Disney Cast Member Reflects on Years of Mentorship with Military and Hispanic Community

Lily Mendoza

by , Partnership Strategy Manager

Here at Disney, I lead partnership strategy efforts for Disney Institute and National Geographic Live. I’m also the co-lead for HOLA, our Florida-based employee resource group for our Hispanic and Latin American cast and allies. At home, I’m a wife to a Marine veteran and a mom of three – two of whom are cast members, as well.

In all these roles, I have been able to witness and participate in mentorship, and learn just how important mentorship is to one’s personal and professional development – whether in a structured setting or in everyday practice. 

It all started a few years ago, when I began mentoring military spouses as they faced the challenges that come with having a family member or spouse deployed. This experience was very impactful for me because I was able relate to my mentees as a military spouse myself. I listened to them and was able to bring my own personal stories of when my husband was deployed in the Persian Gulf War to the discussion.  

This experience prepared me for the opportunity to help design our best practices of hiring, training and supporting veterans and military spouses as part of Disney’s Heroes Work Here program and to lead the partnership and sponsorship efforts for Veterans Institute Summit at ESPN Wide World of Sports earlier this year. At the event, I had the pleasure of meeting many active-duty military, veterans, military spouses and caregivers. I learned a lot about the challenges and opportunities that our service families face today, including the complexities of career transitions from military to civilian. It was the most impactful moment in my 20 years with Disney and is one of the reasons why I am so proud to celebrate National Veterans and Military Families Month this month. 

Over the years I’ve felt moved to take my passion and experience for mentorship and channel it into a connection with my fellow Hispanic cast members. So, when we moved to Orlando, I became involved with HOLA local networking events and later, joined the leadership team.

Lily Mendoza and fellow Cast Members

In the years ahead, I look forward to supporting the professional and personal development of Hispanic and Latin American cast members in the workplace. I hope to give a voice and actively support the Hispanic Community that is growing larger and more influential each year.    

One way I am achieving this mission is by supporting the re-launch of our mentorship program, Mano a Mano / Together Hand in Hand. The program was created by the HOLA BERG in 2009 with the mission to offer participants a supportive and culturally diverse environment that champions the professional development of cast members but is now open to cast members of all diverse backgrounds.  

As a participating mentor in the program, I strive to inspire my mentees as my mentors have inspired me while heightening the focus on Hispanic representation.   

Comments

  • love your story, Lily!

  • Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do, Lily!