Alumni News

January 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Alumni News | Blahnik’s Career Turns Ended up at Disney’s Epcot Center

Jennifer Blahnik, portrait

Jennifer Blahnik

Ohio University alum Jennifer Blahnik ’03 followed a career path through William & Mary and the Jamestown Settlement, landing 14 years ago at Walt Disney World. She even helped open Disney’s theme park in China.

Her career path has lots of rewarding turns, she notes.

“My advice to students is to work very hard at whatever it is that you are doing. Work ethic is paramount,” she said.

“Do not just shoot for that dream job, as life often has a way of deciding for you. You may not always be able to shape your life, but if you strive to be the best at whatever you are currently doing, your life will shape itself around you and can be extremely rewarding. I had an idea where I thought I might go with my post college career, and it took a different turn.

“My life has been a series of events that has brought me to where I am now, and I know it was my solid education that laid that foundation.”

Blahnik earned a B.A. in History from the College of Arts & Sciences at OHIO, then headed to the College of William & Mary and earned an M.A. in Early American History and apprenticed in the archeology program.

“While completing my thesis, I worked for six months at Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, before earning an internship with Walt Disney World’s College and International Programs. I was a management intern for six months starting in January 2005 with Magic Kingdom Custodial Operations before being offered a full-time position with Epcot Custodial Operations in December 2005,” she said. “I learned the management role while also leading and managing the custodial operations in both parks. My career has been with Disney for the past 14 years.

“Although I majored in history, my education allowed me to approach my current career with a strong critical mind, excellent communication skills and a greater awareness and understanding of the domestic and international world in which I work. It also allowed me to apply for and earn my MBA at Stetson University in 2010. I have used that degree to serve as an adjunct instructor for Lorain County Community College teaching Introduction to Business and Principles of Management.”

Her career highlights include:

  • 2007-09 Learning & development consultant for the Walt Disney World training department. “I facilitated and developed classes that focused on customer satisfaction with a target audience of thousands of front line Cast Members in parks, resorts, and recreation.”
  • 2009-15 Attractions operations manager for Magic Kingdom. “I managed the Cast and operation of Adventureland and Liberty Square attractions.”
  • 2015 Attractions operations manager for Epcot Future World Attractions
  • 2015-2016 Test & Adjust manager Shanghai Disneyland Resort. “I was a member of a small team of leaders selected from Disney Parks around the world to run the testing of attractions and prepare the local team for opening and then operating a major Disney theme park in Shanghai, China.”
  • 2016-present Epcot Attractions Operations. “I also was involved in an attraction refurbishment test and adjust for a four-month period during this management period at Epcot.”

 

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