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Director, External Affairs (Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts)

Apply Now Apply Later Job ID 524983BR Location Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States; Orlando, Florida, United States Business Disney Parks & Resorts Brand Disney Parks & Resorts Date posted 02/08/2018
“We create happiness.” That’s our motto at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. And it permeates everything we do. At Disney, you’ll help inspire that magic by enabling our teams to push the limits of entertainment and create the never-before-seen!

The Director, External Affairs is responsible for the development and implementation of cross-functional corporate citizenship and issue management strategies that support and enhance the reputation of Walt Disney World and drive business priorities. This role will work closely with internal business leaders at WDW as well as key leaders in the stakeholder community to anticipate how different audiences will react to different events, messages and channels through which the information is received. This leader will partner with stakeholders to develop and implement philanthropic strategies that protect and enhance the reputation of Walt Disney World, and collaborate on strategic communications to effectively promote the interests of the resort with nonprofit organizations and external stakeholders.

Additionally, this role will be responsible for leading site specific reputation research efforts. This research will help inform business and public affairs leaders as they develop strategies to drive reputation, meet business objectives and engage in the local community. The key areas of focus for this role include issue management, strategic philanthropy, community leader outreach, stakeholder engagement, research, and cross-functional projects.

This position will:
  • Collaborate with cross-functional partners in the development and implementation of public affairs strategies.
  • Work closely with senior leaders to proactively identify and address community, reputational, and stakeholder challenges related to the implementation of business decisions.
  • Collaborate with internal and external key partners in the development and implementation of corporate responsibility activities, policies, and philanthropic programs that address critical community needs while supporting the overall direction of the business.
  • Lead stakeholder and economic impact research and increase understanding of the expectations of general consumers, general public influences, policy elites, Guests, and Cast Members.
  • Implement and sustain proactive strategies to address stakeholder issues, in partnership with WDW leadership, functional areas and worldwide public affairs.
  • Advise and support senior site leadership on all matters related to community and philanthropic support and engagement.
  • Oversee and drive unique communication methods for driving brand and reputational awareness related to corporate citizenship activities that have broad impact to the business.
  • Act as a consultant and strategic thought partner to senior leadership and business partners in creating and implementing solutions to community challenges.


  • Issue Management: Lead issue management process and assist WDW in assessing, prioritizing, and addressing reputational risks and opportunities. Elevate emerging issues where appropriate. Provide issues tracking and trend analysis for public affairs and lines of business. Oversee requests for issue briefs on specific topics. Lead the development of strategic plans to address and manage specific issues. Lead project teams associated with the development of issue management plans.
  • Communications: Develop positioning, messaging and obtain approvals for specific issue-related and other topics as assigned. Work closely with external communications team to develop strategic communications plans for various stakeholder audiences as appropriate. Create communication pieces as assigned.
  • Corporate Citizenship and Philanthropy: Work with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts corporate citizenship partners to implement the corporate and segment philanthropy strategy.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Build strategic alliances and coalitions with key constituency groups whose work and missions are aligned with the company’s priorities.
  • Research: Manage WDW’s reputation and economic research and leverage information to develop plans to enhance effectiveness of public affairs efforts and programs. Partner with alliances to research and ensure new business relationships compliment WDW’s reputation.
  • Best Practices: Advise leadership on best practices with respect to public affairs. Monitor and analyze the strategies, policies and programs of other companies and track marketplace trends.
  • Goals and Measurement: In collaboration with corporate and public affairs leaders across Parks and Resorts, develop appropriate goals and metrics and process for measuring WDW’s performance with respect to public affairs objectives. Develop metrics to support investment recommendations and to demonstrate value to business.
  • Business Integration: Develop corporate responsibility and charitable giving strategies that are meant to enhance the business.
  • Leadership: Direct the coordination of cross-functional public affairs initiatives and the Corporate Citizenship team. Direct the day-to-day management of corporate citizenship processes and programs to ensure that goals are maximized and resources are used effectively and efficiently. Serve as a subject-matter-expert and provide counsel for site-specific programs.
  • Employee Volunteerism: Partner with site leadership teams to oversee VoluntEARs program that is linked to the Company’s citizenship mission and goals, with research and metrics to support.
  • Fiscal Planning: Develop an understanding of the fiscal impact of WDW’s public affairs priorities. Develop and manage an annual operating budget and provide regular updates to functional leaders.

Basic Qualifications

  • Minimum of 10 years experience in a public affairs role.
  • Prior experience in devising and/or implementing public affairs programs.
  • Proven experience in devising and implementing corporate responsibility programs and a strong understanding of community relations in Florida.
  • Demonstrated ability to anticipate trends and issues in business and society that affect the Company’s reputation.
  • Excellent written communication skills; excellent verbal skills, including public speaking, meeting facilitation and presentations.
  • Demonstrated research skills, including ability to analyze and interpret data.
  • Strong business and financial acumen.
  • Proven strong conflict management skills.
  • Proven process/continuous improvement skills.
  • Demonstrated project management, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to partner with and influence others and ability to work in a team environment.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced/complex organization.
  • Resilient and able to adapt to significant challenges.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience within industry.
  • Experience within company.
  • Specific experience in one of the key disciplines: corporate citizenship, communications, external affairs, government relations.
  • Previous international/global experience

Required Education

  • Bachelor’s degree in communication, business, political science or related field.

Preferred Education

  • MBA or advanced degree in relevant field preferred.

Company Overview

The Walt Disney Company is a world-class entertainment and technological leader. Walt’s passion was to continuously envision new ways to move audiences around the world—a passion that remains our touchstone in an enterprise that stretches from theme parks, resorts and a cruise line to sports, news, movies and a variety of other businesses. Uniting each endeavor is a commitment to creating and delivering unforgettable experiences — and we’re constantly looking for new ways to enhance these exciting experiences. Bring your individual talents here and discover for yourself why a career with Disney is the opportunity you’ve been looking for.

“It takes people to make the dream a reality.” Walt was on to something when he said that, and it continues to ring true today. No matter the stage in your career, being a part of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts means being a part of a team where you help bring innovation to life through unsurpassed products, services and most importantly remarkable experiences. As a Cast Member you are the steward and connection to our legacy and the backbone of our thriving innovations. Join our team and watch your dreams come true.

Additional Information

This position is a legal entity of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, an equal opportunity employer.
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