Throughout the past year – and especially this month – I’ve been truly inspired hearing the voices, stories and contributions of Black and African Americans. What is so special about our cast members is their passion for influencing positive change is not limited to their day-to-day role at Disney, but extends into the communities they live in to make lasting impacts, too. This is something that Leonard Spencer, director, Supplier Diversity, embodies and I’m so excited to share his recent, well-deserved recognition with you.
Leonard leads the team that helps identify suppliers that contribute to experiences and products Disney creates that reflect the diverse backgrounds, traditions and stories of guests, fans and cast – with a focus on making sure everyone is welcome. It’s evident that his dedication to creating meaningful solutions for those who have been historically disadvantaged goes beyond The Walt Disney Company and into the community through his involvement with many philanthropic organizations, such as the Orlando Economic Partnership’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. He successfully led a team to garner support from more than 100 Central Florida organizations to sign a pledge committing their business to creating an inclusive workforce that will establish lasting and important change for their employees of color at all levels.
It’s because of his impactful work fighting for social issues in the Central Florida community he has been recognized as a Social Justice Game Changer by the Orlando Magic Head Coach Clifford. Through this program, Coach Clifford looks to put the spotlight on those continuously doing the hard work, day in and day out, fighting for sustainable change. Extremely grateful for this recognition, Leonard said, “when I can help through mentoring, providing access or connecting a business to resources that help them excel and grow, that’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Last week, Leonard was also invited by the Orlando Magic to be part of a panel discussion with fellow supplier diversity trailblazers to discuss the importance of supporting local minority-owned businesses. Leonard shared that for Disney, inclusion is a critical part in telling the best stories, being relevant and expanding our audiences. “Through our experience we know that, our supplier diversity program not only strengthens us on the inside, but also helps support communities and small and diverse businesses in the community,” he added.
Leonard’s involvement in the community is worth boasting as it includes several philanthropic board positions, such as President of the Achievement Foundation, Co-chair Smithsonian Orlando, and member of the Roper YMCA Board that reflect issues of education, economic empowerment and building healthy communities that are near and dear to his heart. He also continues to support small and diverse business advocacy agencies by working with Supplier Diversity as the Chair of National Entrepreneurship Center, Chair of the Supplier Diversity Leadership Council and Founder of the FSMSDC Corporate Supplier Diversity Roundtable.
I’m humbled to share Leonard’s story and the important work he is doing as we strive to create more diverse and inclusive experiences not just at Disney, but throughout the communities we live in.