CFO Melanie Pump Didn’t Want to Share Her Rocky Childhood With Colleagues

CFO Melanie Pump Didn’t Want to Share Her Rocky Childhood With Colleagues


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My guest for Episode #119 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Melanie Pump, an accomplished Chief Financial Officer and business leader from Toronto. She is “a survivor, a business leader and a deep believer in the power of positive, supportive work environments.” She's also the author of the book DETOX: Managing Insecurity in the Workplace.

In today's episode, Melanie shares her “favorite mistake” story about not wanting to share the story of her “rocky childhood” with her colleagues. How did Melanie go from being a high school dropout to a corporate executive?

We talk about that story and other topics including:

  • What sort of reaction do you get when you tell the story?
  • Vulnerability is helpful? Showing it as a leader… admitting mistakes as a leader…
  • What inspired you to write the book?
  • Worked in some toxic workplaces?
  • Getting past insecurity? Is insecurity the root of many other problems?
  • Wasn’t asking “why” that person seems insecure?
  • How can we help others?
  • Toxic behaviors?
    • Passive aggressiveness
    • Avoidance / procrastination
    • Defensiveness
  • Does insecurity lead to the appearance of arrogance that leads to toxic environments?
  • Addressing imposter syndrome?
  • Gender differences??
  • What do you do as CFO (and the rest of the C-suite) to guard against toxic work environments?
  • Why does this matter for business results???

Find Melanie on Social Media:

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript



"I was actually a high school dropout and I thought that I needed to hide that, and that was something that I needed to feel shame over." Melanie Pump
"Don't be a bully.  But even good people can create toxicity [in a workplace]." Melanie Pump
"If we're in an environment that is damaging or risk to our mental health, we'll start using defensive behaviors. So that is why I talk about it as insecurity, because I think that need for safety, drives a lot of behaviors." Melanie Pump

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.