With over 25 years’ experience in sales and marketing roles (culminating as a senior consultant in the Telecommunications & IT sector), Elias has used that knowledge to understand how to develop C-level connections and to transition relationships from commodity supplier to trusted advisor.

Elias is the President-Elect with the Global Speakers Federation (GSF), the Founder of the CEO Global Summit and a Founding Member of the Conscious Leadership Movement. The Immediate Past President of the National Speakers Association of New Zealand (NSANZ), Elias is also a Founding Partner of the John Maxwell Team, where he served on the President’s Advisory Council.

What do you think the challenges are in building a more harmonious South Africa?

Elias believes that there are many problems and challenges in South Africa, issues that are not explicitly present ones, but issues that date back to many previous generations. He notes that some of the challenges include people who are not being listened to as well as people being wrongfully influenced from a young age.  “A few of the elders have poisoned the mind of the younger generation, which in turn translates to the youth being driven by what others say and think.”

How do you and your organisation engage in this process of change?

Because Elias is based in New Zealand, it’s quite difficult to assist in the process of change in South Africa. However, he mentions that there are many South Africans who have fled to New Zealand, and he does his best to assist them with words of wisdom and hope for their beloved country.

Can you briefly name a few of the opportunities you had while growing up?

Elias says that one of the most significant opportunities that he’s grateful for are the important people who mentored him and invested in him. These are people like teachers, who took extra time with him in class because they believed in him. Another mentor that played a big part in Elias’s life was his Sunday school teacher, who told him to be kind to others and always treat them with the respect they deserve.  An unfortunate reality in South Africa is that most people do not understand what a mentor is. Simply put, he says that a mentor is someone who builds others up and helps them, as well as someone who takes time to build enough trust so that the person in need believes that the mentor can improve their situation.

Any words of advice to those who feel as if all hope is lost?

When people feel as if they’ve lost all hope, Elias reminds them of all the people who have made a difference in the world. He says that it’s important to know your significance and the difference you can potentially make. He says that in times of hopelessness, you should ask yourself, “Did Gandhi make a difference? Did Mandela make a difference?”  The first step to helping yourself get out of hopelessness is to believe in yourself. He concludes by saying, “ Believe in Jesus Christ, and know that faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain.”

Read more about Elias here on his website here: Eliasfernarious.com.