crowd of Disney-goers at magic kingdom

Episode 45: Diversity & Inclusion at Disney (Transcript)

Jun 1, 2021



Intro (00:01):
Pixie Dust & Profits is a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer as they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own.

Yasmine (00:26):
Hello and welcome to another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits today. Nicole and I are talking about some recent changes that Disney has implemented both in the company when it comes to diversity and inclusion and some changes they’ve actually made for cast members in the parks. So if you haven’t heard Disney has relaxed the super strict dress code that has actually been in place. I think since the parks opened with walls, which meant all the men had to sort of be clean shaven. There were only certain hairstyles that were approved for women.

Nicole (01:00):
Oh, tattoos, visible, visible skin covered. Basically

Yasmine (01:05):
They even have restrictions on terms of like nail polish makeup, all sorts of things like that. And as a result of wanting to step towards being a much more inclusive company, and we’ve seen this happen in a lot of the changes that Disney’s implemented on Disney plus for example, you’ll know that certain movies that were made, you know, back in the day where certain things that are deemed like unacceptable and super racist. Now we’re kind of the norm. They’re going to call that out. And while they have come under fire for, you know, pushing like politics to the forefront of children’s movies, I think it’s important that they’re acknowledging these things. So the big change that they’ve made is they’re actually removing old gender specific dress code. So if you know you, whether or not you identify as male, if you are male passing in the past, you would have had to wear a man’s costume. And now they’re actually letting people dress how they identify, which we think is super forward, super progressive, and a positive step that Disney is taking as a company. Other ways that they’re really trying to be a lot more inclusive is looking at diversity and representation at their company level. Nicole, do you wanna talk a little bit about that?

Nicole (02:21):
Yeah. So if you go to, it’s their investor shareholder site. And we like to go there because we like to get their quarterly reports and things like that, but they also have a lot of information there about the things that they’re working on for, you know, social justice, but also environmental and all these other areas. And so they have a diversity and inclusion section and they have a dashboard that they publicly put out there to show the makeup of their workforce. And they don’t just say, Hey, our workforce is 51% female, 46% people of color. It’s broken down by the level. So they have executive manager below manager. And I think that this is a really fabulous way for them to be accountable to the public, to their shareholders, to themselves that they’re doing this work. And, you know, especially in a company like Disney, they’re all, it always comes down to the numbers, right?

Nicole (03:20):
You can say, we’re trying to be more diverse, but like this can actually prove that they are because you know, that that figure shifted from 22% to 23% this year. And you know, of course like every other huge company out there, they are overwhelmingly white male in the executive suite, but this dashboard shows us that 42% of the executive suite is female. 22% is people of color and that number keeps increasing. And so hopefully my hope is that we would start to see this look like it does in the population, right? 50, 50 male, female, you know, 15% African-American or black, just it should resemble the population. And Disney actually does a really great job with their reason why they’re doing this. And I think that it is very much Disney. You know, Disney is all about being storytellers. And so I just love this phrase.

Nicole (04:18):
I’m going to read it. And it basically capitally encapsulates why they are doing this work, right? So stories are better when the storytellers represent the vast experiences of the people who will hear them at Disney, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to create authentic unforgettable stories, experiences, and products that capture the imagination of generations, of people around the world. We are committed to doing that in a way that counts everybody in. That’s just an amazing statement, right? It is so Disney. That was the mission and purpose 50 years ago. And it is the mission and purpose today. But trends change. People change society changes and Disney is changing with it. And that is, what’s kept them here for the long haul. And what’s going to keep them here for even longer, even through global pandemics and other catastrophes that might happen in the next year.

Yasmine (05:17):
Yup. So you might be thinking, well, how does this apply to your business? Well, we have a few takeaways and a few different ways. You can look at this change of disease making and applying it to your own business first and foremost is, as you are growing your team, take a look at who you’re hiring and does it represent the population that you live within? I know that that’s been something super important for Nicole and I on the teams that we’re on, where like try to make sure that we are giving an opportunity to candidates of all backgrounds, because regardless of where you’re from, people have different perspectives and that allows them to add value and refreshing insights into problems that your business is happening, that you might not have considered because you’re looking at things from just your worldview and your viewpoint. So,

Nicole (06:01):
I mean, we’ve kind of talked about how this industry can feel so stale at times, you know, people regurgitating water down versions of someone else’s formula or framework and, you know, just putting a new name on it and selling the same thing, thinking about problems in the same way, with the same solution and the easiest way to overcome everything being the same is to get a group of people in a room together and say, here’s the problem? What do you see? What do you see? What do you see? And start pulling all those ideas together. And you can actually brainstorm into something even better than any of you individually could have thought. And so it’s not only important from a social perspective, it’s important to the healthiness of your business and products and offers and the way you market yourself and the way that your business will last for generations. So get more people in the room to ask questions, but that’s the reason you joined masterminds, right? When you join a mastermind, I encourage you to look for one that’s a little bit different than the one that you are most drawn to, or the one that looks like everyone, and here’s a copywriter and I’m a copywriter. Let me jump right in, go somewhere. That’s a little bit different and I’m sure you’ll see it start seeing things in a different way and start thinking in a different way.

