When Sarah Chapman graduated from high school, she wore her cap, gown and something special: a traditional Hawaiian lei gifted to her by her family. Originally, Sarah was hesitant to wear her lei since she would stand out from her peers, but after encouragement from her family and principal, wore it proudly as she received her degree.
“It seems crazy that I ever felt the need to get permission to be my authentic self,” Sarah said. “I love that I work for a company that allows me to share my culture and heritage.”
After graduation, Sarah joined Walt Disney World as an attractions host, where her managers fostered a welcoming environment that encouraged everyone to be their true and authentic selves. Now as a guest experience manager at EPCOT, she takes those learnings and advocates celebrating the diverse backgrounds of her own cast each day.
“I had great leaders who found ways to challenge and support me, helping me get to where I am today,” she said. “Now I get to return the favor to my cast and watch them succeed.”
Not only does Sarah share her own culture each day in her role at EPCOT, but she is also welcoming the Xandarian culture to World Discovery in the park’s newest attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Whether celebrating the diversity of her cast members from Terra (“Earth”) or the planet Xandar, Sarah ensures everyone can bring their authentic selves to work every day. EPCOT is a worldwide family, after all!
“I was always told that I’m too loud or too excited, and that if I wanted to get ahead, I needed to fit in. I’m proud to work for a company that not only embraces our differences, but encourages and celebrates them,” Sarah shared.
While this year’s Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month might be coming to an end, Sarah’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of inclusivity, honoring your culture and creating an environment where everyone can feel comfortable being their authentic selves.