As the publishing lead on the Creative Development & Inclusive Strategies team for Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing (CPGP), Andrew Ulang’s ultimate goal is creating happiness for fans and readers of Disney Publishing’s diverse slate of content.
One of Andrew’s earliest memories with books was trips to the local library with his mother. National Geographic picture books were his favorite, sparking his wild and wonderful imagination, and first foray into Disney Publishing.
Andrew started his journey with The Walt Disney Company as a live entertainment performer for Walt Disney World Resort. During his decade-long tenure with the company, he also held roles as a merchandise and entertainment guest experience manager and a senior consultant for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Now, nine months into his current position as the inclusive strategies project manager for CPGP, Andrew is dedicated to creating a special kind of happiness within the organization. The focus of this job is to support and broaden Disney Publishing’s ever-diversifying slate of content and talent, and serve as a key influencer in our global strategy for Disney Publishing.
“I feel like the most rewarding part of my role is that because I work on the global scale, I’m exposed to multiple, rich cultures and heritages around the world. And I have the opportunity to work with some of the best professionals in the publishing industry,” Andrew shared.
Additionally, he happily leads the Dimensions Collective for publishing, which is comprised of Disney Publishing’s DE&I committees from around the world who discuss how to ensure products, experiences and internal practices reflect the audiences we serve.
“In collaboration with our extended creative development and inclusive strategies teams from Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Live Entertainment, the organization is expanding our products, experiences, and teams to ensure they represent all dimensions of diversity. We want to ensure that when we talk about these communities, we’re also bringing in inspirational talent to work and collaborate with Disney,” he explained.
Diverse Voices in Publishing
Andrew recalled as a young Filipino American boy growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, not being able to find many books with Asian representation. Now, he is proud to be part of a team that helps ensure Disney books reflect the world around us.
One example of such is the latest title from New York Times bestselling author, Stacey Lee. The fiction novel, “Rick Riordan Presents: Winston Chu vs The Whimsies”, is a modern reimagining of a classic Chinese folktale. Additionally, Sarwat Chadda’s new novel, “Fury of the Dragon Goddess”, will be available in August and Roshani Chokshi, the award-winning author of the New York Times bestselling fantasy series “Aru Shah”, will release her new fantasy novel, “The Spirit Glass”, with Disney Publishing later this year.
“The publishing field has traditionally not always been reflective of all dimensions of diversity. It’s critical to provide a platform for Asian American and Pacific Islander voices to embed their culture into unique storytelling,” Andrew said. “It’s a way to provide a lens into different cultures and bring things we may not have been able to tell a story about in the past to these platforms so we can amplify those stories.”
Recently, Andrew helped bring the Disney Publishing experience to life at the 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture in New Orleans. Disney celebrated the “Power of Joy” and book lovers were able to interact with books in the Disney booth, get their books signed by authors R.K. Russell (“The Yards Between Us”) and Marisa Moore (“The Plant Love Kitchen”), and attend an insightful panel discussion moderated by Andscape’s executive editor Aliya King Neil, who leads the Black voices and stories imprint of Disney Publishing.
“At ESSENCE Fest, fans had the unique opportunity to experience first-hand inspirational and authentic dialogue from our Black authors. When a community sees themselves, their cultures and their families reflected in our stories and experiences, they feel seen and valued,” Andrew shared.
Andrew is determined to continue making an impact in his role and in the publishing space, paying attention to his passion which is working on expanding and creating avenues for Disney Publishing’s diverse content and talent to be shared with readers of all backgrounds and abilities. He shared sage advice and insight to how he approaches his role.
“I think the biggest piece of advice is always seek to understand. A big part of the creative development and inclusive strategies space is a continuous journey of exploration,” he said. “Take the time to learn about other people, to learn about other cultures and backgrounds, and things that make people different. To make us better as a society, we need to have a collective of differences and a willingness to understand each other more.”
You can discover your next read, including a broad range of our diverse and inclusive books, at Disneybooks.com