James Foley, Writers @ Work

Upcoming Events - Writers @ Work

The Art of Storytelling: Karl Holz (Business Administration, ‘73)

Wednesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 2

Writers @ Work Events - May 2024

 About Karl Holz...Business Administration '73 
Former President, Disney Cruise Line & New Vacation Operations, The Walt Disney Company
Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Company

Karl is a 22-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company with deep expertise in building organizational culture, CX, operations, strategic planning, international business and start-up ventures. As President of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations, he was responsible for driving the growth of Disney’s vacation portfolio beyond its theme parks. These unique, award-winning and brand-building businesses set Disney apart in the vacation marketplace.

He achieved strong business results by building world-class teams who together, consistently exceeded expectations. He  is recognized as a leader who nurtures, develops and retains top talent.  He continues to serve as a mentor to many.  Karl is a highly visible and engaging leader who is known for always doing what is best and right, thereby building trust with cast members, guests and shareholders.

In 2004, Karl was appointed President and COO of Disneyland Resort Paris and six months later, became Chairman and CEO. His responsibilities for this €1.4B resort include 15,000 cast members, two theme parks, seven hotels, a golf course, a night-time entertainment complex and residential/commercial development.  During his tenure in Paris, he directed three complex financial restructurings that contributed to the successful re-launch of the business in 2008. Before his assignment in France, Karl served as President, Disney Cruise Line, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney World Operations, Vice President of Epcot and several other roles. Prior to joining Disney, he served as Vice President of Theme Parks and Restaurants at Knott’s Berry Farm and before, enjoyed eighteen success filled years with Sky Chefs, then a subsidiary of American Airlines and now known as LSG Sky Chefs.

In his most recent role with Disney, Karl was responsible for Disney Cruise Line; Disney Vacation Club; Adventures by Disney; Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Hawaii; The Disney Institute; Facility Operations Services; and the Golden Oak development at the Walt Disney World Resort. He guided the massive expansion of Disney Cruise Line in 2011 and 2012 and championed its further expansion by committing to three new ships, the first of which was launched in July, 2022. Karl led the strategic re-orientation of the Disney Institute, a leadership development business serving the people development needs of many companies. Additionally, he again assumed responsibility for Disneyland Resort Paris in 2014, guiding the resort through a sensitive risk period, launched strategic expansion plans and ultimately took this French, publicly held resort, private in late 2017.  

In 2018 Karl joined McKinsey & Company as a Senior Advisor. He advises the Saudi Public Investment Fund and is on the High Council of Neom.  He is currently a Board Director of CRUISE SAUDI, Radisson Hotel Group and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Resort.  His board focus is on compensation, nominating and governance matters.

Karl earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Fredonia. He is a member of the Fredonia Foundation Board and in 2005, was awarded the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Over the years, Karl has been deeply committed to helping communities and people in need, supporting Special Olympics Florida, Boys & Girls Clubs and the United Way, among others. At Disney, he was a member of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Executive Committee, served as Chairman of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Diversity and Inclusion Council and, the world-wide Environmental Council. During his last ten years with Disney, Karl was a member of the CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Global Executive Committee, a board member of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Chairman of the Magical Cruise Company Management Board (UK based, Disney Cruise Line) and a Director of the Euro Disney Supervisory Board.

Karl is a caring, thoughtful and influential executive with the skills, track record and passion to solve the complex challenges of today’s organizations. He brings new perspectives, innovative thinking and creative solutions to the forefront, as he strives to build long-term shareholder value. Karl and his wife Wendy live in Windermere, Florida.

The Art of Storytelling - Schedule of Events

Wednesday, May 1:
10-10:50am - Leadership Management and Project Success 
Description: From coursework to the world of work - how does classroom knowledge apply in the workforce?
LOCATION: S204DE Williams Center

1-1:50pm - The Lost Art of Writing: writing workshop
Description: Writing, whether factual, business focused, or fiction, still requires context, situational explanation, analysis, and solutions or recommendations
LOCATION: Fenton Hall, room 153(47 seats)

3-4pm - Meet Karl Holz: Success After Graduation - Return on Investment (ROI)    
Description: General career directions, advice, etc. Focus: What struggles has he faced? What does it take to get to where he is today? What did Fredonia offer you? If I choose Harvard vs. Fredonia, would I have a similar outcome? Focus on ROI
LOCATION: S204 ABC Williams Center
SNACK (FSA): Cookies & iced water

Thursday, May 2:
9:30am- 10:30am - Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Factors in Today's Business Environment 
LOCATION: W101 Thompson
MEAL (FSA): Coffee and pastries

12:00 - 2:30pm - Disney Fans & More! 1:1 Career Prep (by appointment only; call 716-673-3327)
Description: 20-minute appointments - Disney internships, resume, cover letter, interview practice questions, career advice
LOCATION: Career Development Office, Gregory Hall, 2nd Floor
MEAL (FSA): Pizza squares and iced water

3:30-4:50 pm - Are You Ready? Networking 101 Mocktail Event 
Description: Mingle and enjoy refreshments - All guests and students available for networking while participants gather networking tips and learn from Karl!
LOCATION: Horizon Room (Williams Center)
MEAL (FSA): Relish tray, assorted petite quiche, vegetable spring rolls, sparking juice and iced water

The Art of Storytelling SPONSORS

RESIDENCY SPONSORS: Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation, Career Development Office, Faculty Student Association, Fredonia Alumni Association

RESIDENCY PARTNERS: Applied Professional Studies: Sport Management, School of Business, English Department, Honors Program, Keeper of the Dream Scholars  

SERIES PARTNERS: Alumni Affairs, School of Business, Career Development Office, English Department, Center for Innovation and Economic Development, Honors Program, Undergraduate Admissions  

All events are free!

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