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The Legendary Leaders Podcast

Dec 21, 2021

Do you want to be an effective leader who leads with purpose and resilience? How about becoming a Zen leader? A Zen leader utilizes their whole mind and body to overcome challenges and unhealthy stress; and they are mindful to lead from a place of energy, resonance, and purpose.

In this episode of the Legendary Leaders Podcast, we have Dr. Ginny Whitelaw, a Zen Master, founder of the Institute for Zen Leadership, and author of Resonate. For more than 25 years, she has combined rich scientific backgrounds, senior leadership experience, and mind-body practices in developing whole leaders. She explains how her Zen leadership journey shifted her from being ambitious to a more curious leader.

Listen in to learn the importance of building breathing habits to become aware and connect with others as a leader. You will also learn how Zen leadership can help you explore your unconsciously held fears and find your freedom.


Key Takeaways:

  • Learning how to listen and pay attention to what’s happening even as you go after your dreams.
  • How to use your body to be more centered and develop resourceful practices as a leader. 
  • The power of practicing simple exercises to stay aware and connect your mind and body.


Episode timeline:

  • [1:13] Intro
  • [4:03] Ginny’s childhood dream of becoming an astronaut and what became of it as she grew up.
  • [6:19] How going after her dream got out of control plus when she completely turned things around.
  • [12:05] She explains her leadership experience at NASA and why she felt it lacked wholeness.
  • [14:14] Ginny on how the Institute for Zen Leadership was born and what it teaches leaders.
  • [19:46] How resonating with energy allows us to come into ourselves and create value.
  • [25:53] She defines the meaning of Zen leadership – the sense of unity with all that is.
  • [30:00] How Zen leadership allows you to explore and identify your fears to find freedom.
  • [33:24] How to create awareness in your day-to-day as a leader by building breathing habits.
  • [38:07] Ginny shares some success stories from the Institute for Zen Leadership.
  • [41:25] She explains how Zen leadership shifted her from an ambitious to a curious leader.




  • “It’s great to have dreams but hold them in a way where you’re still listening.”- Ginny Whitelaw [7:29]


  • “You’re connected with the world; nothing just happens, there’s a strong connection.”- Cathleen Merkel [19:11]


  • “When we’re home and we’re clear and we’re feeling whole, there’s an attractive quality to our energy that people want to be connected to.”- Ginny Whitelaw [ [25:00]


  • “When we’re in a place where we’re ready to step into a bigger world, those walls tend to arise.”- Ginny Whitelaw [39:58]



Find | Cathleen Merkel


On Instagram: @CathleenMerkel

On Facebook: @CathleenMerkelCoaching

On LinkedIn: @CathleenMerkel


Find | Dr. Ginny Whitelaw

Business (Institute for Zen Leadership):



On LinkedIn: @institueforzenleadership

On Facebook:

On Instagram:

On YouTube: Zenflix




About Cathleen Merkel: 

As a Thought Leader in the Mindset & (Self-) Leadership space, Cathleen supports high achieving, but worn-out women create a more content & balanced life without sacrificing their hard-earned success.Following a simple 6 step framework, she helps you not only reconnect with your inner feminine side; Cathleen also supports you to rediscover your REAL YOU!

Cathleen focuses on women who lost their sense of purpose, who feel they are running in a hamster wheel, trying to please everyone but themselves. She helps you to turn your careers, your social connections and personal life around so that you will start feeling fulfilled and excited again about the days to come. At the end of the process, Cathleen's clients will feel healthier, happier, energised and clear about their future. 

With over 15 years of leadership experience in Retail, Media & Broadcasting, Engineering and Property Investment, Cathleen has not only experienced the challenges and opportunities of a female leader herself; she has also been leading and supporting various leadership development initiatives within large, complex, multinational matrix organisations.

Only by deeply experiencing her very personal life challenges – ‘hitting a wall experiences’ –Cathleen was able to redefine her own purpose, deciding to bring ease and content to as many women as possible on the planet!


Tune in here: 



About Dr. Ginny Whitelaw

Dr. Ginny Whitelaw is a Zen master and founder and CEO of the Institute for Zen Leadership. For more than 25 years, she’s combined a rich scientific background, senior leadership experience, and mind-body practices in developing whole leaders. She co-developed FEBI, a validated personality test linking mind, body and essential modes of leadership. Formerly a senior leader at NASA, she led the integration of the Space Station Program. She holds a doctorate in biophysics, degrees in physics and philosophy, and a 5th degree black belt in Aikido. She is the author of 4 books, including her latest, Resonate.