One of the most important ingredients to success is surrounding yourself with people who recognize and believe in your potential. For Daniela, an associate on the Global Operations team, she found a network of champions at Disney, made up of cast members from across the company, who helped her land her dream job and earn a college degree through the Disney Aspire education program.
Mentors Guide the Way to the Disney Aspire Program
While working at Disney Springs, Daniela had a chance meeting with the person who would become her first mentor within the company. “Toward the end of my shift, I met a cast member who specialized in Corporate Tax,” Daniela said. “We connected over our shared passion for business and my interest in exploring the field of Human Resources. I couldn’t believe it when she gave me her business card and asked to stay in touch.”
That connection proved to be invaluable to Daniela’s success in growing her career. Soon thereafter, she was introduced to colleagues in The Walt Disney Company’s Human Resources department who shared career advice, resume tips and helped strengthen her business acumen.
“My Disney family has been a tremendous support,” Daniela said. “People who hardly even knew me, believed in me and gave me a chance.” With guidance from these cast members, Daniela enrolled in the Disney Aspire program and earned a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Business from the University of Central Florida. “The program changed my life, because it opened doors of opportunity for me to grow both academically and professionally.”
Advanced schooling wasn’t something Daniela ever thought would be feasible for her and her family before coming to work for Disney and talking with these mentors.
“Growing up in an immigrant family, I didn’t think attending college was possible,” Daniela stated. “The financial burden was always subconsciously there. But when I came to work for Disney, that was no longer an issue. I could continue to grow and go to college without having to worry about the cost of tuition.”
Pursuing Higher Education & Supporting Fellow Cast Members
Daniela didn’t stop after earning her bachelor’s degree. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Human Resources also from the University of Central Florida, again through the education program. Like Daniela, eligible full-time and part-time hourly cast members can complete one degree at each level– from getting a certificate or GED to completing a master’s degree through Disney Aspire schools.
“I can continue to apply to professional roles, grow my skillset, learn and giving back to the company that is investing in me with my education,” Daniela remarked.
For Daniela, paying it forward is especially important. She enjoys sharing her story because she wants to motivate the next person looking to achieve their dreams, but not sure how. One of the most rewarding aspects of her current role on the Global HR Team is the ability to help her fellow cast members who are facing similar obstacles.
“I hope to inspire people with my story by helping them understand that I never imagined myself working in Human Resources for a large company like Disney. When people hear my story, I want them to see themselves and know that it’s not about where you come from, but rather how much motivation and determination you have to get to where you want to go.”