On the Job with David Disney

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the profession?

I have received many different answers to the following question from colleagues and team members over the years: “What business are we in?” Event planning, student support, customer service … the list is long and varied. I have learned that our work can be summed up in one sentence: We are in the communication business. Great communication begins with listening. The quality we achieve in everything we do is directly attributable to the thoroughness of our communication. 

Disney, DavidWhen working with events, what factor is most likely to make or break its success?

Ensuring your team possesses accurate event details is critical to the delivery of a successful event. The crucial juncture in the process is the handoff of information between work teams. It takes dedication from every member of the team to make it happen. Always make certain to pass the “information baton” cleanly, smoothly, and accurately to avoid a “drop” at any point in the event service “race.”

What is one project or innovation you’re proud to have helped implement?

While I worked on the Ann Arbor campus, I was honored to lead the opening of Palmer Commons in 2004, a new 100,000-square-foot conference and community center at the University of Michigan. We built an efficient, effective team of professionals and students who helped establish Palmer Commons as a destination on campus for vibrant collaboration, exemplary culinary and event services, and an incubator for student success. I am proud to be associated with this dynamic campus resource that continues to evolve and thrive today. 

Describe a memorable day on the job.

Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, was a memorable day at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. The University Unions and Events team had the privilege of supporting the launch of the Talent Gateway, a creative campus-wide initiative that connects students with resources, experiences, and people designed to enhance their personal, academic, and career success. It is the most innovative student success undertaking on campus in years. 

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