HBCU Spotlight: James Smartt Jr., Content Production Undergraduate Associate
Meet James, a graduate of Morehouse College working as a Digital Content Production Intern with Disney’s Global Talent Acquisition Marketing. In this role, James supports the creation of content and visual aids attracting candidates to open roles across The Walt Disney Company. In addition to his internship responsibilities, James is excited to make a positive impact on those around him and give back to current HBCU students. Learn more about James and his contributions to Disney on the Yard and The Walt Disney Company.
What is your role, specific title, and how would you describe what you do to a friend or family member?
I’m a Digital Content Production Intern on the Talent Acquisition Marketing team. I create content such as animation videos and sizzle videos to be shared on official Disney social media accounts to help bring new talent to The Walt Disney Company. Some of the clients I support are Disney Tech, Disney Programs, some of our international business and Disney on the Yard!
I have been on my internship since June and I have already had some pretty cool projects, some have even done really well on social media! One I’m proud of in particular was the Disney College Program launch video. I created a video to help announce that the College Program applications were now open and that was a cool moment for me. I remember looking at the post and seeing all the comments about how excited people were just to apply to this program! That showed me that my work really matters! It impacts lives and the whole company.
Why did you choose to pursue a career with Disney?
After I applied for this role, I became more and more fascinated with Disney and working for this mass media company that houses so many recognizable brands and figures! As a diverse individual, I now see myself working and making a difference in many different businesses in ways. I think I could bring a new perspective if my childhood favorites like “A Goofy Movie” is ever reimaged for younger generations.
Being an intern with Disney feels like a full-circle moment and my inner child is so excited for what’s ahead!
What are some of the highlights from your internship experience?
One of the first experiences I had in the role was team training for the Talent Acquisition Marketing team. I got to go to Walt Disney World® Resort for the first time EVER and interact with my team in person but also experience everything about Disney World. From the moment I got there, everyone was so awesome and welcoming, I never felt like I wasn’t, supported, or like I was there just to check a diversity box. It really helped me develop relationships with people who I may have only interacted with virtually during my internship. Then there was just being at Walt Disney World! I really thought that Mickey Mouse wouldn’t be that cool because I’m older now but when he surprised us at our training that was still one of the coolest ever!
Then there was the Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Everything felt so perfectly aligned because for that event Disney on the Yard came to Atlanta, I’m based in Atlanta, and I went to an HBCU in Atlanta! It was a full-circle moment for me to be able to share things that I would’ve wanted to hear as a college student with current HBCU students. Afterward, several students reached out to me and asked to stay connected as they finish school and try to navigate internships themselves, which is very fulfilling.
Oh, and Drum Major Mickey Mouse came out! That felt so spot on and it was awesome to see Mickey in this new way with the swag and confidence of an HBCU Drum Major.
How did your college experience help you in your role today at Disney?
Attending Morehouse College helped me by allowing me to be my authentic self at all times. It helped me learn how to adapt in any environment I’m in. I also held some leadership positions at Morehouse, so I learned how to work with and lead various kinds of groups and audiences.
What was your initial response to Disney on the Yard?
At first, Disney on the Yard seemed too good to be true.
The first thing that came to me was “this is for the culture, and this means something!” I’d never heard of Disney on the Yard before, so supporting this effort as it’s coming into its full effect! I’m so glad that I get to contribute to Disney.
What do you want other HBCU students to know about Disney on the Yard?
Disney on the Yard really does a good job of getting Black people and HBCU students engaged and into roles at Disney as well as supporting them once they get here! I’ve met a lot of people through Disney on the Yard and through my internship projects that are really supportive of me already! I didn’t know about Disney internships or Disney on the Yard while I was an undergrad, but I totally would’ve gone for it then, and I’m glad to be here now!
by Disney Career Recruitment