“Think of the happiest things, it's the same as wings, it's the stars beyond the blue. There is Neverland waiting for you. When you leave the world behind, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly.”
This is the feeling that Walt Disney World creates for people. A place where you never need to grow up as the world continues to tell us, and that is the power of magic. This is exactly what Nicole Gawlik experienced and developed a passion for hospitality through it.
When she was only three years old Nicole visited Walt Disney World with her family for her birthday which happened to be her very first time. Disney was celebrating the parks 25th anniversary and made Cinderella her castle look like one giant cake. While Nicole was walking through Fantasyland, Cinderella stopped her and told her she was the most special person she ever met and that the castle was hers. Now, that moment might not mean a lot to us adults, but to a 3-year-old it means the world and for Nicole, it was the moment she fell in love with Disney forever.
As she grew older she knew that she wanted to create those same magical Disney moments for other people. In order to do so, she collected all the necessary information and steps to help her reach her goal. She began by understanding the basics of hospitality, starting with seizing any and every opportunity to develop a strong resume and skills. Though her career path did not lead her straight to Disney World, she worked her way there by first working within the food and beverage industry, followed by being a supervisor at a Victoria Secret store. She then used the knowledge gathered in her previous roles to land an internship with Walt Disney and turned that turned into a full-time position.
What made this possible? Her success is in her passion - she loves to make peoples dreams come true at Disney. This makes her current role of “Guest Relations Hostess” as good of a fit as Cinderella’s shoe. Nicole’s drive doesn't end there. Her next goal is to lead casting (Human Resources) at Disney. Her journey with Disney has also created plenty of magical memories. From her first day meeting famous Nascar driver Kurt Busch to checking in Boston Rob to making a reunion a happen between a military husband and his family to solving a family’s problems and becoming long lasting friends with them. Moments such as these are the rewards of executing her responsibilities, but the real reward for her lays with creating the most memorable memories for her Disney customers.
Tips and Advice from Nicole Gawlik to college students, job seekers, and current professionals:
Listen to understand, don’t listen to hear
To understand your customers, you need to put yourself in their shoes
Adopt the mindset of “How can I assist you?” Rather than “How can I help you?” Help is for 911