Merlin is the world’s second largest location-based entertainments company, and growing quickly - as fast as our rollercoasters! With over 140 attractions around the world, we've got leaders in over 20 different countries, from our on-site teams to our executive committee - and they've each got a story to tell. This podcast is where you'll find them.

Hosted by Ioanna Pappa, Merlin’s Head of Leadership Development, each episode is packed full of insights from the people who lead the magic in Merlin. Ioanna will be getting to the heart of the people who lead the magic around the world, discussing what great leadership means to them, and how their soul sings when they're working with people who are passionate about what they do.

Watch the latest episode:


Are interviews the best way to make decisions on hiring people? Should giving and receiving feedback be easy? And, how can you spot a great leader?

Merlin's Group Talent, Learning and Performance Director, Graeme Johnson, sits down to discuss these questions and more, bravely opening up on his own experiences of setbacks, failures, and becoming a good leader.

From the feedback that has inspired his last 15 years, to ways you can encourage fun and trust in your teams, Graeme's insight will leave you exiting this podcast feeling motivated, empowered, and ready to step into your leadership career.

Episode Four - Rob Smith

For Managing Director of Midway Attractions Rob Smith, a highlight of working for Merlin is that “everyone is open to new ideas, to individuality, to diversity” – something Rob has seen in a variety of forms throughout his two decades at the company.

As we celebrate Pride month, Rob highlights how our leaders are a fundamental part of driving change, driving belonging, and driving how we work together to highlight diversity, inclusion, and representation across Merlin’s global attractions. Listen now to discover how Rob has embraced new ideas throughout his career, how he believes leaders can create change, and how pride is driven by passion.

Episode Three - Hywel Mathias

When faced with setback, how can it be reframed to provide an opportunity for growth?

Midway Strategy Director Hywel Mathias explored this in the latest episode of our new podcast, Merlin Leadership Unplugged, as he discussed how his experiences have driven his passion and career journey, including his neurodiversity and how embracing what makes you different can uncover strengths you didn’t know existed.

Listen to learn more about Hywel’s career journey, the personal experiences that led him to where is today and the importance of wellbeing both in and out of work.

Episode Two - Steve Blackburn and Konrad Halabuda

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and in this month’s episode of Merlin Leadership Unplugged, Ioanna Pappa speaks with New Business Development Director Steve Blackburn and Digital Product Manager Konrad Halabuda about how Merlin is working to ensure that accessibility is a “built in, not bolt on” factor when creating our attractions.

Learn more about how our Intel Group is supporting Merlin’s accessibility, how Steve and Konrad navigate their work and home life balance, and what makes a family day out truly magical.

Episode One - Fiona Eastwood

In Merlin Leadership Unplugged's premiere episode, Ioanna speaks with Fiona Eastwood, Chief Operating Officer for Midway and Resort Theme Parks, celebrating her lived experience, journey and achievements to date.

Learn more about Fiona's journey to being Merlin’s most senior female leader, what's not included on her LinkedIn page, and what she gets up to when not overseeing Merlin's Midway and Resort Theme Park portfolio.