Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013 - (Page 17)

career spotlight Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President and Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering J oe Rohde began his Disney career 30 years ago as a model designer working on Epcot®. Since then his career has taken him around the world, working on projects for Disneyland® Park, the Walt Disney World® Resort and Disneyland® Paris. Joe led the team that conceptualized, designed and built Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, and is also responsible for the creative design and content of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai‘i. Joe attributes his career to a few basic influences saying, “From a very, very young age I was an avid reader. I simply spent a tremendous amount of time reading. When you read at first you’re just sort of stacking up reading experiences. But, you reach a point where suddenly it’s like a fusion reaction, and everything you read starts to become related to the other things you’ve read. And it accelerates rapidly into a whole other kind of accumulation of knowledge and experience.” Today, Joe has an incredible passion for world travel. His personal adventures have taken him to many of the most remote corners of the world. He wears a collection of earrings from these adventures in his left ear, which has become very large. Joe says that much of this travel has been instrumental in forming the architecture and settings of the projects he works on for Disney Parks. “The first thing you learn when you travel is that everything you thought you knew about somewhere is all wrong. It’s a really humbling experience. We live imagining we know all about these places, and we read about them and think about them, and then you get there and it’s not like what I thought it was going to be like. It’s really interesting.” “Work in groups,” he suggests. “What we do we do together as an ensemble. You need to learn the way in which your personal vision, your personal skill, your personal dream, can become possible through the efforts of a group. And a lot of people struggle with this at first because they imagine themselves as the leader of a group. And that’s not what happens at all. What happens is you discover, in the group, what the best expression of yourself and your ideas are by the relationship you have with the people in this group. So working in theatre, working on a project team, working in any kind of group effort in which you have to find your way to the truth of your own ideas in a group, is the best thing you could do. We do almost nothing alone. We do it as a group.” So what advice would Joe give to a student who’s interested in a career in Imagineering? He has a great love for the arts and credits many of his teachers for encouraging him to find a creative outlet for his talents. “I was exposed to the arts from a very young age and I was fortunate to have teachers who channeled my energy into theatre, where I was able to find a place to be productive with my energy,” he says. Joe also emphasizes the importance of a liberal arts education, which he believes focuses as much on information processing and lateral thinking as it does on content. However he says that, in addition to a good education, it’s critical to gain experience working in a real world setting. “You really need physical experience so that you don’t just become fully a creature of the brain. The physical experience of doing things, whatever these things are, whether it’s sports or camping or walking or working with your hands, is really important so that you can understand how intellectual ideas can turn into something in the world.” N extra credit | 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013

Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013
Walt Disney, Educator
Career Spotlight
A Touching Reunion
Engineering for Today
Career Spotlight
Research and Storytelling
Center Stage
Disney Dreamers Academy
The Path to Newsies
Creativity in the Classroom
Educational Field Trips
Inspiring Through Theatre
Festival Disney Turns 10
New Learning Opportunities
The Visual Musicians
Beyond the Bright Lights
Music Education Excellence
Focus on the Future
Poetic License
Spotlight On: The Disney Honors
Disney Performing Arts Alumni
Mickey’s Education Adventure
Disney Performing Arts Opportunities
Disney Youth Education Series Opportunities
Students Get the “Scoop”
The Fundamentals of Finance
Advertisers and Thank You
Travel Planner Honors
Mickey’s Mind Teasers

Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013

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