Just three years after graduation, Nathaniel Palma '11 was chosen for the prestigious position of Walt Disney World Ambassador from among 74,000 Disney Cast Members. Palma graduated with honors in spring 2011 with a degree in marketing and management from the University's Barney School of Business.
Being the face of Disney is not only an honor but also a dream come true for Palma. He started his career at the Disney store in Westfarms mall in West Hartford, bringing the magic of Disney to life for guests in New England. By graduation, he already had a job and moved to Florida to work as a performer. He quickly climbed up the career ladder to become a coordinator and a trainer for the Walt Disney World Resort. "It is about believing in yourself and daring to do the impossible, remembering to keep moving forward," Palma says. He emphasizes the importance of being courageous, kind, and persistent, when following your dreams until you reach them, even though there might be challenges along the way.
His involvement in community activities started when he was a student at the University of Hartford. "The University helped me develop leadership skills and helped me get to where I am today," sayd Palma. Professors encouraged him to keep pushing to reach his goals so he got involved in activities to support the University and the community. He was a member of the Barney Leadership Council and was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honors Society. He says these activities created a lot of connections that helped him to grow.
He also had the honor of delivering the student charge to his fellow graduates at the 2011 Commencement. "It is about giving the absolute best in all steps along the way,” Palma says.
As a Disney Ambassador, Palma has the honor of representing Disney around the world. Together with his fellow ambassador, Caitlin Busscher (a Brookfield native), he participates in community and media events, does volunteer work, and makes speeches at grand openings. He also contributes to a blog called "Around Our World," which showcases the great things Disney Cast Members do for the guests. Palma says he is always in the spotlight and fulfills many roles. “There is no such thing as a typical day,” Palma says.
When Palma’s two year term as a Disney Ambassador ends in December 2016, he wants to continue working for Disney back in the entertainment business and continue his leadership journey. He says that the company provides endless opportunities and it is his goal to take the brand forward. “I want to do great things with and for the company,” Palma says.