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From Senator To Stage – My Next Event with President Barack Obama

I’ll never forget the first time we met. (Like any good Disney story, there always must be a great “Once upon a time” intro, right?) He was a young Senator at the time, and I was lucky enough to give him his first pair of custom Mickey Mouse ears. Little did I know that this interaction would be the first of many wonderful stunts that we would collaborate on. And now, again we are about to add another event to our list!

President Barack Obama will be the keynote speaker at Connect Travel Marketplace in Orlando on February 20, 2020. Prior to his keynote, I get the pleasure of presenting my “Embedding Innovation into Everyone’s DNA” workshop and a keynote on Innovating the Customer Experience.  This international travel show will be identifying industry needs including product development, sales as well as providing educational tracks to inspire and inform industry leaders in a rapidly changing global market.

I am so honored to be sharing the stage with President Obama and I wanted to share some of the other stunts we’ve pulled off since our first meeting back when he received his first set of “ears”.

Jonas Brothers

As a thank you to Barack and Michelle’s daughters for all their support on the campaign trail, one of the first orders of business was to surprise Sasha and Malia with a concert from their favorite band, the Jonas brothers. While there are no photos from this private gathering, I can share with you that it brought forth a variety of emotions. From the element of surprise and seeing the girl’s faces, to the relatable father to daughter moment of seeing your kid’s dreams come true, it was a fun secret project to be a part of.

Pardoning a Turkey

After a year of press celebrating Disney’s 50th anniversary, a new idea was needed to reignite the press and get some Thanksgiving front cover news. One crazy idea that turned into reality was when we asked President Obama, “What happens when you pardon a turkey at the Whitehouse?” Following up with, “Wouldn’t that turkey be the Happiest Turkey on Earth? Shouldn’t he get to go to the Happiest Place on Earth?”

A few logistical challenges later (okay a LOT) and we had sorted out not only how the lucky turkey would join us in Disneyland and this tradition. That was 2005 and for 5 years both President Bush and President Obama would pardon turkeys and they would go to live out their lives at Disneyland!

Big Dreams

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford From Mouse Ears to live turkeys it’s been a lot of fun working with President Obama on audacious projects. Who knows what we will come up with next!

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