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Know your people, know yourself: insights from Disney’s top female execs
POSTED 12 Apr 2019 . BY Andy Knaggs
What does it take for a woman to be successful at Disney? Talent and determination are a given, but a panel of the organisation’s female leaders at IAAPA gave extra insights into their journey to the top and the challenges they faced along the way.

Tracey Powell, for example, is now vice president of revenue management at Walt Disney World in Florida, but she had previously built a career to executive director level at Carnival Cruise Lines. She took a step backwards to join Disney but became an executive again within two years.

Her great lesson in managing both teams and guests was to "walk a mile in their shoes": "I had the opportunity to lead 10,000 cast members and I had to learn what it meant to be frontline, and what that meant for the guest experience," she said. "I became a housekeeper and a greeter so I could learn what it meant to be day-in and day-out with our guests."

For Melissa Vallquete, vice president, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, there used to be a great deal of advice that she should have more "command" or "physical presence" in her leadership style. "It felt to me like I was being coached to be a little more masculine," she said.

Then Meg Crofton was promoted to president at Disney World, and it was a career-changing moment for Vallquete. "Her style of leadership was very different. Even in her gentle, quieter style, there was no question when you were in the room with her that she was in charge."

Vallquette now reflects that it doesn’t matter if someone at the top looks or acts differently to you and your own style. "You can be the first one to do it your way," she said.

Rachel Quinn, general manager at Magic Kingdom Entertainment, Walt Disney World Resort, was another who had enjoyed a career before Disney, working as a dancer on cruise ships before moving into a leadership role and then joining the Disney Cruise Line in 1998.

Along the way has come a realisation that happiness is of central importance, even in aspects of the job where it seems unlikely – safety training, for example.

"At Magic Kingdom, we do a biannual safety town hall, which is fully produced with themes and actors. It’s all about engagement. If you can engage your cast and connect with them, they take in information better.

"It’s a different way to engage them in safety. Year after year as we’ve done this, injuries have gone down, so it works."

To read the full article see Issue 1 2019 of Attractions Management here.
Melissa Vallquette found her own style of leadership through observing Disney World president Meg Crofton
Tracey Powell: "I had to learn what it meant to be frontline, and what that meant for the guest experience."
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Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
NEWS
Know your people, know yourself: insights from Disney’s top female execs
POSTED 12 Apr 2019 . BY Andy Knaggs
What does it take for a woman to be successful at Disney? Talent and determination are a given, but a panel of the organisation’s female leaders at IAAPA gave extra insights into their journey to the top and the challenges they faced along the way.

Tracey Powell, for example, is now vice president of revenue management at Walt Disney World in Florida, but she had previously built a career to executive director level at Carnival Cruise Lines. She took a step backwards to join Disney but became an executive again within two years.

Her great lesson in managing both teams and guests was to "walk a mile in their shoes": "I had the opportunity to lead 10,000 cast members and I had to learn what it meant to be frontline, and what that meant for the guest experience," she said. "I became a housekeeper and a greeter so I could learn what it meant to be day-in and day-out with our guests."

For Melissa Vallquete, vice president, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, there used to be a great deal of advice that she should have more "command" or "physical presence" in her leadership style. "It felt to me like I was being coached to be a little more masculine," she said.

Then Meg Crofton was promoted to president at Disney World, and it was a career-changing moment for Vallquete. "Her style of leadership was very different. Even in her gentle, quieter style, there was no question when you were in the room with her that she was in charge."

Vallquette now reflects that it doesn’t matter if someone at the top looks or acts differently to you and your own style. "You can be the first one to do it your way," she said.

Rachel Quinn, general manager at Magic Kingdom Entertainment, Walt Disney World Resort, was another who had enjoyed a career before Disney, working as a dancer on cruise ships before moving into a leadership role and then joining the Disney Cruise Line in 1998.

Along the way has come a realisation that happiness is of central importance, even in aspects of the job where it seems unlikely – safety training, for example.

"At Magic Kingdom, we do a biannual safety town hall, which is fully produced with themes and actors. It’s all about engagement. If you can engage your cast and connect with them, they take in information better.

"It’s a different way to engage them in safety. Year after year as we’ve done this, injuries have gone down, so it works."

To read the full article see Issue 1 2019 of Attractions Management here.
Melissa Vallquette found her own style of leadership through observing Disney World president Meg Crofton
Tracey Powell: "I had to learn what it meant to be frontline, and what that meant for the guest experience."
RELATED STORIES
FEATURE: Show report: Women of Disney


Some of Disney’s most talented female leaders share their stories about how they got to be where they are today
Stephanie Young named new managing director at Hong Kong Disneyland


Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) will have a new managing director, effective as of 1 February 2019, after Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products announced the appointment of Stephanie Young into the role.
MORE NEWS
£15m waterpark opens in Wales ahead of Easter weekend
A new £15m (US$19.5m, €17.3m) waterpark has opened its doors to the public in Rhyl, Wales, with three flumes for thrillseekers to enjoy.
Elton John makes significant V&A donation for photography collaboration
London’s V&A Museum has announced a partnership with Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, that will see its Gallery 101 in the newly opened V&A Photography Centre renamed 'The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery'.
Climate Emergency campaign draws support from UK culture sector
More than 190 UK institutions and individuals from the arts and culture sectors have pledged their support to Culture Declares Emergency (CDE), which is part of the Climate Emergency Declaration campaign.
Disney makes US$5m donation to Notre-Dame rebuild following blaze
Disney has donated US$5m (€4.4m, £3.8m) toward the restoration efforts of Notre-Dame Cathedral, following the huge fire that destroyed much of the iconic landmark in Paris.
+ More news   
LATEST JOBS
Sales and Marketing Manager
Continuum Attractions
Salary: Up to £24,000
Job location: Oxford, UK
Head of Cultural and Community Services
South Derbyshire District Council
Salary: Up to £65,000
Job location: Derbyshire, UK
Attraction Operations Manager
Legoland Discovery Centre
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Tempe, Arizona, USA
Customer Relationship Manager
Merlin Entertainments Group
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Sydney NSW, Australia
Regional HSS Manager (Asia)
Merlin Entertainments Group
Salary: Competitive
Job location: Shanghai, China
Assistant Director Visitor and Site Operations
Eureka
Salary: Circa £42,000 per annum
Job location: Halifax, UK
+ More jobs  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

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