A seasoned hospitality Brand Marketing and Communications specialist, with nearly 3 decades of rich and varied experience, Anjali Mehra is the Chief Brand Officer and Senior Vice President Marketing, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
In her role, Anjali is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic Marketing and Communication roadmap and an ongoing strategy to strengthen and enhance the positioning of The Leela brand as an epitome of true Indian luxury, not just within India but internationally. Having worked over the years on key luxury brands like St. Regis, W Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, The Luxury Collection, Bulgari, EDITION, across the world and Taj Hotels, Anjali has developed a keen understanding of nuanced luxury and the evolving expectations of today’s diverse luxury consumer. During her tenure, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has been awarded the World’s Best Brand by Travel and Leisure USA 2020 and 2021, for two consecutive years, a testament to the positioning the brand enjoys with the discerning global luxury traveler.
A brand evangelist accomplished in devising integrated Marketing and Communications strategies, she has launched and repositioned brands especially in challenging, new and emerging markets. A passionate storyteller, versatile in articulating messaging for diverse audiences, she has successfully built the corporate profile of the companies she has worked for, differentiating, and strengthening the brand positioning and driving awareness and visibility through strategic, timely and effective Marketing and Communication strategies. Having worked across geographies, Anjali has developed a good understanding of the media landscape and dynamics and has nurtured strong media and influencer relationships across key media markets.
At The Leela she has spearheaded the launch of many new initiatives and brand programs including the launch of a new immersive website, the brand’s signature fragrance Tishya by The Leela and the brand’s holistic wellness program, Aujasya by The Leela built around the two pillars Restore (food and nutrition) and Renew (Mindfulness). Both these programs have been extremely well received. With industry first campaigns like Icons of India by The Leela and #PoloInThePinkCity, a partnership with Jaipur Literature Festival and India Art Fair, she has not only successfully showcased the power of collaboration and strategic association in brand building but also shown how a brand can connect with their target audience through their passions and build strong emotional connections that drive brand preference. Through creative storytelling, strategic brand communications and high impact activations, she has helped differentiate and position The Leela brand as a leading luxury hotel brand.
A champion of equity in the workplace, the brand’s recent campaign #LeelaEmpowers her celebrates the achievements of women within the organization and beyond by collaborating with organizations that are nurturing and providing employment to women. A couple of months ago the brand introduced ‘Shefs at The Leela’, a unique and innovative concept to celebrate women chefs. Shefs at The Leela was conceived as a platform to promote equity in the kitchens. It provides an opportunity for talented women chefs who have carved a niche for themselves to share their journey and showcase their talent through curated dinners, panel discussions, and special masterclasses to inspire young and budding women chefs. What started as an idea has gathered momentum with almost every hotel brand today promoting women chefs. Kudos to The Leela for taking the lead and showing the industry the way.
Today the brand is well poised to embrace the next new phase of its journey with many new initiatives and plans to be rolled out.
She started her career in aviation and held several leadership positions in airline operations before finding her true calling in hotels. She has also worked for well-known hospitality brands including Taj Hotels and Hilton.
Anjali joined Starwood Hotels in 2009, where she spearheaded the Marketing and Communications strategies for Starwood Hotels and its brands in South Asia, including India, Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan. She played a key role in launching new brands into these very well established and highly competitive yet strategically important markets, leveraging media relationships and forging strategic partnerships with high impact brand marketing and communication executions.
Prior to joining The Leela, Anjali was Senior Director Communications, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, a role she assumed post the merger of Starwood Hotels with Marriott International in 2017. Having worked across some very volatile markets, she honed her skills in crisis communications and reputation management, navigating some extremely challenging geographies and situations.
Anjali is a Postgraduate in English Literature from Delhi University and holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication as well as a Business Management Degree with specialization in Marketing. She has been an Executive Board Member of Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) and a jury member for the MEPRA Awards. Passionate about nurturing talent she has actively mentored both aspiring female leaders as well as helped luxury General Managers hone their skills in personal branding. She was also the Vice President for WICCI Council for Digital Marketing and PR. She has also been featured in LuxeBook’s 50 most influential women 2021 and 2022. Recently she has been featured in Social Samosa’s list of women brand leaders recognized for their achievements in building the brand narratives for the brands they work for.
Anjali enjoys travelling and exploring new cultures, is an avid reader, loves writing and trend watching and calls herself an experimental Instagrammer.
Married to a pilot, Anjali is a mother of two children.