On Tuesday, March 17, Meg Crofton ‘75, Rollins College alumna and president
of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations in the U.S. and France, makes her way
across the stage of the Bush Auditorium for a conversation titled ‘One Leader’s Journey.’
Clad in a black pantsuit, peep-toe patent leather heels, and a colorful, printed silk scarf,
her attire is befitting of an extremely esteemed and well-respected businesswoman. She
has also appropriately accessorized her blazer with two Disney pins, adding a touch of
magic to her professional attire.
With 35 years of experience working for Disney The Mouse, she informs the
audience that she has had “hundreds, if not thousands” of learning experiences
throughout her career. Instead of standing behind the podium and talking to the audience
about her countless accomplishments, Crofton sits at a table on the stage, holding a few
books, a candle, and a vase of flowers. By the light of a floor lamp she reads nine
passages from the many journals she has kept through the years, each describing a
defining learning experience. The homey atmosphere enhances the intimate, personal
feeling of the talk, as if she was speaking to each audience member individually.
Crofton has worked in multiple fields, from telecommunications, to hotel
management, to running the largest single-site employer in the United States, as well as
the most popular tourist destination in Europe. She recounts a lesson from her marketing
class at Florida State University in the winter of 1973 that has remained with her through
her 40 years of experience.
“Today, I embark on what I suspect will be a lifelong commitment to developing
Brand Me,” she reads. “Brand Me is my personal brand. Just as a great company with a
strong brand, each of us has a unique set of attributes that make up our individual brand.
As I explore this idea, I come to the conclusion that my brand is one that people should
be able to count on. They should know my values, what I believe in, and how I can be
counted on to treat others. I saw a plaque with a quote on it that seems to capture it
simply and powerfully: ‘When I grow up, I want to be me.’ I must be authentic, and I
must be true to Brand Me, because it’s my own North Star on my professional and
Crofton then gives advice to everyone seeking guidance to build their own ‘Brand
Me’ with a quote from Walt Disney himself, summing up the talk: “All our dreams can
come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”