Liezel van der Westhuizen is a global motivational speaker and corporate coach, specialising in personal branding and speaker training.
Liezel is also adaptable to the times, and can now be booked as a virtual MC and virtual speaker - with several local and international events hosted online, already under her belt in 2020.
Inspired, Educated, and Entertaining, are three words synonymous with this eloquent tower, brimming with elegance, experience, and positivity.
Last year alone, Liezel heeded the call for a partner, of a visually-impaired triathlete - thus becoming the first African sighted female to cycle with a blind athlete across the Himalayas, on a tandem bicycle.
The rest of this page outlines more about: The Giraffe Brand, and Liezel’s role in speaking, coaching and brand building
Having kicked off her public speaking career in South Africa a decade ago, Liezel has hosted more than 500 events across Southern Africa, as well as in other popular eventing destinations, such as: Indonesia, United Kingdom, Europe, Thailand, Hong Kong and Seychelles.
Liezel has also notably been the Master of Ceremonies at an international conference in Venice earlier this year, and will be speaking on Personal Branding in Los Angeles, in 2021.
With a client list which includes blue chip companies, sporting brands, tourism boards, and high-flying financial institutions, it is no wonder Liezel is renowned around the world.
'The Giraffe' is the moniker she embraced.
Her work under the eponymously named Giraffe Brand Academy, for coaching entrepreneurs and business owners alike, on building their personal brands, has yielded more than 10 000 people equipped with valuable entrepreneurial skills, business insights, and personal branding strategies.
With infectious energy, sharp wit and panache being the hallmarks of Liezel’s brand, it’s no surprise that her work receives consistent rave reviews from clients.
Passionate about education, Liezel notes that her three degrees in Human Resources Management (Bcom), as well as in B.Com Honors ; having a Masters degree in Business Communications too, have been invaluable in laying the groundwork for what can only be described as a rewarding and fulfilling career.
Being part of the Toastmaster’s Society – and having received bronze and silver awards – also continues to give Liezel’s work an extra edge.
Apart from hosting events, Liezel is also often commissioned to do motivational talks and deliver keynote addresses. A few of her most popular topics include: ‘Beating the Bully’, ‘Empowering Women’, ‘Finding your inner strength’, and ‘Personal Brand Personified’.
She is a well-loved media personality in the South African radio and television media space, and has established herself as a macro influencer with over 155 000 social media followers across various platforms (including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).
As a fitness enthusiast considered one of the Cape's go-to people on all things sporting, Liezel has also completed a number of tough sporting events, notably: the Ironman Triathlons, Dusi Canoe Marathons, and the Midmar mile.
Liezel is fondly known to friends and fans alike, as: ‘The Giraffe’, a moniker she has also worked into the name of her personal vlog, Giraffe in the City.
What many people may not know about 'The Giraffe', is that the nickname was originally meant to be an insult.
"In 2010, designer Craig Jacobs called me 'a giraffe' in his Sunday Times Society Column, when - on this specific occasion - I wore a pair of killer heels, which added a few centimeters to my already excessive height", Liezel explains.
Instead of letting it get her down, Liezel embraced the name and has continued using it to her advantage under the name 'The Giraffe Brand'.
This is a powerful testament to her experience with personal brand-building, and how she can assist organisations, and individuals, with turning negative publicity into something positive - even doing so online, as a virtual speaker and virtual coach.
Apart from building her own brand, she also has professional reputation management experience, having worked as the public relations manager for Virgin Records - this being prior to her even kicking off her television and radio presenter career.
Some of the clients she worked with include: Mandoza, Lenny Kravitz, Sarah Brightman, Atomic Kitten, Backstreet Boys, Watershed, and Danny K.