09 – Lee Cockerell: Former Walt Disney World Executive VP of Operations

UnknownWhen Lee Cockerell announced his retirement on July 28, 2006 it marked the beginning of a new adventure for the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort.”
As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village and a sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.”
One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which continues on as the primary resource for developing the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World.
Lee has held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for eight years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project.Lee has served as Chairman of the Board of Heart of Florida United Way. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
In 2005 Governor Bush appointed Lee to the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Public Service for the state of Florida.He is now dedicating his time to public speaking, authoring a book on leadership, management and service excellence which was published in 2008 and is now available in ten languages. Lee also performs leadership and service excellence consulting for organizations as well as the Disney Institute.

Highlights from this Podcast:

  • Lee discusses how he came from humbled beginnings in Oklahoma and ended up in a Executive VP position with Walt Disney World.
  • Learn about Lee’s transformation from an intimidating autocratic manager to all-inclusive leader / mentor.
  • Learn about how all of us make a difference and we are all leaders like it or not.
  • Learn about professionalism and setting the example and that it’s a 24/7 lifestyle choice.
  • Lee talks about his new book “The Customer Rules” and how rare true “service” actually is.
  • Lee discusses how his Disney team responded to the crisis of September 11th, 2001

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