Empowering the Next Generation of Storytellers: Meet Ariel Hernandez

Successfully fostering the leaders of tomorrow means providing valuable access to the youth and young adults of today -- something Ariel Hernandez knows a thing or two about. Ariel is on Disney’s Enterprise Outreach and Engagement team and is passionate about creating talent attraction opportunities that provide inspiration, information, and hands-on experience for early career and professional-level talent.

After joining the company in 2016, Ariel joined the Enterprise Outreach and Engagement team in 2021 — seeking an opportunity to branch out into the human resources field while still tapping into his passion for all things DE&I. “We like to say that our team sits at the intersections of talent acquisition, diversity, equity and inclusion, and corporate social responsibility, so it was the perfect combination of everything I was looking for,” Ariel said.

In his current role, he focuses on event planning and program development, engaging with wide-ranging audiences of both the internal and external Disney community. His team coordinates countless outreach activations year-round -- such as the Grace Hopper Celebration (the largest gathering of women and binary technologists in the country), AfroTech (one of the largest gatherings of Black technologists and entrepreneurs), the Cricket Celebration Bowl (a significant celebration for HBCU football programs) and more -- all to further illustrate how Disney is a welcoming home to talent and people of all diverse backgrounds. Ariel also partners with the [Disney] Corporate Social Responsibility and Campus Recruitment teams, collaborating with nonprofit organizations on programs for the community such as through the Disney Future Storytellers initiative.

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One of the many community partners of the Disney Future Storytellers initiative is APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American) Scholars. While Disney’s corporate social responsibility teams have provided grant/scholarship funding to APIA Scholars for many years, APIA Scholars’ partnership with Disney Future Storytellers began in the fall of 2022 – a relationship that Ariel has been part of since day one. “Through our event programming, our team essentially creates opportunities for people to start their own Disney journey. Knowing that we play a small part in that process is amazing.”

In a truly collaborative effort, Ariel and his team recently hosted students from APIA Scholars at The Walt Disney Studios Lot in Southern California for a day of interactive learning and engagement with Disney employees and executives. His favorite moment of the day was seeing the students’ reactions to a special surprise activity – a private drawing class with a member of the Walt Disney Animation Studios team where they all drew their very own Star, the beloved, celestial character from the film “Wish” (2023).