More than 500 Cast Members from Walt Disney World Resort recently gathered at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort for the launch of the Women’s Inclusion Network, the latest of Disney’s diversity resource groups. The event, which highlighted leadership, empowerment, advocacy and development among women and men, encouraged Cast Members to achieve their greatest potential and create a legacy of inclusion.
“The mission of this group is to elevate and highlight the powerful influence of diverse women on our culture, people and market, as champions of education, development, mentorship and sponsorship,” said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president, Walt Disney World Park Operations.
The concept for the Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) began in 2014 with a group of Walt Disney Imagineers who recognized a need to organize resources for the women in their division. During the event, Disney executives led a panel discussion that touched on intersectionality, success, challenges and self-worth.
“Be a leader no matter your age or experience,” said Valerie Ferguson, regional general manager, Walt Disney World Resort Operations and a member of the panel. “Always stay learning, ask questions and do not be afraid to take risks that could benefit your future. Empower yourself.”
The group’s launch event was attended not only by women from various Disney lines of business, but many men.
“It was amazing to see the diversity of Cast Members,” Filipa Douma, duty manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and another WIN member. “We had men and women from hourly, salaried and executive levels. It shows that the need for dialogue and inclusion transcends gender identity and position within the company.”
WIN joins the wide range of diversity resource groups available to Cast Members at Walt Disney World Resort. Amy Reinbolt, guest experience integration manager, also a WIN member who co-led efforts on making the launch event a reality, summarized the launch: “WIN will bring together Disney’s talented and inspirational female Cast to focus on supporting each other through sponsorship, education, networking and inclusion.”