Home: Orlando, FL. Age: Almost 50. Birthplace: New Delhi, India. Profession: Travel, tourism and hospitality. Organization: Travel + Leisure. Title: Senior Vice President, Global Brands. Significant other: Hans Hanegreefs. My husband, my biggest critic and my most loyal friend for nearly three decades. Alma mater: University of Oxford, Said Business School. Languages spoken: English, Dutch, Hindi and French (intermediate).
Current projects: Rebranding and the launch of Wyndham Destinations as Travel + Leisure; launch of Travel + Leisure Club & Subscription business segment; designing a new Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition for Travel + Leisure. Recent professional development: Joined Travel + Leisure Global Diversity & Inclusion Council. Latest accomplishment: Acquisition, rebranding and launch of Travel + Leisure. Latest contribution to others: Sponsor our Scholars, Orlando, Florida. Private career mentorship to young female talent. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Moving from Europe to the U.S. during a global pandemic. Designing and launching Travel + Leisure’s new identity in the USA, from a different continent. Onboarding into my new role as the SVP of Global Brands entirely on Zoom. Hobbies: Travel, travel, travel. Also, reading, dining and yoga. Recent travel or adventure: St. Petersburg, Florida. Impressive. Last book read: Orbiting the Giant Hairball, by Gordon MacKenzie. Recently viewed and recommended: How to Change Your Mind (Netflix). Recent unique acquisition: Redesigning my Global Brands team with top talent.
Personality profile: Those who tell stories rule the world! I am a storyteller. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Elegant. Moral compass: Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. How do you define a perfect friendship? Joy. Trust. Honesty. How do you define an ideal business relationship? Just exactly the same. Also, “And/And” not “And/Or”. What is your greatest joy? Laughing until I cry. What is your greatest fear? Lizards (yes, I live in Florida) and drowning. What is your guilty pleasure? Champagne. What word or phrase do you use far too often? Are you serious? What natural talent have you neglected? Dancing. What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Dancers. What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? On food and wine. What is at the top of your bucket list? Japan and Cuba. How do you relieve stress? Meditation, yoga and laughter.
What was your first paying job? Collection manager for a fashion designer. What was your favorite college course? Art. What was your favorite childhood toy or game? LEGO. What book have you repeatedly read? The Book of Joy, by the 14th Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. What movie have you repeatedly watched? Out of Africa. What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Buddha or Peacock. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? My husband, Hans Hanegreefs. What’s the best advice you received growing up? Smile is a curve that sets everything right. What’s the best advice you received in your career? Do it or get out of the way. What is your favorite app? Blinkist. What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Trendhunter. The Drum. Medium. What company or organization do you most admire? Tesla. What world event has had the greatest influence on your life? Indira Gandhi becoming the first female prime minister of India, the world’s largest democracy, which inspired me to dream bigger. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? The sudden passing away of my mother.
What is your big idea? Create brands that connect with people in an authentic way. What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Redesigning, Brand & Communication strategy to reposition Travel + Leisure beyond its identity as a magazine publisher to that of a leading voice in leisure travel industry. What change would you like to see in the world? Equality for all. What message do you want to send out into the world? Enjoy the ride. What widely held belief do you reject? It can’t be done. What mega-trend most excites you? Self-discovery through travel; consciousness over abundance. What mega-trend most concerns you? The lack of ethical standards and accountability in the online world.
What title would you choose for the movie about your life? The Third Door. What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Meryl Streep or Freida Pinto. Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A doctor. After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My Shiva statue. How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? On the beaches of Goa, India or in the desert of Rajasthan, with my family, doing nothing. What advice would you give your younger self? You can have it all, just not all at the same time. What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? 2018, the year my mother passed away.
Personal mission: Make that change. Personal motto: A little at a time becomes a lot with time. Favorite quote: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” (Maya Angelou). Desired epitaph: Never complain. Never explain.