This week we sit down with humanitarian and social activist Meera Gandhi. Meera is the CEO and founder of The Giving Back Foundation, an organisation dedicated to assisting and educating women and children, particularly those caught in the throes of illness, poverty and suffering. Meera shares her Giving Back philosophy as well as those who have inspired her to become an influential woman working to better the lives of others.
Meera Gandhi with Mira Nair at the Woodstock Film Festival and British fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel
One word that describes you?
In your own words, what do you do?
I walk into situations and lives and try my utmost to leave them in a better place.
Who is your greatest influence in your career/life?
My mother Ellen Mary McCarthy Agarwal, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary Clinton and Cherie Blair.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Being in touch with so many people who I might have never had the opportunity to meet. My life is so enriched by that.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It’s very hard to decide who deserves and who does not. To me, every person’s need is unique and should try to be met.
What is your greatest achievement?
Raising my three children Kiran, Kanika and Kabir.
What was your Plan B?
Nothing really. I was never particularly ambitious.
What is your most prized possession?
Today, it would be my legacy home in NYC that was the former home of Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt who touched the lives of so many people.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Never underestimate anyone!
Meera with her son, Kabir and Mrs. Chatwal at Children’s Hope event, Indi
Please complete the sentence… I could not live without…
I could not live without…..my blackberry!
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I think Eleanor Roosevelt as I live in her home and wonder about many things, some even logistical!
Sustainability and consumption are two words you will hardly find in the same sentence – which brands do you think are good quality and are doing their bit for people and the planet?
I have always loved Newman as he was the original – Gucci is doing great work as is Toms!
Do you support a charity or cause?
Both – there is no cause that can last without the support of charity and kindness of others and no amount of charitable work is any use if it does not go to support a cause.
What’s on your Xmas wish-list?
My kids, my parents and my brother and sister and their families all under one roof. Global living has made this harder and harder.
What is your personal luxury?
Taking a long bath without someone needing me.
What steps do you take to make your life more positive?
I know very well now that ‘we are to the universe only as much as we give back to it’ and living my life each day to this motto makes it very positive!