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Relationships, Spirituality & Self

The Theory of 5 was created to help individuals of all walks of life to identify the 5 theories that propel them into happiness and prosperity; Elgie Bright, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Automotive Marketing/Management at Northwood University, utilized the book to inspire and educate his students before hitting the “real world” and found the results rewarding.

Once a year, Bright incorporates The Theory of 5 into his teaching curriculum and is ecstatic to plan for the spring semester’s coursework. His choice of bringing this book to his students stems from the sense of relatability and accountability that it brings to the classroom.

“If I can recommend something I really want to make it personal to you, and here is something that is going to start with you,” said Bright.

His students are able to take the values within this book and apply it to their own emotions and experiences above their traditional education; Bright said that this is key with his students’ professional development.

“Sometimes that will take you further than the ‘x’s and o’s’ you internalize in an academic setting”

He recalls his own professional experience within the automotive industry, having started in retail for 10 years with Art Morean in Southfield Michigan and then spending 22 years in general motors in various managerial positions–such as district sales manager, district service manager, and parts manager–before working with Northwood, where he has been for 11 years.

“They [referring to dealerships] will teach you how to sell their way and embrace their office culture, but the relationship [with others] that is something you can internalize,” said Bright.

The soft skills and values that The Theory of 5 enlightens readers with are the secret sauce of Bright’s curriculum, all thanks to author Chris Saraceno.

Saraceno and Bright crossed paths through the serendipity of the tools and technology of the interweb, according to Bright.

While he was researching industry news with CBT, automotive news, or blog spaces he stumbled upon Saraceno’s interviews and ultimately was recommended to connect with him by several dealerships who came on campus for his courses. So, Bright scheduled a guest lecture with Saraceno, who sent in the book for Bright’s general management class, and the rest was history.

“The thought leadership and expertise he brings to the industry, and the relationship building. . . we are looking for that type of thought leadership to bring to the students,” said Bright.

From there, Bright said his respect for Saraceno and his work has continued to deepen merely through the way Chris conducts himself.

Bright, himself, embodies The Theory of 5 lifestyle through his relationships with those he has the honor of mentoring.

When asked what the most rewarding experience has been thus far in his career, Bright said it was witnessing his students' growth.

“Watching them flourish and coming back as alumni, and encouraging the current students,” said Bright.

His teaching philosophy also speaks to his passion for mentorship; Bright’s style of teaching includes being receptive to the needs of the students, embracing growth and the changing of one’s teaching style, and not supporting intransigence but teaching with empathy.

Adapting with the different type of student he is teaching is crucial to him, because he acknowledges that in order to build that trusting relationship and allow them to hone their unique skills is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“I am going to adapt my style to get where you are at,” said Bright. “I am going to work with everyone as if I am their basketball coach. . . if i have 20-25 students there are various levels of processes and flexibility.”

Yet, Bright believes that while relationships come first in his professional life, his spirituality is always put first within his personal life.

“True joy,” he said, “is Jesus, others and yourself.”

A quote from Mother Theresa, this is the philosophy stemming from one of Bright’s favorite stories, I am Third by Gale Sayers. The power of three means more to Bright than just the quote, as he too is a “third” after his father and grandfather–all of which have an ode to this tattooed on their arms.

Bright also recommended that others read The Theory of 5 and is eager to connect with the accompanied workbook that Saraceno released.

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