Dan Cockerell is the former Vice-President of the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida. Dan is an international speaker, inspiring storyteller, industry expert, virtual COO, and coach who draws on his 26-year career with the Walt Disney World Company to provide customized, authentic presentations and programming focusing on leadership and management practices.
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Testimonials for Dan Cockerell
Dan’s wise words memorized our team from entry level employees to veteran executives. The unparalleled experiences that Dan had to share from his 26-years with The Walt Disney Company was outstandingly received by our team. He is a true leader in every definition and the ingenuity in which he shares his lessons of leadership stays true to the heart and soul of the company he led for so many years.”
Brett Axler, Google gTech
We invited Dan to talk with our organization about the leadership, management, and culture-building insights and strategies from his book, HOW’S THE CULTURE IN YOUR KINGDOM, and it was one of the best attended and best received sessions we’ve ever had! One of Dan’s great strengths is his ability to explain how to apply real-life examples taken from his various jobs and roles at Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World to other industries and domains. Our business is a far cry from theme park operations – we develop and sell enterprise software to the utilities industry – but Dan was able to show us how we can adapt lessons learned from the examples from the Disney parks that he describes in his book to what we do.
Anyone looking for insights in leadership and management, and in building a thriving culture should look to invite Dan to work with their organization. His combination of passion, creativity, and humility make him a great facilitator, teacher, and coach who can bring out the best in you and your team.
Lou Prosperi Senior Manager, Oracle Utilities
“Dan is an awesome speaker – he has a natural style, a commanding presence, and a valuable message. We had the opportunity to invite Dan to our campus to kick off our first College of Business Student Services Forum. Dan has a strong and identifiable personal brand – I would highly recommend him as a keynote.”
Donna Margolis, Owner, Interim HealthCare of Southern Illinois & Southern Iowa
Fee Range: POA
Dan Cockerell's Biography
Dan Cockerell is the former Vice-President of the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida.
Dan is an international speaker, inspiring storyteller, industry expert, virtual COO, and coach who draws on his 26-year career with the Walt Disney World Company to provide customized, authentic presentations and programming focusing on leadership and management practices.
Dan Cockerell attended Boston University, graduating in 1991, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. An avid rugby player, he was selected for the 1990 and 1991 USA Collegiate All-American Rugby team, and was Captain for the 1991 team. Upon graduation from Boston University in 1991, Dan moved to Florida and worked as a parking attendant at Disney’s Epcot Center.
Subsequently, he joined the Disneyland Paris Management Trainee Program. He was transferred to France to join the opening team of Disneyland Paris three months prior to the grand opening. While in France, he held various management positions in Park Operations. He and his wife Valerie, who was also with Disneyland Paris, were married in France and spent five years there before moving back to Orlando in 1997. Since that time they have raised three children – Jullian, Margot and Tristan.
Dan has held various executive operations roles at the Walt Disney World Resort, both in the theme parks and resort hotels, and retired as the Vice President of the Magic Kingdom where he led 12,000 cast members and entertained over 20 millions guests annually.
He earned his MBA in 2001 at the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College. In addition to his operational responsibilities, Dan was a keynote speaker for the world-renowned Disney Institute for 18 years.
He has addressed open-enrollment participants as well as attendees in customized 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. He served on the board of Junior Achievement of Central Florida from 2004-2018, and was Chairman in 2010.
After a fulfilling and exciting 26-year career with the Walt Disney Company, Dan and Valerie made the decision to set out on a new venture and start their own consulting and speaking business.
Dan learned that storytelling can be a powerful tool to convey a message in the most relatable way possible. In his various executive roles in the company, he used storytelling as a tool to lead and inspire his employees and share his vision for his organization. His experience in building and cultivating great culture combined with his storytelling ability provide entertaining and informative insights that are relevant to any organization regardless of size or industry.
Dan’s virtual keynotes are also highly insightful and informative and have received excellent feedback from those lucky enough to experience them.
Speaking Topics Include
How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom?
Lessons from a Disney Leadership Journey
How's the Culture in Your Kingdom helps prepare leaders to lead their team by teaching them how to:
Surround themselves with the right people
Build trusting relationships
Set clear expectations
And provide regular feedback, positive and critical
Lessons in Customer Service
Dan shares the importance of leading a “customer centric” organization and continuously improve the experience based on clients’ expectations, needs, and feedback, the function of a common purpose, and how it focuses employees’ attention on the customer experience, above and beyond their specific role. Dan shares many more valuable insights based ion the Disney model of customer service.
Leading, Managing and Improving the Organisation – Safety and Wellness, the base of Maslow’s pyramid: If your employees are injured and unhealthy, all other goals get harder to reach. Creating a world-class safety culture requires not only expertise, planning, and prioritization, but most importantly requires visible leadership support, and an eye on leading indicators.
Dan is a retired 26 year Disney veteran who started parking cars at Epcot and after 19 different roles, finished his career as Vice President, Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida leading 12,000 cast members at the largest theme park in the world.
Valerie started her career as a cultural representative at the French Pavilion at Epcot. She subsequently held various management roles in retail and assortment planning, at both Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line. She finished her Disney career as a facilitator for the world renowned Disney Institute.
Drawing upon their combined 41 years of Disney leadership experience, Dan and Valerie facilitate half day and full day workshops outlining their approach to building a culture of excellence that leads to world class leadership and customer service. During the session, Valerie shares her expertise on creating a framework that fosters empowerment and employee engagement. Dan continues the day in an interactive and conversational format sharing leadership insights and real life experiences from his various roles at Disney.
The “Method to the Magic Workshop”
Drawing upon their combined 41 years of Disney experience, Dan and Valerie facilitate the “Method to the Magic” workshop outlining their approach to building a great culture that stems from world class leadership and results in customer service excellence.
Valerie, former Disney Institute Facilitator, describes in detail how to build a framework that fosters empowerment and employee engagement. Dan continues the session in an interactive and conversational format, sharing leadership insights and tactics as well as real life stories from his various roles at Disney.
To create an inclusive learning environment, the workshop combines traditional teaching methods with insight-based learning, visual presentations, interactive tasks, and group work.
The key difference between their workshop and others is that they are not professional facilitators. They are business leaders who love to teach. They are willing to customize the session to fit your needs and are open to discussing their successes and failures as tools to better illustrate their points.
The “Method to the Magic” workshop
Duration: 6-8 hours
Number of participants: up to 50
Format: insight-based teaching, combined with activities and group conversations