Leading with Legacy, a Presentation by Mel Tempest

AskNicely Team

In February 2022, hundreds of leaders from service businesses across the world gathered together online to take part in the Global Frontline Experience Summit, an event we are delighted to sponsor and host again after its hugely successful first run in 2020. It was a phenomenal event with a contagious heaping of inspiration, excitement and possibility for anyone working in the customer experience and frontline service space. 

If you missed the summit, brought to you by our Frontline Magic Community don't worry! All of the‍ sessions are available right here, and are just as powerful the second time around.

While our time in this world is limited, our legacy stays forever. Ever think about what you want to be remembered for? Or how are you going to leave your mark in the world? If there is anybody who knows how to create a lasting legacy, it’s Mel Tempest, the CEO and founder of Ignite Fitness Business Events and the host and founder of The Gym Owners Fitness Business Podcast. Mel is the first Australian to receive an award from IHRSA Global and is one of the top three fitness business influencers in the USA. 

As the independent and proud owner of Ballarat gym, Mel knows how to teach a world-class workout and lead a team of frontline instructors and trainers to do the same. But Mel’s leadership style goes beyond flexes and gains. She aspires to lead with legacy and help every trainer and trainee show up as the best versions of themselves every day.  In her presentation at the Global Frontline Experience Summit, Mel shares her personal story on how to lead with courage and confidence, challenging and inspiring those around you.

The Beginning of Ballarat

Nothing and no one could stop Mel from becoming the best version of herself. Only having been in the fitness industry for 18 months and admittedly having little to no clue as to what she was doing, Mel had to jump many obstacles for Ballarat Genesis Gym to open its doors. Her early realization, though, was that meeting customer needs was mission-critical in order to be set up for success.  

“What I learnt on the first day of opening the business was that it wasn't all about what Mel wanted in her club, it was all about what the consumer wanted”. 

Mel knew that in order to run a successful service business, she needed to focus on the customer experience. How could she build an environment and experience that customers LOVED, came back for more and referred their friends and family? 

It started with understanding customer needs. 

So what did Mel’s community want from a place like Ballarat? Through talking to customers and gaining feedback, she discovered that her customers wanted a place to work out that felt like a supportive community, without judgment. 

“They want a non-intimidating environment to work out” 

Mel used customer feedback to shape the way she built her business, which was all about “people, service and unity”. 

Aligning Values

Like any people-powered business, Mel didn’t create success on her own. Ballarat is where it is today thanks to her incredible team of trainers, and the alignment of values across it. Mel acknowledges the importance of having a clear, shared vision that employees feel genuinely passionate about and connected to. 

“I had to make sure that the people that were working alongside me each day, they had the same vision, the same mission, and the same philosophies that I had”. 

When employees are on board with the same values, passion, mission and standards, incredible heights can be achieved. 

Challenging the Status Quo

We can often fall into the trap of thinking that different is wrong, however, Mel is fearless when it comes to challenging the status quo. Mel encourages people to find new and innovative ways to offer their services and products to specialized niches. 

“One of the things you shouldn't do is replicate what other businesses are doing in your area.

Nobody likes a copycat. Mel explains the importance of having a look around your environment and focusing on what is best for your demographics, rather than looking at what everyone else is doing and wanting to do the same. Mel suggests asking yourself:

  • What is your customer’s agenda? 
  • What are your consumer’s goals?

Now align your experience to that! To help understand agenda and goals, you can use a feedback tool to gain real-time customer insights that help you mold your service offering to meet specific needs. 

Ballarat aims to deliver programs that meet its customer’s requirements rather than programs that are ‘on-trend’. Mel knows that in a highly saturated market, the customer experience is what can set her apart from the competition. By staying uniquely true to herself and her company mission, Mel has been able to successfully deliver programming and marketing that no other fitness club in Australia has, placing Ballarat as one of the top gyms in the area. 

“I have challenged the status quo at every single minute that I possibly could”

Creating Opportunities for Others 

While Mel has achieved plenty of incredible things in her lifetime, what is the legacy that she wants to leave behind? In her own words, her legacy is about giving other people the opportunity to be the best that they can be. 

“Because the fact is, for you to be where you are now, somebody gave you an opportunity at some time, and we must remember that we need to give opportunity back”. 

It is easy to look at the people at the top of their industry and think of them as superheroes. Mel says that it is the opportunities you create for others that will make them remember you. Everybody has to start somewhere, so being able to help people with that starting point by giving them a chance, or a simple push can go a long way. At the end of the day, superheroes are súper because they help other people. 

“The legacy of a leader is not about the wounds, likes, or awards that you leave behind. The latest legacy will be about the lives enhanced by that leadership”. 

Mel wants to be remembered for the opportunities she gives to those around her, which in a way is the perfect way for her legacy to live forever. 

Mel closes her presentation by encouraging us to ask the million-dollar question: “What type of legacy do I want to leave?”.

To recap:

  • Understand your consumer’s needs
  • Challenge the status quo 
  • Put the customer at the top of your list 
  • Be active in your community 
  • Give opportunity back 

A huge thank you to Mel for such an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation. 

Want to see more presentations from the Global Frontline Experience Summit? Check out the Frontline Magic Community to watch all the presentation videos and subscribe to get case studies, frontline news and community updates straight to your inbox.

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

AskNicely Team
About the author

AskNicely Team

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