“I am confident the need for great storytelling will endure for generations to come, enhanced by new technologies that will bring these tales to life and deliver them to people around the globe in even more extraordinary ways… we will always gravitate to stories that bind us together—tales of adventure, love, friendship, and heroism, tales that enable us to escape, that comfort and inspire us, that give us hope and reason to be optimistic, tales that inform us…. and, of course, touch our hearts.” – Bob Iger, Farewell
I woke up this morning and glanced out the window to see the sun peaking over the mountain tops. The beams of light struck the beautiful and brilliant red and golden leaves of the trees behind our house. The backlit spectacular was incredible! As I soaked it in, I was struck by the temporal nature of this artistry. The occasional leaf would detach and glide to the ground. Soon, this majestic presentation would be gone and all that would be left will be the branches. It occurred to me, how tragic it would have been if I had missed it. It’s a great reminder that things change. New scenes are appearing all the time. The lesson is, enjoy the moment, those golden nuggets of time that grace your path. Drink them in. Be grateful for the show that was made, just for you.
I noticed another changing of seasons today. Disney’s former CEO and Chairman, Bob Iger’s farewell email landed in my inbox this morning. As with the beautiful sunrise, it definitely has me nostalgic, a bit misty eyed and grateful.
A few months after I started at Disney (now sixteen and a half years ago!) a new CEO was announced, Bob Iger. Disney was a strong brand, but creativity and storytelling had become stagnant and mundane. Bob came in with a simple yet powerful plan. He identified three strategic pillars that would propel Disney forward:
- Creativity – We would focus on creating compelling content and telling stories that delight our guests in new and powerful ways.
- Technology – Second only to creativity would be the adoption and innovation of new technologies to help us create and deliver those storytelling experiences. It would help us amplify the magic, better connect with our guests and allow our guests to better connect with us.
- Globalization – Disney would expand into new markets around the world. As part of that effort, our content, products and experiences would strive to reflect our diverse human family around the globe, both on screen as well as behind the scenes.
The result of Bob’s strategy was a return to epic storytelling, investments and innovation in technology and the expansion of our impact around the globe. It resulted in us welcoming PIXAR (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012) and most recently 21st Century Fox (2019) to the Disney family. Adding those creative engines, brilliant teams and storytellers, along with new innovative technologies, amplified our ability to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe.
Like many of my fellow cast members, I feel like I have had the privilege of sitting in the front row watching the incredible transformation Bob Iger unleashed for Disney. And like many others, I am incredibly grateful to have been able to participate and be part of that “ride of a lifetime” story with Bob at the wheel.
I am sad to see Bob Iger leave, but I’m incredibly optimistic about the future. The work Bob started is growing and shaping Disney into a modern force for good. I’m convinced it will continue. Sure, we will make missteps, try and fail at times, but our mission to deliver magic, entertainment and inspiration to the world is still key. It is an honor to be part of an organization that is about elevating the human experience across the planet, especially when it includes unlocking the potential of technology to do so.
Have a great week! And don’t forget… enjoy the ride.