How to Be #Limitless According to Disney’s Top Leaders

Walt Disney World is considered the happiest place on Earth; anyone who goes there can attest to that. However, there is so much more to Disney than what just meets the eye. The Walt Disney Company is a business second to none that is not only the movies and amusement parks, but so much more.

Disney cares about each and every guest they host and especially nurturing the young so that our future is bright. The Disney Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.) is a program where students ranging from elementary school to college, are given an opportunity to enrich their education experience through hands-on and applied learning.

Disney currently offers 26 Y.E.S. programs throughout all of the Walt Disney World parks, as well as Disney Land. These programs range from applied sciences, to liberal arts, to leadership development, and even environmental studies.

I was recently honored to be invited down to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., to meet with Disney executives and discuss DECA, Disney, and the Youth Education Series. I was lucky enough to see first-hand what goes into making the Disney magic and the Y.E.S. programs.

I took the trip as an opportunity to learn and gain information that is beneficial for DECA members. Here is some of the advice Disney cast members had for our DECA members:

How To Standout

The most reoccurring question I receive and all high schoolers wonder is what they can do to standout from the crowds. Whether it is a job interview, a college application, or anything else you are interested in, you have to find a competitive advantage in order to succeed.

Wendy Snelson, Sales Director of Youth Programs and Youth National Accounts, says that she looks for passion and energy during interviews. Ms. Snelson is a very accomplished Disney executive and has been on both sides of an interview various times. She believes that you can teach someone the information, but you cannot teach passion; so if you have the passion and bring the energy for the job you are applying to, you will stand out from the rest.

David Giardino, Disney Sports Development Manager, believes that experience and a strong resume is what will help your college application be memorable. Mr. Giardino has helped Disney in a number of capacities and said that you should seize every opportunity that presents itself to you in order to gain knowledge and experience.

Leadership Development

After a number of “meet and greets” with Disney executives, I was invited to go through an official Y.E.S. program. This particular program was on leadership and teamwork. Throughout the three hours we discussed how communication, consensus and teamwork are the foundations to leadership. Without communication there is no consensus, and with no consensus the team does not work, and when you do not have a working team you cannot be a leader.

Channing Swears, Senior Sales Manager, and Eddie Thiebe, Sales Manager, both reiterated these points during my meet and greet with them. They hit home that communication, no matter what you are doing, is the most important trait any leader can have. They also said that finding a role model and mentor who can “shape and mold you” is extremely beneficial in your leadership development.

Safety, Courtesy, Show & Efficiency

Safety, courtesy, show and efficiency are Disney’s “Four Keys” to great customer service. Every single cast member is taught these keys on their first day of training and embody them throughout their careers. Disney’s amazing customer service is evident to all because of these four words.

Disney’s Four Keys can also be used within your life. In whatever you do, first a foremost, make sure it is safe. Then throughout your life be courteous and polite to everyone you meet. Small things such as holding the door open can go a long way. Next is show, make sure you are always putting your best self out in the world. Finally, if you complete the first three then efficiency will follow suit.

These are just a few of the many lessons I was able to learn and the amazing people I was able to meet during my trip to Walt Disney World. I am so honored and grateful for the opportunity to travel to Disney and represent DECA.

The Disney Youth Education Series is an amazing program and I highly encourage DECA members and chapters to participate as a team building and leadership growth opportunity.

Follow Jaron on Twitter @DECA_Jaron.

Categories: Chapter Development, Chapter Resources, Executive Officers, Leadership