The word “Disney” conjures images of sprawling theme parks and award-winning family movies, but Lana Young has brought back a different kind of Disney magic – leadership, creativity and innovation.
The Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) Customer Relationship Consultant was awarded the sought-after Samson Leadership Scholarship last year, and used it to attend a Leadership Excellence Course at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida.
The scholarship is awarded to enable local people to further their study, and ultimately benefit those living in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID).
Lana chose the Disney Institute because she saw it as an opportunity to grow her skills and learn from the best, and said Disney encourages all staff to be leaders.
“There is a hierarchy and leadership team, but the highest of leaders at Disney are embedded right down to the front line,” Lana said.
“No matter the hierarchy, you are always touching the ground. We were asked to talk to any of the crew members at any of the parks, and they all knew about Disney’s vision and goals – it was really authentic.
“The culture of Disney was so well entrenched that it filtered down to all staff, no matter what their role or how long they had been there.”
It was the collaborative nature of Disney as a workplace that impressed Lana the most and she was excited to learn about the culture and processes of one of the biggest businesses in the world.
She is now excited to bring her knowledge back to the GMID.
“If there is a shared and an authentic and common vision and purpose, people will make the choice to travel on that journey,” she said.
“I’m really excited to share my learnings across the region – there’s so many ways this kind of culture can help our region when it comes to collaboration, engagement and facing future challenges.”
Lana was one of two Australians who attended the Leadership Excellence Course, and said there was a diverse group of participants – including representatives from the Pentagon in the US.
The Sampson Leadership Scholarship was established to honour the memory of Ken Sampson, who died suddenly in 2009. He made a remarkable contribution to northern Victoria in the fields of sports, community, agriculture and the environment.
More information can be found at www.sampsonleadershiptrust.com.au