Director, Worldwide Communications
The Walt Disney Studios
IABC Member since 2003
A special talent is needed to manage internal communications for one of the world’s largest media and entertainment businesses. A fine example is IABC member Kelley Haggert, who serves as Director, Worldwide Communications for The Walt Disney Studios. In fact, Kelley established the department to inform and engage employees in movies, music, stage plays and home entertainment divisions. Read on to learn about Kelley’s progressive career path and how her personal time reflects a passion for her company’s products.
“Success isn’t final, failure isn’t fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Three words that best describe me
Courageous. Creative. Compassionate.
When I’m not working, you can find me…
Volunteering for the Pasadena Humane Society and Pasadena Animal League, watching a movie (I love the movies!), reading (I’m a voracious reader), working out, or spending time with friends.
MY LIFE IN COMMUNICATIONS
The biggest communications challenge I have faced in my current role…
The Walt Disney Studios is comprised of many different businesses including movies, music, stage plays and home entertainment, and each business has its own brand/identity of which it’s passionate, proud and protective. My team is responsible for communicating with all Studio employees, across all businesses, as a community, so we’re challenged with how we communicate an overarching sense of belonging (to the Studio) while also honoring and celebrating each line of business’ individual identity.
My favorite communications memory is…
I shot a “Welcome Video” for our new Orientation program with Dick Cook, Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios and it still stands out as one of my favorite communications memories. Dick is an accomplished and well-respected leader in the entertainment industry, but he has the unique ability to relate to everyone on a personal level-regardless of title or responsibility. The video shoot was a Q&A and it was the most engaging interview I’ve conducted to date. He’s so passionate about the Disney brand, the Studio mission and the people who make up this company, and his authenticity shines through. He’s the type of leader I aspire to be.
The most important communications or professional lesson I’ve learned is…
Patience. There is always time to take a deep breath and re-group before tackling a challenge-whether it’s a communications crisis situation, an HR issue or a blank piece of paper that has to be transformed into an entertaining story for the intranet or a captivating press release. Always take a moment to assess why you’re doing something and what you hope to achieve. I’m not proposing we disregard deadlines, but I think even the best strategy and execution are tempered with a clear head.
Books that I really find useful and recommend to other communicators are…
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s categorized as self-help but, in my opinion, it provides a new perspective for anyone-even those not looking for “help.” The book examines how to conduct yourself as a professional and an everyday person; keeping your goals well-defined, your spirit light and your intentions and integrity intact, despite the challenges we face every day both in and outside the office. I find that the actual “Four Agreements” continue to inform many decisions I make.
Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina. I’ve never really struggled with being “a woman in a man’s world,” so that wasn’t the key take-away for me from this engaging memoir. Instead, I was moved by her tenacity, honesty (both with herself and others) and ability to preserve her integrity despite facing down some very difficult personal and professional challenges. She was and remains an influential leader with a high intellectual and emotional “Q”-a unique balance and approach to running a complex, global company.
OH, HOW FAR I’VE COME
My early career included positions in media relations and crisis communications, landing at a non-profit. It was a role I found challenging and inspiring and where I thought I would stay for a long time. Then a headhunter came knocking with an opportunity I couldn’t pass up: to manage publicity for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Canada and help launch Disney’s California Adventure Park. I took the job which opened doors I never could have imagined. From Disney Canada, I was asked to move to Anaheim, California to run Internal Publicity at the Disneyland Resort. I then moved into Synergy (internal BtoB) at the Resort, which led to a role with Disney Publishing Worldwide/Disney Consumer Products and finally my current position with the Studios.
Honors M.A., Radio and TV Arts Program, Ryerson University
Honors B.A., English, University of Toronto
Honors and Awards
Marcus Evans’ 4th Annual Internal Communications & Employee Engagement Conference (2009)
Melcrum Strategic Communication Management Summit (2008)
This profile was edited by IABC-LA member and volunteer Cheryl Farrell.