Marjorie Colas, senior facilitator for Disney Institute, has always brought a unique perspective to leadership and a passion for inclusion. Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she began her Disney journey supporting Haitian cast members as a language service translator in 2004.
“It was such a unique time. The company was still evolving,” Marjorie said. “We had about 57,000 cast members with a large population who spoke Haitian Creole. So, it was important for the company to communicate to the cast in a language they could understand.”
In 2006, Marjorie was selected to be part of the Walt Disney World Ambassador team alongside Michael Collier. Connecting with the cast and local community was a highlight, along with hearing their stories.
“Disney truly values representation,” Marjorie said. “For the first time there were two people of color representing the company as ambassadors, really showing how we value everyone. I was so honored.”
After her time as an ambassador, Marjorie continued to make connections while working in the operation with housekeeping and custodial teams for more than 10 years at eight different Disney Resort hotels.
“Having the opportunity to learn from the unique environment that Disney provides, but also help leaders to understand how to best support the cast from Haiti was a great privilege and it really impacted me personally,” Marjorie said. “I love seeing how our culture and heritage is celebrated, respected and appreciated.”
Those learnings turned into a new career path when she was brought onto the Disney Institute team as a senior facilitator.
To Marjorie, Disney Institute is one of the best-kept secrets of The Walt Disney Company. Disney Institute provides professional development training to individuals, teams and organizations including through advisory services and courses with a focus on three pillars: Disney’s approach to leadership excellence, quality service and employee engagement.
“We share our framework, best practices and Disney insights to help outside organizations,” Marjorie said. “We give them our secrets to success.”
Marjorie notes her time in the operation working closely with cast members as a driving force for her success and ability to teach others. Laying the foundation to not only share best practices, but also real, everyday examples.
“Every time I am on stage, regardless of which pillar I am facilitating, I always find that the examples I share from my personal experience truly allow me to bring our concepts to life,” Marjorie said. “It’s one thing to give talking points, but telling stories that I have lived make the information so much more applicable.”
Marjorie says one of the most magical parts of her role is traveling worldwide to help companies develop a better framework and also learn how to achieve greater results. Facilitators travel in pairs which makes the experience even more fun and educational.
“Disney Institute is like a small family and it’s so rewarding to grow together,” Marjorie said. “Everyone has so much to offer and such diverse backgrounds that every time you are on stage with someone you are learning something new from them.”
And the team also learns from the diverse set of clients. Marjorie shares that her favorite part is meeting new clients and organizations with different business needs. “While we’re teaching them, we’re also learning from them. I love being able to see people grow, so that’s what makes facilitating a dream job.”
While she’s learned to love public speaking throughout her time at Disney, in the long run it’s not about what she says, but rather the difference it makes for her audience.
“Seeing that ‘lightbulb’ turn on for our client when we share an idea, insight or concept,” Marjorie says. “Knowing they were able to gain something that they can bring back to their organization. At the end of the day, that’s all we want, is to be able to make an impact.”
For more stories highlighting our cast, check the Disney Cast Life blog.