Brightness Mangolothi inspires with motivational talk

I’ve attended many motivational and leadership events over the course of my working life and sometimes feel like they have nothing new to offer. A guest talk that Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) recently organised with Brightness Mangolothi, a Director/CEO at Higher Education Resource Service – South Africa (HERS-SA), did nonetheless surpass my expectations on many levels. 

Before I talk about what she covered in the session, it’s important to comment on Brightness as a person and the way she made me feel. Her vivacity, presence and warm smile are infectious and she instantly put me at ease. It reminded me of a quote by Maya Angelou, poet and civil rights activist:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Brightness made everyone in the room feel like individuals, like they mattered and were special. The content of her talk further reinforced this by focusing on the approach of self-care, self-love and ‘putting on your own oxygen mask first’. 

What was also refreshing was the exploration of the different types of ‘Qs’ (quotients). We’ve all heard of IQ (intellectual), and the term EQ (emotional) is now quite ubiquitous in the workplace. However, AQ (adversity), SQ (spiritual) and DQ (digital) were relatively new concepts for me.  

These quotients, particularly DQ, really resonated with me in terms of my personal areas of development to focus on. They also have significance in the 21st century workplace, which is why GHWY’s Uni Connect programme is delivering an event this year for young people aimed at raising their awareness of digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills in the workplace and in higher education called ‘Go Higher in Digital and AI’. 

Another key theme of the talk was the importance Brightness placed on workplace culture, encouraging employees to rightly challenge workplace toxicity and unhealthy personal/professional relationships such as workplace bullying and presenteeism.  

At GHWY, we work really hard to create a culture that is collegiate, supportive and welcoming. How do we do this? Through our comprehensive CPD programme, communications that celebrate our successes, and regular team meetings, among other things. Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and staff well-being are embedded, where possible, in our culture. For example, EDI and staff well-being are standard agenda items on our GHWY meetings and we organise regular social activities that generally involve cake!  

We are also committed to constantly challenging and improving our practices, processes and delivery to ensure the young people we serve (using Brightness’s terminology) receive the best possible experience and support through GHWY and our amazing staff. For example, we have worked really hard recently to further improve and strengthen our Attainment Raising Programme ‘Think and Go Higher’ for learners. The programme is now showcased and shared on our dedicated webpage so as many learners can benefit as possible. 

Going back to the Mary Angelou quote, how did we feel at the end of the session? Judging by the buzz and positivity in the room, we all felt revitalized by Brightness. Many attendees commented that the valuable information we’d learnt around skills and quotients could be passed onto the young people we work with to improve their employability skills, self-confidence and self-efficacy.  

Finally we all felt like we mattered, which can only improve the support we provide to one another as a team, and the young people we serve.  


Maria O’Sullivan, GHWY Area Manager