Written by Brianna Price
On February 19th, over 200 people gathered at Heartland Church to experience Disney magic at our Leadership Summit Presented by CenterState Bank. Guests heard from Jody Dreyer, who is a former Senior Executive for The Walt Disney World Company, as she spoke about the "magic behind the magic that isn't really magic." Most of us think that Disney has the secret potion for a perfect business, but Jody shared that it's only because of Walt's dream, hardworking imagineers and corporate synergy that keep Disney at the top of the ranks.
As you can imagine, this event was FULL of Disney. From the Disney instrumentals when you walked in the door to the whimsical backdrop done by Heartland, our guests were taken into a "whole new world." Of course, Jody brought even more magic! She started her presentation with Disney trivia and you would be surprised how many people were stumped by Jody's questions. Regardless of if you had the right answers to her questions, it was a great way to jump start the summit.
Jody took a deep dive into Disney's history, her history with Disney and the recipe to the special magic that we experience when we watch a Disney movie, visit a Disney theme park or try a Disney product. It's no secret that Walt Disney World has cracked the code to success in business, but how did they do it? It's simple. It all started with Walt and a Mouse.
Walt Disney was a man of curiosity, determination and imagination. After his first character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was taken away from him due to copyright issues, he was forced to put that imagination to hard work. That was when Mortimer Mouse, now known as Mickey Mouse, was born.
Mickey Mouse catapulted Walt's career and gave him the courage to continue to push the envelope in his industry. Walt went on to create Snow White, which was his first animated feature film in technicolor. People told Walt that this film would fall flat and that children would never sit long enough to watch a longer movie. But Walt didn't listen to the nay-sayers! Because he believed in his idea Snow White was a huge success and even won an Academy Award (which humorously was also presented with 7 dwarf Academy Award statues).
Pushing the envelope is and will aways be the theme of Walt's story and, in turn, the story for The Walt Disney Company. They would continue to push the limits of "normal" business practices and imagination to create a magical experience through their movies, theme parks and more.
Jody did, however, refer to the "magic" as not really magic at all! Of course, Disney has been intentional in making sure that the consumer feels the "magic," but in reality the magic is only created by people working hard behind the scenes. It's not always perfect, but Jody says, "We might not have it all together: But together we have it all."
Jody shared her "4 C's" to creating magic that comes alive in our businesses, personal life and more.
In order to see your business, relationships or dreams be successful, you first have to have the right characters. When filling a position in the office or brainstorming and creating a new position, it's important to focus on "casting the right character" for that role. With the right people in the right position, your business can thrive and the customers you serve will continue to come back for more!
Jody also talked about the word cultivate. Think of a farmer and how he has to cultivate the land in order to see a crop grow. Just like the farmer, we have the responsibility of cultivating the right talent, business models, integrity and new ideas to see future growth. Many times the cultivation process takes time, but it's through that hard work of planting new seed when you see something strong and successful grow!
Commitment is a point that has clearly been implemented because of Walt's legacy. He never did anything half-way and always saw his dreams and ideas through to completion. Even when the dream isn't easily understood or it seems like an insurmountable idea, commitment will help you reach the end successfully.
Celebrate was the last "C" on Jody's list! When all of the hard work is done and the dream has been reached, don't forget to celebrate. After a long process of "casting," cultivating and committing to the dream, everyone deserves to celebrate their hard work.
After Jody shared the the "4 C's" with us, she sat down with the President of the Winter Haven Chamber, Katie Worthington Decker, for a Q & A. Katie had some great questions for Jody, but we also welcomed guests in the crowd to ask Jody anything they wanted! We were excited to give our attendees a chance to chat with someone as well-respected and successful as Jody. She answered questions about her favorite Disney characters, old Disney projects, her time as the Disney Ambassador and so much more.
Our Leadership Summit has given the community a chance to hear from high-caliber speakers who give an inside look at their success and how they got to where they are today. We would like to thank CenterState Bank for being the Presenting Sponsor of this event and bringing Jody on as this year's speaker. We gained a wealth of knowledge about creating magic and we hope you did too!
Thank you to our supporting sponsors: Tinsley Family Concessions, ASAP Prints, Chick-Fil-A, Heartland Church, Cielo Gift Baskets, Dr. George W. Butz III DDS, Webber International University and Tampa Electric.
We will see you at next year's Leadership Summit!