By Rosemary Leger & Haleigh Santilli – Copy Editor & Arts Editor
Lasell alumni Martha Powell spoke in the Arnow Campus Center on September 29 about her swift and inspiring journey from Lasell student to a career at Walt Disney World. Current students from all majors came to learn how the Disney College Program influenced her career and allowed her to grow to where she is today.
After graduating in 2014, Powell was unsure about where to take her degree in Fashion Design and Production. She made a quick decision to apply for the Disney College Program. The program houses, educates, and employs those who are still in or recently graduated from an institution of higher education.
Powell moved to Walt Disney World Florida in August of that year and began work as a merchandiser. She was a proactive employee, persistently speaking to managers about her real passion for costume design. It was this constant conversation that she attributes to her quick ascent.
One day, in a burst of confidence, Powell showed her manager her senior collection. The extraordinary collection was her ticket to the top. Those who in attendance of the 2014 show could never forget the incredible circus-themed line. Two weeks later, Powell was a full time animatronics seamstress.
Powell was introduced to the Entertainment Manager of Creative Costuming, who brought her to meet the sewers and patternmakers. At that point, the department had not hired anyone in 15 years. She continued to shine and offered them all of her hard work and talent.
She is the first in the history of the Disney College Program to be pulled out of the program and into a full time position. “You think it’s never going to happen to me,” said Powell.
It doesn’t end there. Powell was then approached by the head of Patternmaking. She had scored so highly on the interview she was promoted to a first-hand patternmaker. This put her in the top percentile of creatives in the company, according to Powell.
“Your Lasell education can take you much further than you think,” said Powell.
She stressed the importance of having a portfolio on hand at all times. “Regardless of your major, go out there with a portfolio that assaults the senses… bring it everywhere because you never know who you’re going to meet.”
Powell urged students to take the opportunities that come their way, even if they seem minuscule at first—because they can lead to greatness.
Students left the presentation feeling motivated. Many fashion majors believe not having Parson’s or Fashion Institute of Technology on their résumé makes them less valuable in the industry.
Junior Kathryn Browne learned that this is not the case. “Anyone at Lasell can have the same opportunities. With a little bit of pixie dust you can change your career,” Browne said.
“I did it like no one else,” said Powell. “It happened really fast and it was really scary.”
Despite her fears, she took every opportunity given to her at the happiest place on earth and said “…the Disney magic hits you in the face, and nothing matters anymore.”