As we reach the culmination of The Elders’ #WalkTogether campaign, Virgin Unite are celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, his legacy and the founding of The Elders. 

The #WalkTogether campaign has built a bright web made up of 'Sparks of Hope' – communities building a movement for the freedoms Mandela dedicated his life to: peace, health, justice and equality.

Virgin CEOs and staff members from all over the world have written about their own Sparks of Hope and for the next month we invite you to read their stories and join the global #WalkTogether movement.


Nic van den Bergh is the Head of Digital at Virgin Money South Africa


The person that has inspired me the most in my life is my father. Though he is my dad he is so much more – he has been a spectacular mentor, specifically when it comes to how one should behave both at a personal level and at a business level. He’s inspired me for the last 20 odd years where I’ve been in formal and informal employment.

My father has this incredible spirit and ability to help and support others, even when he might be going through a difficult time himself. Something that I have learnt from him and taken into my own life is to rise above whatever is being thrown at you and to keep a positive face and a positive outlook.

A great learning that I have taken into the workplace is to look ahead and to be disruptive, but more importantly it’s about looking to constantly improve yourself. I like to believe that I never take things at face value and I’m always questioning how I can do things better. I try to look at ways that not only improve my own life, but to make sure that I’m improving the lives of the people that I serve.

The only way that you can do this effectively, is if you work hard at creating a better working relationship with your colleagues. To have a successful output, you need to have a successful team and that’s why I’ve always tried to inspire with knowledge and passion. I try to encourage people with belief, because if people believe in you and they believe in what you’re doing, you will have very loyal colleagues and employees.

Something that I have learnt from him and taken into my own life is to rise above whatever is being thrown at you and to keep a positive face and a positive outlook.

I have always tried to empower people and to make sure that they can be much more than their job title so that they can grow faster and be a sponge – it’s about making sure that you both have an equal footing and that you do not see your ideas or beliefs as more important or better than other people’s.

 A good leader should also be able to reflect and learn from the past. I have tried to start businesses and failed spectacularly at them and that has given me some amazing learnings. I don’t think that we embrace failure enough – we must learn from failure. I love advertising and marketing and how you can connect with customers.

I love trying to improve individual’s lives through products and services. Ultimately, it is my dream and passion to get involved with a mentorship programme or investment into entrepreneurs. I know within the Virgin group there are many bodies and organisations that look to supporting businesses. I would like to give back to an industry that has given and taught me so much.  

Virgin Unite, #WalkTogether, The Elders

- Nic van den Bergh is the Head of Digital at Virgin Money South Africa

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