Welcome to my regular series entitled "My Light Bulb Moment". This series highlights a "blinding flash of insight" business, cultural and sports leaders have had in their career, and how this changed their lives forever.

Sometimes a great, almost insurmountable challenge can bring out the best in us and show us the incredible power and resourcefulness we are actually capable of.

Richard Manthel

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce at Canterbury University, Richard started his career in international sales based in the UK, selling navigational aids throughout Africa and energy management products across the Middle East, Asia and Europe.


Returning to New Zealand, he became a manager at Morgan and Banks, then set up international recruiter Robert Walters' New Zealand operations, leading it to become one of the largest and most profitable recruitment companies in the country.

With the new anti-money laundering legislation coming into force in June 2013, Richard and business partner Mark Todd spotted the need for AML expertise in NZ and set up Anti-Money Laundering Solutions Limited in 2012. AML Solutions is now NZ's leading specialist AML consultancy and has seen exponential growth to over two hundred clients (including two registered banks).

Recently AML Solutions received global plaudits, being awarded "Anti-Money Laundering Firm of the Year - New Zealand" at the Finance Monthly M&A Awards 2014.

The Power Within Us - Light Bulb Moment

However, despite all his success, Richard has had some pretty trying times in his career. From having an AK47 pointed at him in Liberia, to fleeing a burning helicopter in Gambia, he has faced some pretty significant challenges.

At the tender age of 25, Richard stepped in when his technical trainer was sick, catching a plane to Ghana to run a simple training session at their port. "On arrival they announced they wanted me to install their three navigational towers we had recently supplied. In appalling local conditions, 40C heat, with no real knowledge of what I was doing, I spent three days directing 15 Ghanaians on how to install the towers," Richard recalls.

"It was a great success, a watershed moment for me that I could achieve anything."

Back Yourself


"If you are in a situation where you are facing the unknown, back yourself, soldier on and don't be afraid to make mistakes," Richard believes. "Also speak up when you think you have a good idea and don't be afraid to say 'trust me and let me have a go'. This is both an exciting and a fast way to learn more about yourself and gain rapid skills."

• If you have had a blinding moment of insight (a light bulb moment), I would love to hear about it.

Tom is an award winning business speaker, best-selling international author and CEO of both CV.co.nz and AchievementExpert.com. Email Tom at tom@AchievementExpert.com