Lessons On Leadership: Panchali Mahendra, President, Atelier House Hospitality Panchali Mahendra reflects on what she considers to be one of the most important things she has learnt about leadership.

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Atelier House Hospitality

It was in November 2022 that Panchali Mahendra, who was, until then, the Managing Director for the award-winning UAE-based F&B group, Atelier House Hospitality, was promoted to her current role as its President. In a statement announcing Mahendra's new position, Ahmass Fakahany, founder and CEO of Atelier House Hospitality, commended her for leading the enterprise (which has award-winning F&B concepts like 11 Woodfire, Mohalla, RSVP, and others in its portfolio) to gain a firm foothold in the region, saying, "We started with an idea, and a lot of courage, and Panchali turned that dream into reality."

That proclamation by Fakahany kind of says it all when it comes to the kind of leadership that Mahendra has exhibited in her career so far, which has seen her work (and excel) in the F&B space for more than 19 years now. Add to that the fact that Mahendra is one of the few female figures to be seen in leadership roles in the F&B arena of the UAE and the wider region, and that only adds to the reasons that make her a role model for women hoping to make it big in this sector. But what of Mahendra herself- who has been her source of inspiration? "The most remarkable instance of true leadership that I have witnessed is exemplified by my mother, who holds a directorial position at a prestigious university in India," Mahendra replies. "She has been a tremendous source of inspiration for me, emphasizing the importance of staying focused on goals, while remaining adaptable, persistent, and hardworking. Observing her ability to maintain clarity amid uncontrollable chaos has motivated me to strive for a similar trait within myself." Now, that's a trait that is certain to serve Mahendra well as Atelier House Hospitality gets set for a whole new stage of growth- but more about that when the company is ready to make those announcement(s). Watch this space!

Panchali Mahendra reflects on what she considers to be one of the most important things she has learnt about leadership.

"The most significant leadership lesson that I have personally acquired during my years in the business realm is the understanding that no task is menial. I strongly embrace the idea that 'dirty hands are a sign of clean business,' and I make it a point to be actively involved in various aspects of the business. This hands-on approach has provided me with extraordinary insights and opportunities for learning. I owe this valuable lesson to my mentor and the founder of Atelier House Hospitality, Ahmass Fakahany."

Related: Lessons On Leadership: Smita Prabhakar, Founder And Director, AMS International

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

Related Topics

Business News

Here's the Secret to Growing Your Small Business, According to Execs at UPS, Airbnb, Mastercard, and Other Big Brands

These 10 executives work at big companies, overseeing programs that help small business. Here's the advice they wish all small business owners were getting.

Growing a Business

10 AI Tools That You Should Be Using In Your Business This Year

Here are 10 AI tools that you can be using today to help increase productivity and hopefully profits.


How to Actually Show Up in Your Personal and Professional Life

Showing up to maintain good habits means you consistently do what you can. That doesn't mean always — It means regularly.


If You Want to Be an Industry Leader, Be an Industry Innovator. Here's How to Inspire Innovation in Your Business.

Innovation isn't just about making something new; it's about improving something.


How to Master Decision-Making in a World Full of Options

Use these seven practical strategies to make more effective business choices.


UAE-Born Palmade Is An Example Of How Family Businesses Can Lead The Sustainability Wave The World Needs Today

An Emirati entrepreneur and a family business next-gen discuss the inherent strengths of family businesses in leading the battle against climate change.