HBCU Alumni Spotlight: Ebony, Human Resources Business Partner

Ebony, Human Resources Business Partner, is making a difference in the lives of corporate employees at The Walt Disney Company. Ebony’s undergraduate experience attending an HBCU continues to impact her life positively; As a proud alumna of Bethune-Cookman University and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she has remained a part of close-knit networks, given back to her school, and found a sense of belonging here at Disney.

Ebony’s journey to Disney began with an interview for a different role than the one she has today. While that initial interview did not play out with an offer, she made a good impression on the recruiter and hiring team who later reached out for another open position. This time, Ebony landed the role—and she owes much of that to building a positive relationship with the recruiter. She recalled that the recruiter “shared information about Disney, even her own experience and satisfaction with the company, and that kept me engaged with the interview process. I am so happy it all worked out.”

In her current role, Ebony is a strategic partner for leadership. “I have responsibility for Talent Acquisition.” These day-to-day responsibilities are no easy feat, but Ebony’s time at Bethune-Cookman University set her up for professional success and helped her cultivate a network of “brothers and sisters” to rely on through the ups and downs.


Ebony Russ, HR Business Partner and graduate of Bethune-Cookman Univesity.


Her favorite part about attending an HBCU “was the overwhelming sense of belonging” and getting to connect “with other like-minded individuals.” She found that Bethune-Cookman University created a safe place that exuded the same culture and values that her parents provided while growing up. It was a learning environment “where every professor knew my name and was genuinely concerned about my success.”

As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., one of the Divine Nine or National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations, Ebony feels like she has a network in every city. She’s even made a few close relationships with her sisters whom she considers true friends and confidants. Many of her extended family members are also members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “It is very special to share this sisterhood with my blood sisters, nieces, cousins, and aunts.”

“On a professional level,” Ebony says, “The sorority is still a business. It’s rewarding that I get to use my skills to advance the organization. I have also found a network within the sorority of AKAs in HR, and we share best practices, and coach and mentor one another. The organization as a whole has enriched my life.”

Since starting her Disney journey, Ebony has connected with other HBCU graduates, Bethune-Cookman University alumni, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. members who also work at The Walt Disney Company. “The HBCU love is real. There is sometimes a rivalry, but always admiration for one another.”


Ebony is a proud and active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Ebony’s favorite project so far during her career at Disney involved a return to campus. She partnered with members of Talent Acquisition to speak to Bethune-Cookman University students about internship opportunities. “This makes me proud because now I am the representation that current HBCU students see at such a wonderful company. It warms my heart to inspire and mentor the next generation.”

The opportunity to mentor HBCU students is just one of the many ways that employees at Disney can give back to their communities through Disney on the Yard. Disney on the Yard is dedicated to building a community for HBCU alumni working across The Walt Disney Company and providing meaningful opportunities for HBCU students. When asked what Disney on the Yard means to Ebony, she said, “It is very reminiscent of being on an HBCU campus. The Greeks, the Quad, the food, the fun, the family. The rivalry and banter!” Ultimately to her, Disney on the Yard “is representation in the workplace.”

In everything she does, Ebony reflects back on the positive impact of her HBCU experience as she supports her fellow employees and inspires the next generation.