The Walt Disney Company is known around the world for its impressive theme parks and groundbreaking movies. But behind the castle facade and superhero fight scenes is a ton of technology that makes everything work. From the websites of Star Wars and Marvel to the theme park apps that guests make Lightning Lane reservations on, almost everything at Disney runs on a code.
Step in CODE:Rosie, a program that teaches women how to step into technology roles within the company in just six weeks. According to Disney the program, “Aims to amplify inclusion and gender diversity within technology. This program provides an opportunity for Walt Disney Company employees to explore a new career path in technology without requiring prior technical experience.”
Kelly White, one of the executive sponsors for CODE:Rosie explained that the program is really about career swiping and transitioning. “The idea is that we take talent from across our company that are in various roles, we put them through a full-time boot camp, and then at end of their training end up in brand new roles within technology,” she explains.
When CODE:Rosie launched in 2016 with software engineering, while the latest 2022 cohort is specifically focused on training product managers. “It’s again about helping that career transition happen and creating the safety net, the tools, the resources and the education to make a successful transition into a new career in a matter of weeks,” said White.
The third round of CODE:Rosie garnered hundreds of applicants and the program was only able to select 12 women to participate. Three of those participants, called Rosie’s during the program, were Mackenzie Beals (formerly a DMED events coordinator), Brooke Healey (formerly a manager in the sports brand solutions department) and Clarissa Tuyn (formerly a financial systems analyst).
All three participants learned about the program from Disney’s employee-only website, and began to look into CODE:Rosie more seriously. Disney hosted a few information sessions where potential applicants could learn more about the program and what all it entails. “It was so exciting to imagine that Disney had such a cool program like this offered,” said Tuyn.
The product manager technology classes were all taught through General Assembly, which is a coding boot camp for those interested in technology jobs. “I think that the training and the curriculum and the real-life experience that they’ve brought to the program has been extremely impactful,” said Beals. “And I’m excited to take my learnings into our new roles starting in a couple of weeks,” she continued.
During the program Disney partners each Rosie with mentors who are able to guide them during the six weeks and continue to pour into them as they begin new roles. While the new jobs within the Walt Disney Company are exciting, learning from and about other women across the company has been equally as rewarding for the participants.
“Just having the chance to meet these women and learn about their experiences and think about all the different skill sets that they bring to the table, that maybe they’re stronger than I am. We all have different experiences to share and this really broadened my knowledge base and made me think differently and pushed me in ways that I hadn’t even considered before,” explained Healey.
When each cohort begins there’s always renewed enthusiasm and interest according to White. Different teams from around the company have reached out to White asking to sponsor a cohort and have Rosie’s on their respective teams. In the future, the hope is to do international cohorts and do specialized programs within the international offices.
“This program is all about action. This is all about what can we do today to impact what our teams look like and how do we think about moving forward and moving the needle in a very action-oriented, impactful way that gets us results,” said White.