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The Legendary Leaders Podcast

Apr 26, 2022


How safe is the work environment you’re creating for your team as a leader? Having a positive and safe work environment is very beneficial in encouraging employee growth and innovation while discouraging insecurities.

In this episode of the Legendary Leaders Podcast, we have Melanie Pump, an accomplished CFO, Director, business leader, and the author of Detox: Managing Insecurity in the Workplace book. Melanie went through a lot of hardships in her earlier years and started her career without a high school diploma but went on to become an accomplished financial executive and business leader.

Listen in to learn the importance of creating a safe environment for employee growth and innovation within an organisation. You will also learn the importance of over-communicating transparency and clarity with your team. to improve organisational health.

This podcast is sponsored by InnerProfessional online training programs. With courses geared specifically for Legendary Leaders, InnerProfessional provides an extraordinary catalogue of leadership and professional development programs, unlike any online training you’ve experienced before.

Key Takeaways:

  • The benefits of a positive work environment to encourage employee growth and avoid insecurities.
  • The long-term impact of psychological safety and unsafety in our progression.
  • How to care for your employees as a whole, so they can experience success in their careers.
  • How to provide a safe and healthy work environment for people to grow and innovate.
  • The importance of over-communicating transparency and clarity with your team.

Episode timeline:

  • [1:13] Intro
  • [5:19] Melanie on her career journey and why she advocates for the benefits of a positive work environment.
  • [8:29] How her challenging background has helped her become an empathetic leader.
  • [10:57] Melanie’s experience with psychological unsafety in high school and the long-term impact that had on her.
  • [14:59] How to be thoughtful with our worlds as leaders to avoid creating an insecure work environment.
  • [16:19] How she turned her life around and flourished in her career, in a safe work environment.
  • [20:47] How to show up wholly and authentically as a leader, to allow others to do the same.
  • [24:27] How to encourage employee growth and innovation with a safe and healthy work environment.
  • [32:29] She explains how being an empathetic leader has benefited her in creating trust.
  • [34:54] Melanie’s workplace insecurities in her earlier years and how they negatively impacted her career.
  • [40:44] Why we all have insecurities and how an unsafe environment can be risky for us.
  • [44:17] What causes a toxic work environment, plus tips on how to create a healthy work environment.
  • [48:38] The importance of respect, trust, and the right people in your team to flourish as a female leader.
  • [50:39] How to model healthy behaviours to experience psychological safety.
  • [52:13] The routines that help Melanie stay calm and relaxed outside work.


  • “Each of us may make a difference both for the good and the bad, those good bits, if you hang on to them, can carry you forward.”- Melanie Pump [14:17]
  • “If we’re allowed to be our whole person at work, we’re going to be even more successful.”- Melanie Pump [19:47]
  • “If you aren’t treating people right in creating a safe environment for employees, the business won’t be successful.”- Melanie Pump [23:39]
  • “People may stay in your organisation, but if it isn’t a healthy organisation that promotes growth, they’ll stall and be stagnant in positions, rather than grow in the organisation.”- Melanie Pump [25:15]
  • “It’s not the big transformation; it’s how we can show those behaviours on a very consistent level.”- Cathleen Merkel [47:23]


Find | Cathleen Merkel


On Instagram: @CathleenMerkel

On Facebook: @CathleenMerkelCoaching

On LinkedIn: @CathleenMerkel


Find | Melanie Pump

Business Website:  


On LinkedIn:

On Facebook:

On Instagram:


About Melanie Pump

Not long after she was born, Melanie’s family lost all of their assets to bankruptcy and were forced to leave their home. Unfortunately, the financial hardships and resulting drama did not significantly improve. Melanie’s childhood was marked by turmoil and loss.  

Shortly after her 15th birthday, Melanie, who had escaped into drugs, left her troubled family home. It took some scary moments, but eventually, Melanie’s natural drive and resilience awakened. She committed to quitting drugs and building a better life for herself.

After a few years of working in hospitality, Melanie landed her first corporate job as a receptionist at an engineering firm. She would go on to finish a Bachelor of Commerce and a Professional Accounting Designation. Those were the first critical steps on Melanie’s path to CFO.

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: