Leadership Lessons from Dan Cockerell

Dan Cockerell’s 27 Years of Leadership Lessons Working for Disney – BtR 147

Dan Cockerell took some time on a Saturday morning to share with us his 27 years’ worth of leadership lessons learned while working for Disney. Today, this veteran of The Disney Company is making the transition to keynote speaking and coaching as a profession.

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From Assistant Manager to Vice President, Dan Cockerell is sharing his 27-year career’s leadership lessons.

Leadership Lessons

Dan’s leadership principles put great value on spending time in the park assisting employees, called “cast members,” and interacting with guests. He believes that interpersonal leadership skills are vital in building relationships that succeed in driving the mission of any team or organization. His approachability in the workplace is a testament to his people-first philosophy.

Examples of leadership skills shared in this episode include the following: 

  • Why parents should support their teens in working an afterschool job
  • How parents can set up a Roth IRA for kids and make a matching contribution
  • Why the best executive coaching tip he can provide is the importance of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-care.
  • The key to success in strategic leadership is having conversations with your staff and customers from a place of curiosity.
  • How the understanding of the Johari Window can help you understand why you need the courage to seek and listen to feedback from trusted advisors.

Dan Cockerell Bio

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Building relationships with Cast Members (employees) through genuinely curious conversations. Is that really the secret sauce to effective leadership?

Son of former Disney executive Lee Cockerell, Dan followed his father’s footsteps into leadership and management at The Disney Company.

Dan’s first experience working for Disney was as a participant in the Walt Disney World College Program in Orlando in the summer of 1989, when he worked as a front desk host at the Contemporary Resort.

Cockerell participated in the Disneyland Paris Management Trainee Program in 1991 after graduating from Boston University. Just three months before the opening of Disneyland Paris, he was transferred to France, where he in various management roles for five years.

Over the span of a 27-year career, Dan worked his way up from an Assistant Manager to Vice President of Magic Kingdom. Key roles Dan Cockerell has held include the following:

  • Keynote speaking for Disney Institute for 18 years
  • Board Member of Junior Achievement of Central Florida from 2004-2018
  • 2015-2018 Vice President, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park
  • 2011-2015 Vice President, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • 2009-2011 Vice President, Walt Disney World Epcot Park
  • 2007-2009 General Manager, Magic Kingdom Operations
  • 2006-2007 General Manager, Magic Kingdom Merchandise
  • 2004-2006 General Manager, Disney’s All-Star Resort
  • 2002-2004 General Manager, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort
  • 2001-2002 Rooms Manager, Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
  • 1996-2001 Operations Manager, Epcot Park
  • 1991-1996 Assistant Manager, Disneyland Paris Resort
  • 1989 Walt Disney World College Program

Resources and Links

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Keynote speaker, executive and business coach. Book Dan Cockerell today!

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you Beyond the Rut will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. We have denoted those links with double asterisks like this **.

Book Dan Cockerell for an upcoming event at DanCockerell.com.

Since we connected with Dan Cockerell through Jody Maberry and Lee Cockerell, check out those interviews on Beyond the Rut by clicking the links below.

BtR 027 – Just Take Action and Other Insights from Jody Maberry

BtR 072 – Creating Career Magic with Lee Cockerell

Disney Leadership Principles, Buy it from Amazon

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service** by The Disney Institute

Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney** by Lee Cockerell

**You can read our full Affiliate Disclosure Page here.

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