Introducing Nataly Guzman, one of the 2022-23 Disney Ambassadors for the Disneyland Resort.
Nataly comes from a wealth of over 11 year’s experience working for The Walt Disney Company – her most recent being chosen for Disney Ambassador, where she serves alongside Mark King as one of two official spokespeople for the resort.
Before becoming a Disney Ambassador, Nataly had a wide variety of experience working for The Walt Disney Company. She started her Disney career as a merchandise hostess at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney District, later transitioning into a role in Guest Relations where she served as a VIP Tour Guide. Nataly’s leadership experience came into play in her work as a trainer and leader in Guest Relations and she even got to be a Traditions Facilitator with Disney University, leading the class for new hires into The Walt Disney Company. Finally, in preparation for her role as Disney Ambassador, Nataly served as a spokesperson for the resort for a couple of years.
Join us as we speak with Nataly about the importance of leadership and teamwork and what students can be doing right now to cultivate this experience in school.
What qualities make a good leader?
One of the most important qualities a leader can have is composure.
When I worked in my leadership role at Disney University, there was a day where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We had nowhere near the number of facilitators we needed for the amount of people who were coming in.
I made sure to be transparent with my team about the situation and tried to stay calm, cool and collected under pressure. I was able to get the job done; it was not eloquent, but it was successful, and that was okay. None of the participants knew the chaos, nor did they sense any tension or stress from their facilitator because we were able to work together to get the job done.
So being good leader is about staying composed, being transparent about the situation at hand and knowing when to ask for help.
Has there been a leader in your life who made an impact on you as a Cast Member?
The leader that made the most impact on me worked with me at Disney University.
The best part about working with her was her ability to give “uncomfortable” feedback. In the moment when she would provide the feedback I would hate it. But then after I reflected on it, I realized that she was right and I learned to really appreciate her for that. It helped mature my mindset to be more aware of my actions and behaviors.
She was the type of leader who made sure that if she pushed us, she was there to meet up at the end goal as well so that we always felt like we were supported.
Why is communication important as a leader of a team?
When it comes to communication and leadership, it’s about transparency.
As a leader you cannot go into depth and detail about every “why,” but explaining what you can and being real with your team will make you be more genuine and trustworthy.
In other words, it’s a delicate art of being transparent while also upholding the integrity of the bigger picture.
What advice can you give to students who wish to gain more leadership experience?
Seek out opportunities, but not just every opportunity there is. Make sure you have a genuine desire for the leadership role. Find your passions through school or community involvement – and it’s okay to stick to just one.
I know there is a lot of pressure for students to branch out and do as many things as possible, but I strongly encourage you to stick to just a few. That makes these experiences much more meaningful to you and allows you to keep your vision fixed on how you can make a difference in that organization and guide you to wanting to seek other leadership roles.
One of my first leadership moments was in high school. I was a section leader in my marching band and I went up to become a drum major. I cared about the band and I felt like I could carry forth the vision that I had to make us successful.
What is the importance of teamwork?
A leader is nothing without their team. What’s the point of being a leader without having a team to lead? The same points that are important about being a leader are also necessary as part of a team – transparency and asking for help will strengthen the team dynamics.
Everyone has an important role to play on the team. No one is too big or too small. As a VIP Tour Guide I relied on every single Cast Member in all lines of business to make sure my Guests had a good day. I would set up my tours in the hopes that the Matterhorn Bobsleds team was efficiently running the attraction so my Guests could ride it and that ice cream was in stock at the outdoor vending cart for the Guests to enjoy.
Everything is extremely important, and never underestimate the power of each role on the team. It takes every single one of us for that one Guest to have a good day.
How can teachers promote leadership and teamwork in their classrooms?
Teachers can encourage problem solving skills. They can empower their students to come up with solutions to problems that the students are passionate about, even if theoretical, in the safe space of the classroom. Empowering students to have that mindset will encourage them to foster an environment of teamwork and collaboration that will be useful to them in and out of the classroom.
In your classroom, actively search for opportunities for your students to take on leadership roles. Allow them to participate as part of a team to reach a common goal through problem solving. Building these real-world skills is integral to developing your students as creative thinkers and doers in the modern world.
Want to learn more? Check out the Leadership and Innovation workshops at our East Campus in Walt Disney World and our West Campus in Disneyland Resort for a discovery of real-world application of leadership, teamwork and innovation at our popular Parks and Resorts. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up to date on all things Disney Imagination Campus and explore all our academic workshops to see how we inspire imagination-powered learning.