After working in the theme park industry at both Six Flags Darien Lake and Walt Disney World as part of the Disney College Program, 2019 grad Joe Giambra successfully secured a full-time role back in Florida with the Walt Disney Company as a guest experience manager at Disney Springs.
How did you secure the opportunity?
I began with The Walt Disney Company in September of 2017 when I participated in the Disney College Program where I worked at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot and quickly learned that I wanted to join the company following graduation at Niagara. I networked with various people throughout the company in different roles and got my name out and tweaked my resume before returning to school for my senior year. Once I got back, I stayed in touch with these individuals and began preparing to apply for management positions in the company. I also rejoined the company with the Disney Store at the Niagara Falls fashion Outlets as a store lead. In January, I applied for a few different positions and, following a four-month application process, I was offered a position.
Following graduation, I will be relocating to Bay Lake, Florida, to begin a new chapter with The Walt Disney Company as a guest experience manager at Disney Springs. I also plan on pursuing an MBA at the University of Central Florida.
What did you do in your College Program role to help you secure the opportunity?
Previously while working at The Walt Disney World Resort through the Disney College Program I worked as a frontline cast member at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At EPCOT, I worked in Custodial in the World Showcase and I worked alongside cast Members from countries around the world ranging from France to China to provide guests with a clean, fun and safe environment they could enjoy. I enjoyed my time in the Disney College Program so much that I decided to extend my program through the spring semester in a different role and different location. I moved from custodial at EPCOT to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theater District West Attractions, which included the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, the Frozen Sing A Long and PAC Fireworks. Here I helped load shows, ensure guest safety and provided world class service to our guests. Currently I work for Six Flags Darien Lake as an operations training and scheduling supervisor and an administrative manager/operations manager for our Fright Fest Event. I also work for the Disney Store at the Niagara Falls Fashion Outlets as a store lead. I attend Niagara University as a full-time student as well.
Most importantly, what did you learn?
During my Disney College Program, I learned so many different things about the industry, myself and the company. One of the big takeaways I learned from my fellow cast members was networking and how important it is to have amazing people skills to succeed moving forward. Another thing I learned was how to live on my own, earn on my own and be successful and fail on my own. I learned more about myself than I could’ve ever imagined, and it really gives you a different outlook on your life once you go through this experience. Disney taught me how to be a professional at everything I do, and it helped me make changes to my management style which I now currently use in my current positions with Six Flags and Disney. I have gained valuable communication, computer and time management skills while at Niagara over the past four years. People skills are so important to securing and succeeding in the work force and Niagara gave me so many tools to succeed with this through different courses and internships. All of these have contributed to my success thus far and will continue to contribute to my success as I continue to grow and move forward into the future.
What advice do you have for future students?
Take advantage of the resources at Niagara. The professors, Career Services, courses and the campus are all super beneficial to your future. You aren’t just another number at Niagara you are treated like a real person and someone is always willing to help when you need it! Take advantage of the different study abroad programs and internship programs NU has to offer. Many people see the fliers around campus but don’t act on joining that club or doing that internship program or study abroad program. Take risks, be bold, and work hard for your future. I can’t say enough how important it is to network with as many people as possible, you never know when a simple conversation can turn into a connection that may benefit you and your future!
How did NU's Office of Career Services help you?
Career Services helped me create a resume that would make it through the computer systems used by large companies such as Disney. I also participated in practice interviews with Mike and Mass Mutual which really helped me take a deep breath and portray who I am when it came to the real deal. Krista and Mike were really important to the success I had making that final leap to the position I have dreamed about since I was a freshman in high school.