Episode 88: Balancing leadership, management and family – Melanie Laing

“Leadership can be hard and sometimes it can feel quite lonely as a new leader… But you don’t always need to know the answer or be the one making all the decisions.”

In this week’s edition of The Leadership Diaries, our special guest is Head of Connectnow, Melanie Laing.

Melanie (Mel) boasts an impressive resume as a leader, having held senior roles AGL and HSBC – and learned from one of the best in Jack Welch during her time at GE. 

In this episode, she, of course, gave Sam the scoop on some of Connectnow’s exciting new developments. 

But in addition to that Mel also gave us a very frank and honest account of how she balances a senior leadership role in a big corporate while balancing her other important leadership role as a Mum.

In this podcast we cover:

  • What Mel’s career has looked like to date.
  • The biggest focus for Connectnow at the moment
  • What consumers want
  • Why process makes perfect
  • Balancing a demanding leadership role with the needs of a family
  • Lessons learned from an extensive career as a leader.

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Episode host: Samantha McLean
Special guest:Melanie Laing


02:11  Getting to know Melanie Laing and her role at Connectnow
03:46  Digital transformation and why it’s the biggest focus for Connectnow at the moment
05:41  Lessons learned from working under Jack Welch at GE

07:00  What the New Zealand gymnastics squad taught Melanie about leadership
08:55  Hectic – the morning routine of a working mum with a young family
09:54  The secret to departmentalising family responsibilities while holding a high-powered corporate position
10:33  What Mel learned from her Dad and his leadership
12:16  Taking a page out of Jacinda Ardern’s book
13:16  Why ‘tenacity’ is the quality Mel reveres most in a leader
14:16  Leave your ego at the door
14:53  How do you wow your customers?
15:48  Leading by example – nurturing strong leadership skills starts at home
16:43  Why Mel thinks ‘follow your passion’ is the worst piece of advice she often hears.

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.