For the first time, all four of the Walt Disney World theme parks are led by women and Disney Parks Blog has taken the time to give us more information on each of them and their inspirations in celebration of Women’s History Month.

What’s Happening:

  • Disney Parks Blog has published an article going over the women now leading the Walt Disney World Resort in the theme parks and also at security.
  • For the first time in the resort’s history, all four of the theme parks have women vice presidents.

Jackie Swisher – Vice President of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Jackie had joined Disney’s Hollywood Studios last year with 15 years of leadership experience. Her previous role was vice president of Worldwide Safety Services.
  • Jackie makes it a priority to seek out opinions that give her a new perspective on situations.
  • “I think it’s important to learn from women (and men) who don’t look like me or who have an opinion that is different than mine.”

Kartika Rodriguez – Vice President of EPCOT

  • Kartika is making history as the first Black, female vice president to lead a Walt Disney World theme park, previously serving as General Manager of EPCOT Operations the past five years.
  • She had always been impressed with the women in leadership roles she had seen, paving the way for where she is today.
  • “I hope my achievements inspire other women of color to pursue their passions and there are many more “firsts” for women of color.”

Melissa Valiquette – Vice President of Magic Kingdom

  • Melissa was previously at EPCOT the past six years and will now be overlooking Magic Kingdom during the 50th anniversary.
  • During her career, she would try to emulate her male peers, which brought awareness to some of the challenges of being a women in leadership.
  • Meg Crofton, former Walt Disney World President, was a role model for her as she started to bring in her own style of leadership.
  • “Through her example, I learned that leadership shines through, regardless of size, volume, or gender. I began to embrace my own inherent style that allowed me to grow and feel comfortable in my own skin.”

Sarah Riles – Vice President Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Sarah has had previous roles in Industrial Engineering, Operations, Business Optimization, and more.
  • Her inspiration comes from women who have confidence in their values and lead from the heart.
  • She told the Disney Parks Blog about a leader she met who had left her family in Taiwan to work at Disney.
  • “When she came here, she didn’t know how to do a lot of the things we take for granted. Now she is a successful leader with an inspiring story of bravery, risk-taking and following your dreams. Those are the types of courageous women that I admire most!”

Linda Reid – Vice President of Security

  • Linda has previously led other security teams outside of Disney before coming over to the company.
  • She is optimistic that being a female leader in a typically male-dominated field can help others realize that they can follow their dreams.
  • “Limitations — regardless of gender —are self-imposed and we should all have the courage to follow our h hearts to our dreams.”

To learn more about each of them, you can check out the full article on the Disney Parks Blog.

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