Reflecting on Disney’s Veterans Summit

For the last 2 days I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Disney Institute’s Veterans Institute. At first, I thought this might be something I can’t totally relate to, but knowing Disney Institute, I figured I could relate more than most. I’m so happy I could learn not only from Disney leaders, but Veterans and military spouses leaders as well. Understanding where they come from, their core beliefs, thought processes, adjustment needs and loyalty to an organization.

As a child I was lucky to attend Red Hill Elementary School, a public school with a large population of students whose parents were military. I could relate to understanding somewhat as friends came and went during my elementary days when their family had to PCS/relocate. I myself had thought about the adjustment military personnel go through, but didn’t think about once a service member retires and joins a new organization. Their thinking might be different than the corporate world, but their loyalty to an organization is commendable. I didn’t think about until now how the military has different equivalencies to positions like Disney (and even education organizations) too.

There are so many takeaways that I’ve learned in 2 days, but in a “post-covid” world, one of the most important things is to embrace, learn and check on your people. Rear Admiral Jo-Ann Burdian said it best – “Heads up, check up!” and “You don’t have to be sick to get better.”

I’m also lucky that I have those at Disney Institute like Paula to let me know about opportunities to learn from. This time, I’m humbled to be able to listen to Veterans and military spouses alongside them as well. Mahalo to all of those at Disney Institute and Wounded Warriors Project for making this event possible! Special Mahalo to Julianna Alley, Scott Vedder and Kevin Preston for keeping me alert and engaged, especially when I would need to wake up by 3:30am Hawaii time.

More information for Veterans can be found at

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