Making Dreams a Reality, at Home and Abroad
Chief Operating Officer of Disneyland Paris’ Joe Schott has a favorite quote. It is very fitting that is comes from Walt Disney himself: “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” For Schott, this quote goes beyond attracting the tens of millions of guests that visit Disneyland Paris annually. It means that great leaders depend on teamwork to make their dreams reality.
Schott previously served as Vice President and Executive Managing Director of Walt Disney Attractions Japan, and was Director of Park Operations at Walt Disney World. He also had the opportunity to work in opening several new Disney experiences which include Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland Paris.
Schott went to work for Disney in Orlando when he was still in high school. Nova offered onsite classes at Disney where Schott was able to secure a bachelor’s degree in professional management. According to Schott (B.S. ’00), “Nova offered a degree that felt like it was tailored specifically to my needs. It provided building blocks for the success I have experienced in my career.” He explains, “My coursework was very applicable and relevant to the business. It helped in my personal and professional growth in areas such as current events, accounting and economics.”
He goes on to say, “The most challenging part of my job is remaining true to your values while you adapt to different cultures and languages. The complexities of living abroad are very high.” Schott credits Disney for providing the necessary resources for training. However, he states that his Nova degree and the diversity of its curriculum were the true tools to his success. “Nova helped me to be an engaged learner while remaining flexible and adaptable. It taught me that learning is a life-long experience.”
“The best part of my job from a personal standpoint is that my family gets a unique experience of living abroad. There is a phenomenal amount that can be learned from experiencing different places,” Schott says. He explains that “when you live and work internationally, family is critical and their support necessary.” He has learned to take advantage of down time with his family. He is extremely grateful to have his wife and two boys with him. From a professional standpoint, Schott says “The international experience I have gained has dramatically changed my professional career.” He credits his wife and their successful partnership for encouraging him. It was her influence that led to his decision to get his education from Nova.
Schott hopes to live in the U.S. again one day. At present, he is focused on making Disneyland Paris “the best it’s ever been and like no one has ever seen before” as they embark of their 20th Anniversary.
For future students, Schott says this: “give yourself time to do a lot of things by pursuing the building blocks for future success. There’s no better way to do that than by getting a college degree.”