From the time he was ten, Mentora’s founder, Hitendra Wadhwa, felt a keen hunger to investigate some of the hardest and yet most exhilarating questions in life. Where did I come from? Where will I go, upon death? Is there justice, order, wisdom in the universe? What is my highest potential? How can I forge a connection to not simply my family, community, or nation, or humanity — but to all of life? He gained much clarity by studying the world’s mystic traditions, tapping scriptural wisdom from his father’s bookshelf and having conversations with a community of monks. At seventeen, he seriously considered dropping out of school to become a monk and dedicate himself to deeper truth-seeking. But life had other adventures in store for him. Little did he know then that ideas of soul-force, universal love and cosmic intelligence that lie at the heart of mysticism would be the perfect foundation on which to build, decades later, a fresh, innovative approach to character and leadership development.
Hitendra majored in mathematics at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, where he was recognized as the top mathematics student in Delhi University. Later, he received an MBA and Ph.D. from MIT Sloan, specializing in building mathematical models for solving business problems. He then chose to leave mathematics to pursue management consulting, but mathematics never left him. Our models and methods at Mentora for developing character and leadership are actively informed by the ethos of mathematics — forming precise definitions, reducing ideas to their core essentials, discovering and resolving paradoxes, finding connections across seemingly unrelated domains, and building complex structures from simple elements.
In 2004, after stints in consulting and entrepreneurship, Hitendra arrived to teach at Columbia Business School. On weekdays, he would teach classes on Marketing, and on Strategy Consulting Skills. In the evenings, and on weekends and holidays, he went around the country connecting and collaborating with leading psychologists like Dr. Carol Dweck and psychotherapists like Dr. David Burns and Dr. Dan Siegel. His goal was to translate the frontiers of science into a practical pathway to success that merged life with leadership, insight with inspiration, principles with practice, science with spirituality, profit with purpose, inner with outer, and East with West. He launched this as a class called Personal Leadership & Success (PLS) in 2008. Within a few years, PLS became wildly oversubscribed, winning him the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Columbia, and gaining critical acclaim in leading media.
From this work, in 2011, Mentora Institute was born.
Mentora’s principles and tools have continued to advance in the years since our founding, culminating in Hitendra’s critically acclaimed book, Inner Mastery, Outer Impact, and the imminent launch of Mentora LiFT, a platform for sparking performance breakthroughs in the flow of life and work. With each passing year, the path we have designed to developing character and leadership and advancing humanity has become more complete, more intuitive, and more personalized. And by now, over 10,000 executives, students, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and formerly incarcerated citizens from over 50 countries have taken the Inner Mastery, Outer Impact journey with us.