Former Disney VP, Expert on Leadership & Service & Keynote Speaker
Dan Cockerell knows how to create experiences that generate massive smiles, unbridled laughter and life-long memories. As former vice president of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Florida, he was responsible for the daily operations of the world’s largest theme park. During his time at the helm of Magic Kingdom, Dan oversaw the experiences of 12,000 cast members and over 20 million annual visitors.
As well as running the daily operations at Magic Kingdom, Dan was a keynote speaker for the world-renowned Disney Institute for 18 years. Drawing on his unique experiences and a powerful people-first leadership philosophy, he now travels the world consulting and delivering customised, authentic presentations that focus on leadership and management practices. Dan’s stories are relevant, engaging and inspiring for audiences from all sectors of business and government.
More about Dan Cockerell:
Dan first joined Disney in 1989 as a participant of the Walt Disney World’s College Program, where he worked in resort parking and front desk guest services at hotels. Upon graduation from Boston University, he was selected into Disney’s Management Trainee Program and joined the task force to open Disneyland Paris. He was transferred to France and worked in various management positions in guest relations, main entrance operations, food and beverage, and attractions.
After five years in France, Dan returned to Walt Disney World Florida where he held successive executive positions in both resort hotels and theme parks. These roles grew from General Manager of the All Star Resort to later becoming Vice President of Disney’s Epcot Center theme park, followed by serving as Vice President of Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, and culminating in becoming Vice President of the Magic Kingdom theme park. Responsible for daily operations of the largest theme park in the world, Dan oversaw the experiences of 12,000 cast members and over 20 million annual visitors.
In addition to his operational responsibilities, Dan has been a keynote speaker for the world-renowned Disney Institute for 18 years. He has addressed open- enrolment participants as well as attendees in customised programs including the USAA Bank, General Motors, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Army, the Southern Methodist University Business School, Porsche A.G., and United Airlines. He also participated in the Sodexo Quality Life Worldwide Conference Panel, moderated by Arianna Huffington, in 2015.
Dan started his own company in May 2018 and now travels the world for consulting and speaking engagements where he advocates his people-first leadership philosophy.
Dan earned his B.A. in political science and government from Boston University and his MBA from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College. He has served on the board of Junior Achievement of Central Florida since 2004 and was Chairman in 2010.
Dan Cockerell speaks about:
Culture is like the Weather – The weather is the environment that Mother Nature influences, and culture is the environment that leaders influence. If you want the best chance for success in your organization, focus on your culture. When your employees feel confident, respected, and valued, great things happen. Dan talks about how he approached influencing the culture of the Magic Kingdom, and the 12,000 Cast members he led.
Lead Yourself First – Before you can lead your people or your organization, you need to learn how to lead yourself. This is counter intuitive, but the reality is that in order to compete at the highest levels, you need to feel good, think clearly, and bring the energy that others will respond to. Dan shares his approach on how he prepared himself to effectively lead his Magic Kingdom team.
World Class Customer Service – What is the difference between very good and excellent? Your customers expect to get a “very good” experience every time when interacting with your product and your people. “Excellent” is the next level of service that will differentiate your organisation and insure your customers return, and recommend you to others. Dan will discuss what he has learned about the guest experience, and what it takes to create magic.
The Customer Does Not Come First – In order to create a sustained excellent experience for your customer, you first need to create a sustained excellent experience for your employees. Dan will talk about the value chain, and how putting your leadership focus on your employees will lead to great service and positive business results.