As part of our on-going "5 Minutes With" series, every month we’ll introduce you to a new member of our Disney Meetings team at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California or Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Whether they work in our Disney Convention Resorts, Theme Park Operations, Catering and Convention Services, Sales, Entertainment or dozens of other event-support areas, these Cast Members and their teams are responsible for creating magical experiences and unforgettable events for meeting and event industry professionals, and their important attendees and guests, every single day.
Let’s meet Carmen Strong, Senior Sales Manager:
Hi, Carmen, tell us about your role.
As a Disney Destinations Sales Manager at the Walt Disney World Resort, my role is to identify corporate and association meetings and incentive opportunities from the West Coast and Canada. I also search for diversity-focused meetings from across the United States and bring those opportunities to our convention resorts. In this role, I help our clients find the perfect solutions for their meetings and conventions, as well as help to create unique and memorable experiences that their attendees will remember for years to come.
Can you tell us about a typical day at work?
Each day at Disney is truly different. Some days are spent finding new meeting opportunities and partnering with our existing clients on date selection and contract negotiations. Other days, I have the pleasure of facilitating awesome site inspections that showcase the magic of Disney Meetings through our convention resorts, theme park event opportunities, and all of the many resources available to our groups.
How do you and your team work with meeting and event planners?
I work directly with organizations and third-party meeting planners from date and site selection, to contract negotiation and execution. I ask questions and listen thoughtfully so that our team can identify their overall meeting vision to create the perfect solution for their program at one of our five convention hotels. Our ultimate goal is to build lasting relationships with our clients and completely exceed their expectations, as well as their attendees and stakeholders’ expectations.
Can you describe one of the most interesting or unique challenges you’ve had to overcome in your role?
In the association market, we have found that our destination truly drives attendance; oftentimes, our clients find that their attendee levels can exceed their expected numbers. What makes us so unique is that we have the ability to provide overflow accomodations when needed at our Disney owned and operated resorts, so that their overflow attendees still receive all the benefits of a Disney meeting, while offering the client the peace of mind that those room nights will be represented and counted for credit.
Can you describe one of your best Disney memories related to your position assisting a convention/meeting group?
In July 2016, we had the incredible opportunity to host the 2016 Invictus Games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. As the sales manager for this opportunity, I had the pleasure of volunteering for this event and meeting and interacting with wounded or injured armed services personnel from around the world. Seeing the men and women compete in sports ranging from swimming to wheelchair basketball while their families cheered them on was an experience that I will never forget. Knowing that Disney was at the forefront of making this event happen and the support we as a company provided made me incredibly proud to be a Cast Member.
What is your favorite part of your role?
It’s hard to name one thing – there are so many! I like to say that I get to meet amazing people, build lasting friendships and relationships with my clients and my colleagues, and create magical memories at the Walt Disney World Resort every day. What could be better? Having spent the last 11 years in this role, I can’t imagine being anywhere else!
What inspires you every day?
Seeing the look of amazement on the faces of our planners and their attendees after perfectly executing a flawless program and delivering on the magic that Disney is known for. I am constantly inspired by how our Cast Members truly live Walt Disney’s vision in all of our interactions with our Guests and our clients by consistently offering unique, innovative, and creative experiences.
We're eager to help you create the perfect meeting or private event for any size group, theme and objective. To speak with a Disney Meetings representative about our pricing and options available at our Disney Parks & Resorts destinations in Florida, California, Hawaii, or at our international destinations, please Contact Us or Submit a Request for Proposal. Or, Sign Up to stay in touch and continue learning more about Disney meetings and events.