Disney World’s slogan is “the happiest place on earth.” Mark Sadowski, a 1998 UConn graduate who is the public relations director for Disney Destinations, says being able to work for “such an innovative and inspirational company makes going to work fun.”
Growing up in Connecticut, Sadowski said the University of Connecticut was an easy choice when it came to picking a college. It ultimately became his top choice because of the programs it offered. Sadowski said he credits his education from the UConn Journalism department, especially his advisor, the late Prof. John J. Breen, department chair Prof. Maureen Croteau, and Prof. Wayne Worcester.
“I found the Journalism department much more engaging and caring about the students,” Sadowski said. “It wasn’t just in the classroom; they take an interest in all students in the program.”
Sadowski said that the writing skills he learned at UConn really helped in his career as a PR professional.
“Writing first and foremost was the biggest help,” Sadowski said. When writing a news story or a magazine story, having the skills to be able to craft a story is very important. He believes that having that ability helped to strengthen the skills of an everyday reporter.
Sadowski did an internship at the local Fox television news station while in college and said that his internship allowed him to learn how to work with reporters. That was important to him later as a PR professional. He said that a lot of the members of the Disney PR team are former journalists, who covered Disney in the news before switching to PR.
“It’s a definite marriage between those two,” Sadowski said.
For Sadowski, his start at Disney didn’t begin because he was covering the company. A friend from UConn, who was a manager at Disney at the time, told Sadowski he should come down to Florida. In 2000, he moved to the Sunshine State and took a temporary position with Walt Disney Imagineering, which is responsible for designing concepts for theme parks, hotels, cruise ships and Disney real estate, among many other projects. The position, which was supposed to last six months, ended up lasting three and a half years.
“I was the spokesperson and communications coordinator for a variety of future projects,” Sadowski said.
After his time in Imagineering, Sadowski applied for an opening in public relations. He was hired as the public relations manager, and then promoted to Disney Destinations Public Relations director. He based in Orlando, handling public relations for the parks and resorts.
Sadowski said that from his experiences with UConn Journalism, internships, and other jobs, he said his biggest piece of advice for current students is plain and simple: networking.
“Networking is imperative,” Sadowski said. “Taking the time to meet people and asking what their jobs are like and their own individual career path…Nowadays, it’s all about who you know and how to cut through the clutter.”