Our leadership team has been carefully composed to ensure that their experience, expertise, energy and values are perfectly aligned with the core purpose of the Anita Mendiratta Foundation. Making promises to those in need is not enough – it’s about making meaningful, sustainable impact.

Board of Trustees

Anita Mendiratta


A globally recognised and respected Tourism, Aviation and Development practitioner, author, diplomat, Anita Mendiratta is the Founder and President of ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates, a London-based international consulting firm. Working closely with the United Nations and a portfolio of other global entities at the forefront of international development, Anita possesses over two decades working closely with leaders in governments, businesses, and international organisations.

A ‘Rotary daughter’, Anita is admired for having an innate ability to feel the ‘heartbeat’ behind the economic, social, political and environmental dynamics of nations.

Simon Walsh


Simon is a Partner at OC Solicitors.  His primary focus is Corporate and Commercial Law, however he is also across the key aspects of Employment Law and the UK’s Immigration Law landscape.

Simon has extensive commercial and corporate experience coupled with first-hand knowledge of operating in a variety of regions (including Australia, Middle East, France and Northern Africa).

cheryl james-ward


Dr. Cheryl James-Ward has more than 25 years dedicated to public education as a teacher, professor and an educational leader. 

Dr. Cheryl James-Ward is a former NASA engineer and tenured professor at San Diego State University, Department of Educational Leadership where she taught school leaders and aspiring administrators. 

alan elliott merschen

Alan Elliott is the founder of SIGMUND – the first of its kind, not-for-profit free open-source platform for global innovators in tourism. SIGMUND promotes the sharing of creative ideas with potential collaborators.

While originally starting his career in academia, Merschen started consulting projects for a variety of industries. This is when he discovered it was the travel and tourism industry that captivated his real interest.  Merschen created Myriad Travel Marketing, specializing exclusively in the international travel industry with private clients and governments on five continents. For over 30 years, Merschen developed strategic solutions to client challenges, creating industry partnerships, research projects and global solutions. In 2016 Myriad became part of MMGY Global portfolio of companies.

Merschen also serves on several non-profit and start-up advisory boards.  Always the educator, he still conducts marketing presentations throughout the world.

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Project Leads

grace towler


In her role as Co-Lead of Global Projects, Grace works closely with the team at AMF to ensure smooth, seamless, strategically grounded, operationally monitored day-to-day operations of AMF.

Her strengths in AMF managmenet of Foundation process and management of projects is greatly enhanced as a result of her parallel role heading Finance and Business Development at ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates where Grace takes responsibility for industry intelligence, financial management and business activity coordination. An educator by training, Grace has an innate understanding of the importance of access to education to the safety, stability and wellbeing of children of all ages, and therefore the damaging impact of crisis on their development.

jessica zijlstra


As Co-Lead of Global Projects for AMF, Jessica works closely with the AMF team to ensure the highest level of productivity and proactivity in daily operations aligned to the unique governance and guidelines required of Foundations.

Importantly, Jessica brings to her role at AMF the experience and expertise she possesses as Head of Marketing and Business Development for ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates where Jessica is responsible for creative development. This includes, amongst other things, crafting bespoke video content ideation and execution, digital marketing, social campaigns.

Her experience in, and passion for, the Travel & Tourism industry as both a traveler and travel writer underpins her appreciation of the importance of tourism to communities – both the visited and the visitors.

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Advisory Members



To strengthen the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of AMF’s response to global crises, AMF is delighted to have the global development experience and expertise of Geoff.

As Foundation Advisor and Rotary International Relationship Manager, he is an integral part of mobilising and monitoring on-the-ground operational processes for AMF, especially at the outset of project and partner identification. Alongside his background in education, Geoff has a lifetime of experience working with Rotary International, rising globally to positions including District Governor of Rotary District 1070 and Former RIBI Humanitarian Service Coordinator.

In addition to working on projects in developing countries across the globe, he has spent considerable time living and working in Africa, affording him the opportunity to absorb the culture and understand the needs of the communities and the children. His depth and breadth of experience is invaluable to the Foundation’s development of impactful local partnerships that truly unlock hope, stability and enduring productivity in communities.

Will you join us?