As part of the Disney College Program in Anaheim, all participants are required to take one of the educational offerings for each term they are enrolled in. Since I am part of Fall Advantage, I am participating in two terms: Summer and Fall. In the summer, I took Blended Learning Series, which was a great mix of professional development, an analysis of the company, and learning about our personalities in the workplace. This Fall, I am currently enrolled in Leadership Speaker Series.

The way Leadership Speaker Series works is our instructor has lined up respected executives from different areas of the resort to speak to our class about anything and everything, and then we as students have the opportunity to ask questions.

So far our speakers have included:

  • Disneyland Ambassador, Jessica Bernard
  • Senior Special Events Coordinator and Senior Fairy Tale Weddings Coordinator
  • Special Effects Designer from Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Vice President, Resort Hotels and Downtown Disney District, Jon Storbeck

All of our speakers so far have been absolutely wonderful. I have learned so much about the internal and external operations of the resort as well as some practical leadership advice. Jessica Bernard spoke about some business etiquette and some of the lessons she has learned as a Disneyland Ambassador. The Special Events coordinator and Fairy Tale Weddings Coordinator work together often on projects so they spoke together about their unique jobs and what their working days bring. The Special Effects Designer from Walt Disney Imagineering told us his story of winning the Imaginations Design Competition, the projects he worked on (he helped pitch the idea of bringing back The Hatbox Ghost and then designed him!), and gave us some practical life advice for advancing in our careers. Jon Storbeck, Vice President of Resort Hotels and Downtown Disney District, shared his story of leadership through the company and how to be the best in our roles.

In the next few weeks, we’ll hear from the Vice President of Disney California Adventure, the Vice President of Disneyland Park, the Director of Food and Beverage Integration, and the Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales. Since our first few speakers have been so great, I’m excited to hear from these other leaders around the resort.

The opportunity network and connect with executives is one of the special opportunities that the Disney College Program offers. As I am passing the halfway point of my Disney College Program (I’ve been here for five months!), I am trying to soak in the little bit of time I have left before my program ends.

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