Did you know that travel itineraries through A&E and National Geographic for media or vacation guests include 140 countries and 3,000 trips annually? Neither did we until we spoke with Melvin, senior security manager for National Geographic Partners and A&E, about his role with the company and keeping an eye on what’s happening in each of those countries!
For Melvin, keeping employees, cast and guests safe is the top priority and aspect of his work he takes the most pride in. He also has to stay plugged in and knowledgeable about what’s happening around the globe, which he does with the help of his top-tier team of global security professionals.
Here’s what Melvin told us about his career journey and the importance of ensuring safe travel for all.
Tell us about yourself and what led you to working at Disney?
While in college as a criminal justice major, my professors often raved over how impressed they were with The Walt Disney Company’s security team. They spoke about the reputation Disney security had established and the type of professionals the company employs on their security team.
I am a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, and I retired after 25 years with them. A friend sent me the job vacancy for my current position with Disney, and I applied. Mind you, it was a project hire position funded for one year, but I welcomed the idea of proving myself and showing how I could bring value to the global security team.
And it seems like you did! How long have you worked with The Walt Disney Company now?
I have been with Disney a little over two years. I must point out my vice president, Carmen, and my director, Tricia, because they are responsible for my development, and I am grateful for their support and mentorship. They taught me how to create effective and succinct presentations, helped me to become a better writer, and encouraged me to attend leadership training.
Tell us about your role. Walk us through a day in your life!
Every day can be different, but my primary responsibility is to conduct safety and security assessments on the A&E, branded licensees, and National Geographic media/editorial itineraries, which include about 140 countries and around 3,000 trips annually. This involves thoroughly reviewing all aspects of the itineraries belonging to our guests and media members. We coordinate their travel with our regional partners to see that they are monitored in a manner to ensure their safe arrival, stay, and return.
You also get to travel for work. Can you tell us about some of these travels and how they relate to your job?
Part of our responsibilities include conducting safety and security assessments in high/medium risk countries. To date, we have conducted assessments in Egypt, Tanzania, a limited number of private jet locations, Jordan and more. It’s important that global security can ensure the business units that the locations they intend to send guests to meet and exceed all the safety and security expectations guests and cast members have come to expect when traveling on a Walt Disney Company product line.
Tell us about the team you work on.
Our team includes business integration, global security communications center, global intelligence and threat analysis, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Latin American, and global security crisis management. We spend a lot of time disseminating data about trips taking place in various places throughout the world and responding to any potentially dangerous activities that might adversely impact a particular trip or group of trips.
At times, depending on the pending threat, it requires us to provide the business a global security recommendation that could suspend or continue operations. After conferring with many of the groups previously mentioned, we also interact with State Department personnel to assist with our recommendation process. We have a director, senior manager and specialist working on all this, and I would say people that are good with handling stressful situations are most successful on the team.
What projects have you worked on that you are most proud of?
Not long after I was hired, I was able to work on three situations that I’m proud of the results: the evacuation of family members with ties to National Geographic, branded licensees guests stuck in Peru during the civil unrest uprisings, and most recently an evacuation from Morocco following the earthquake.
I like the idea of helping people get out of a bad situation and aiding in changing their circumstances for the better. I get no greater joy than from knowing our actions helped someone avoid a dangerous situation or outcome. Having come from the government, I can say The Walt Disney Company is willing to financially invest in the security infrastructure and personnel to ensure our cast members and guests receive the best of care.
You work with people and itineraries all over the world! How do you focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in your role?
Being a minority myself, I believe I bring a different perspective to many situations that are discussed in the area of global security. This year, A&E global security has been involved with providing our guests information regarding the treatment of LGBTQ, minority, and single female travelers in various countries where we have trips. It’s important for travelers to know what kind of environment they may be encountering.
Do you have a passion like Melvin’s for keeping people safe and want to join our Disney global security team? Explore available roles and apply now!
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