Yasmine (07:18):
In fact, that’s the best sort of business lesson that I’ve learned is look at other industries and see what you can take from how they’re doing things and apply it to your own business. My background was in pharmaceuticals and like pharma technology, that’s completely different from selling like online info products, but there’s a lot of lessons in terms of just the processes and things that we did that I was able to pull and you know, bring to life in the strategies for my clients that have been successful. So always look outside of your box, so to speak. And I’m not saying that in like the cliche business way, but yeah, there’s so many like interesting lessons out there. And Nicole, you make a really good point about maybe not joining a mastermind with just copywriters because that, you know, puts you further into your little box in your little world.

Nicole (08:08):
I think here is just, you know, having the mission statement. And I know sometimes mission statements can get kind of Lulu. But it is like the first step of the business plan, right? And the most important thing here is what’s the why behind you do it, why you’re doing it and how does it actually connect to the vision you have for your business? And Disney did a really great job here with, with their statement about why this is important. So even for the naysayers who were saying Disney is part of cancel culture or whatever they’re saying, you know, Disney can stand here and say, look, we are storytellers. And that is what we have always built our brand around. And there’s a lot of opportunity to tell better stories, more fulfilling stories, stories that connect with more people. If we do our work and do our job to bring other people to the table.

Nicole (08:57):
So I just think that it’s important to think about that. Why when you’re doing things and review your old policies, look at you, look at the stuff you’ve been doing for years. Look at the questions you ask when you hire or your job description or where you’re posting your job description, look like who your relationships are with and see if you can bring in one new person, two new people to just expand your bubble a tiny bit and a new way. So that way you can, as a business owner, this is part of your responsibility to forge relationships with other people. So that way you can grow your business and they can grow their business. And you know, Yasmine and I were talking a little bit earlier about mentorship, right? This diversity inclusion. Isn’t just having people at the table right now. It’s a holistic system that you need to embrace as a whole.

Yasmine (09:49):
Yeah. We have worked with so many people over the past few years that we’ve known each other that have grown their businesses. They’ve gotten to new levels. I think that’s fricking amazing. I mean, one of the things that I love about what I do is as you know, a female business owner, I get to employ other female business owners. And I get to like that like economy that we’re creating, it gets a spread and touch others’ lives and make actual changes. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why I moved away from Harper. It was because I wanted to help people, not like these massive businesses that were like faceless identities, right. And seeing that growth, it’s just been phenomenal. Like I get so excited when I see like a contractor that we hired, you know, for the first time, years ago, grow their business and now have a big team of their own, you know?

Nicole (10:41):
So it was a little sad because that means we need to find someone new and, you know, cultivate that relationship and train them up. But honestly, for me, anyway, the biggest thing about what I do is that I can make an impact beyond my own home. And I never felt that level of fulfillment when I worked in corporate back office at a bank looking through how we can improve the process of foreclosures and collections calls and all sorts of things like that, not fun conversations, not fun things to, to work through. And I was impacting the bottom line of the bank. And right now I’m impacting the bottom line of, you know, the person who helps us get our show notes up and, you know, has a one-year-old and I’m impacting the lives of someone who’s teaching other, stay at home moms who, you know, make products on the side, how to make their products like safety compliance.

Nicole (11:37):
So that way they’re not getting into trouble or, or hurting someone’s baby by making teethers. That just aren’t right for safety reasons. You know, and it’s just one of those circles that keeps getting bigger. And I think if we want to change some of the landscape of society and how women and minorities are not as represented in the corporate America, it’s we need to do it ourselves. You know, we’ve, we’ve tried to let them play the game for a while and change things. And it’s great that they’re starting to make those steps, but, you know, as a small business owner, I have more impact that I can do. It’s smaller. It’s not, you know, we’re not talking about 20,000 for, let’s say we’re here. Disney has a 200,000 employees worldwide. No, my scope isn’t that big, it’s more like 10, 20, 25 when you start, you know, taking everyone circles even further, but we can do this work. And if 2000 of us do this and our circles are 20 people and we impact or lift up or mentor someone else to do this work in the future. And then they grow, they grow out of being able to support us anymore. When we find somebody else to help, you know, it’s just going to keep this industry growing and keep that impact moving, which is what it’s all about. And it

Yasmine (12:55):
Makes us as impactful as Disney at that number and that scale. So yeah, we, this is definitely something that we’re super passionate about in case you can’t tell and something that’s very near and dear to

Nicole (13:06):
Us. So if you’re not already thinking about diversity and inclusion in your business, I really encourage you to do that. Follow people outside of your orbit, look at how your hiring practices are looking at who you’re mentoring or not mentoring right now. And just find ways to increase your circle and think about things in a new way. So if you want to talk to us more about this topic, then please send us a text message at 2 0 7 2 0 3 6 7 6 9. It is actually us. We will respond to you and we are happy to talk about this or any episode if you’re not already on our email list, make sure to join at and head over to Instagram @pixiedustandprofits. We love to talk to you there too. Thanks for joining us today. And we’ll see a real bye.



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