in our eyes.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2011


There is something about the last moments of the last hours of the year. Seconds pass like beats of a drum, their sounds heard and deep vibrations felt across the globe. Each strike of the drum soon represent as a reflection for each and every one of the millions for whom the drum beats, a moment of immense importance which occurred over the twelve months past, moments which for many will define 2010.

The closer we get to calling out “one!” the more the feeling of excitement grows for the year just seconds away from beginning anew. The excitement may be filled with hope, it may be filled with relief, it may be filled with promise, it may be filled with prayer.

And finally, it is here!

May the last seconds of your 2010 tightly and lovingly embrace your first of 2011.

Happy, healthy, heart-smiling New Year!

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010


The occasion of ‘Thanksgiving’, celebrated at the end of November in the USA (October in Canada), has taken on a greater significance this year. Global significance. 2010 has been a year of surprising challenges, surprising stories of triumph, surprising heroes. So much to reflect on, so much to give thanks for, so many heroes to express thanks to.

Heroes are single stars in a dark night’s sky. They make us look up…and they make us look for more stars through the faith they bring with their light.

Most importantly, heroes remind us, clearly and vibrantly, that it’s about so much more than just ‘me’, ‘here’, ‘now’. And that it is for each of us to inspire others to look up. Through acts of goodness, kindness and purpose. Because we can.

CNN’s annual search for ‘Heroes’ once again uncovered a world of truly inspirational, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And in so doing they have re-sparked the night skies:

May 2011 be a year when the word ‘hero’ evolves from noun to verb, from a single star to a glowing constellation, keeping us looking up with fingers pointing to ensure others also see, and feel, their power.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010


October 13th, 2010, the day a miracle occurred, thirty three times.

Following sixty nine days of prayer at a place known as Camp Hope, hope became visible as the Phoenix capsule rose to the surface of sun-parched Chilean ground and the lives of thirty three trapped miners were set free. Thirty three heroes, celebrated one by one by crowds of anxiously waiting family, by heads of national leadership, by teams of medics and media, and by the watching world.

Online, on-air, on the front of newspapers, on mobile handsets…the world held its breath, held its focus and held its hope that each and every miner would re-emerge, hearts beating, healthy. Even now, days on, images of the San Jose mine rescue in Chile continue to fill the world’s airwaves. Stories and scenes of miners celebrating a life re-captured. Celebrating a miracle.

A remarkable time. In Chile, and everywhere else. Today these thirty three miners now stand tall as heroes. But they are heroes not simply for having been trapped down in the mine for over two months. It is because of their enduring determination to live. Through the darkness, both physical and psychological, they looked for the light. As expressed with rawness and realness by miner Mario Sepulveda: “I saw the devil, I saw God. God won!”

Their strength, their spirit, their story, their solidarity now form the DNA of their miracle.

And together, these men and their miracle, fed the world – at a time when feeding was desperately needed.

The past two few years have been exhausting on the spirit of the world. Global economic crisis seeded a global emotional crisis, all at a time when global concerns regarding safety, security and sensibility continue to grow. While technology seeks to bring people closer together, underlying fear of the person unknown continues to push us apart. Differences become defining and dividing.

As a result good news has become a precious, rare commodity. Through our day to day life it can often feel that reasons to believe in the goodness of mankind need to be mined from all that exists to prove otherwise. Increasingly scarce – reasons for the world to connect through a pure spirit and determination, around something positive, something which reminds the world of the priceless value of life, of one more day, of hope.

And then last week, for the first time in a very, very long time, the world was able to come together, quietly and calmly, with one single shared emotion: HOPE.

Hope, a single heartbeat beating softly and patiently deep underground in a Chilean mine, gaining in strength as days of human drama increased in count. Soon the heartbeat began to beat with extraordinary strength, turning the hope of the world into one body, one spirit, one prayer and one joy.

The Phoenix capsule travelling up the Plan B rescue shaft to the waiting world was, in so many ways, a journey up a (re)birth canal. For the miners now rejoicing life, renewing vows, reaffirming faith and repeating prayers of thanks, it was the start of life anew.

For the watching world it was a powerful force which swept across the globe, breaking down borders both political and personal, feeding a vital part of the human spirit.

Most importantly the miracle in Chile was a powerful reminder of a fundamental human truth: sometimes to find hope one has to dig deep…but it is there. And it is waiting to see the sunlight again.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010


As the recent global economic crisis tightened its grip across the globe, the business travel segment found itself grounded. Business trips cancelled, conferences cancelled, incentive trips cancelled, exhibitions downsized, meetings re-e-engineered, hopes for making targets cancelled.

There was simply no budget, no justification, no nerve, no hope. Too many black ink cartridges were being replaced with red. It was a clear situation of black and white – until the crisis was over travel was suspended. There was no grey area.

Understanding the logic, e-alternatives were found. ‘Skype’ became both a noun and verb. Expectations were adjusted around movements of the bottom line and the business cycle. No one was going anywhere.

But making sense of it all did not make it any easier. We are not a generation comfortable with prolonged restrictions to comfort of lifestyle. The crisis of 2008/9, and its hangover of caution throughout 2010, has been the first time such financial strain of this degree has ever been felt by billions across the globe.

But the crisis has not just been financial, it has been emotional. The fear generated by the world’s fastest spreading, widest reaching and deepest penetrating economic shutdown has rattled the spirits of people across the world. A bankruptcy of faith and confidence occurred, causing a crash in the energy required to perform.

And, importantly, a crash in the value of business culture.

The arrival of Q2/2010 has, however, brought with it a return in business confidence levels. And with that a return of people on the move. The seats in the pointy end of the plane are warming up again. As are meeting rooms, conference halls and spirits. Justification of un-suspending spend is now all around. Clearly being grounded hurt business. Now is the time to get back to 35,000ft to get back into the black.

Supporting this hypothesis, a study undertaken by Oxford Economics in 2009 revealed, painfully, that over all the average US business would be forced to lose 17% of profits (28% of revenues) during the first year of suspension of business travel. This loss would require a three year period to recover. Bottom line.

But intuitively businesses across the globe have also known that the losses were not just at a commercial level, they were also at a cultural level. The freezing of budgets which froze internal activity, company conferences in particular, froze spirits.

Which is why visionary leaders, truly holistic leaders who put into practice the adage of ‘our people are our greatest asset’, are remaking commitments and rebooking venues to reconnect their people. Instruction from the C-suite is seeing hundreds of people being removed from their offices, relocated (often at enormous cost and logistical complexity) to places which allow the start of a strong tomorrow to start today.

Importantly, effective conference programme design is not only about sharing business plans and prophecies. Of equal importance, if not greater, is sharing of the process of rebuilding faith, rebuilding a future vision, and rebuilding the fundamental bonds of the organisation.

It is about cultural reconnection. And creating that reconnection may require letting people let go. Safely. It has been a long time of holding one’s breath. Now is the time to exhale deeply. Together.

This process, whether it unlocks laughter, tears or fears, will ultimately unlock the spirits of those present. And in so doing, create an energy of renewal, recovery, rediscovery and release – a release which will raise the level of confidence, conviction and commitment of the company culture.

There can be no greater fuel for future impact, no greater feeling of achievement for a true leader.

This article is dedicated to the courageous leaders across the globe who, with their visionary eyes and open hearts, recognise investment into their people at this fragile, faith-rebuilding, future-redefining time as invaluable.

To you a glass is raised with thanks, with immense respect, and in confident anticipation. Not only do you know the above to be true, you feel it… and you live it.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2010