November 20, 2019 marked my 25th Anniversary with The Walt Disney Company (TWDC). It seems almost unreal that I have arrived at this moment in my career. Time does fly when you are having fun.
In 1994, with two thousand dollars in my bank account and a huge dream, I rented a truck and moved from Miami to Orlando. Then, I drove to the Disney Casting Center in Lake Buena Vista and applied for any job I could get. A short time after, I was working at the Disney Reservation Center (DRC) as a Sales Agent.
In following my artistic dream, I built my art portfolio and applied for all creative roles that came available. Just a year and a half later, my artistic career began as an animation artist for the Magic of Disney Animation Tour. This experience and exposure led to a new opportunity with Ink and Paint where I painted collectible animation cels for 5 years. Working there also allowed me the once in a lifetime chance to tour the United States and Canada with the Hercules Mega Mall Tour and be part of the Animation Celebration that the Studios hosted in 1997. My career then transitioned to the graphic arts.
During all these years, I have learned so much from some amazing artists and leaders. Ralph Kent, who was instrumental in keeping Mickey Mouse character model standards and who worked directly with Disney, taught me techniques for fine line quality in animation drawing, something I have never forgotten. There have also been so many great leaders that have taught me so much and have allowed me to expand my creativity and grow my career.
The power to affect change is one of the most important achievements I feel that I have made while working for Disney, indirectly through my work and directly through my relationships and interactions with the diverse and talented Cast Members. It is not about me in the end, it is about leaving a legacy for others as those that came before me. Just like Ralph and others truly made an impact in my life, now I am doing the same for the younger generations through mentoring and sharing my talent with insightful conversations about the world of art and design. Just last month, I was humbled with an invitation to speak at the Disney Hispanic Heritage Month celebration where along with three other fantastic Disney artists, we were able to share and celebrate our personal Latino journeys while working at Disney.
Someone asked me not long ago what the fondest memory has been of my quarter century with Disney. I didn’t even have to think about it. A month later after starting my job at Disney, I met the love of my life and the person I am so lucky to have shared the last 25 years with. Jim is also celebrating his 25th Anniversary with Disney in December.
My Disney journey continues today at Partners Federal Credit Union where along with an incredibly talented marketing team, we work to building a better tomorrow for all our Cast. That in itself is incredibly rewarding. It is equally gratifying to volunteer my talent and time to support the Disney Business Employee Resource Groups. It feels so good to know that my work is helping the Disney culture grow and strengthen.
I have to thank so many mentors, co-workers and leaders that I am so proud to call my friends. Some may have moved on from the company, but we still stick like glue. We have supported and celebrated each other through all our highs and lows. I have to also thank a very special person; someone I feel I know so well but never got to meet. Walt Disney, of course. He believed. He made his dreams come true with perseverance never looking back at failure but forward toward his vision. For me, he has been the model to look up to and the inspiration for never ever giving up on my dreams. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your dream for 25 years.