As part of our celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth, we’re bringing you stories about our talented cast members and the important work they’re doing across Disney. Last week we introduced you to Demarcus Johnson and shared how he’s helping create authentic representation across our products, games and publishing groups.
Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Chris Sheppard, director of Event Strategy and Broadcast Production at Disneyland Resort, and share how he’s helping grow the next generation of Black leaders at Disney.
For Chris, Black History Month is an important time for reflection about everything and everyone who came before him. Chris draws his inspiration from those who embody Black history – and it’s a time when he thinks of his grandmother, who worked hard to give her children and grandchildren a better life.
“My family is forever grateful that our grandparents, aunts and uncles were brave enough and had the foresight to think about the future opportunities for their children and children’s children,” he shared.
At 17, Chris was hired at Disneyland, where he worked at Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. From there he progressed in his career, holding roles in operations, marketing, and special events. As he’s grown at Disney, he’s had the opportunity to work all over the world, including on the grand opening of both Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and he even worked on a project at the Rose Garden at the White House.
Today, as an executive, Chris is chair of PULSE, one of the Business Employee Resource Groups at Disneyland Resort, where he works as a champion for career networking and professional development opportunities for Black cast members and promotes authentic representation for the Black experience in our products and experiences and works with other cast members to explore and share business insights.
“It’s critical to be able to see yourself reflected in leadership,” he said. “There has been a long history of under-representation of Black leadership and leaders of color in general. So hopefully this can have a positive impact on changing this as we move forward.”
Stay tuned as we continue to celebrate our cast members with more inspiring stories like Chris’ throughout February. Follow along on social, as we continue to showcase our trailblazers on Disney Parks, Experiences & Products handles: Instagram: @DisneyParksBlog, Twitter: @DisneyParks, and Facebook: @DisneyParksBlog.