This Women’s History Month, we would like to shine a spotlight on Susan Finnigan, a Disney cast member who epitomizes the word “service” to both country and community. While Susan now works as a Lead Product Manager for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, she is also a former Sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps where her passion to serve began.
A third-generation military musician, Susan enlisted in the Marine Corps because it was the only branch of the military where she could play her instrument, a baritone bugle. Since being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, she has been very active in veteran Marines organizations where she has formed strong ties with other veterans, dedicating her time to helping with various Central Florida and national organizations.
Currently, Susan is the president of the Women Marine Association chapter in Central Florida, where she helps with events throughout the state. She has also had the immense honor of being the first-ever woman to serve as the National Director with the First Marine Division Association, a highly respected national organization that supports veterans and their families. She has had the opportunity of escorting World War II veterans to Washington DC where they were celebrated for their incredible achievements during the war effort.
“Susan has easily earned the respect of all of our members and their families in our prestigious organization,” said Michael L. Galyean, President of the Central Florida Chapter of the 1st Marine Division Association. “We are so proud of her, and the credit and distinction she brings to all of us who have pinned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor of the United States Marine Corps on our collar.”
While serving with the Marines, her affinity for volunteering began with the Toys for Tots program, an organization led by the Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. Susan found out just how important this program was soon after leaving active duty to pursue a career in the civilian world. While excited for her new adventure, she unfortunately soon found herself in a very difficult position. Pregnant, newly divorced, and unable to give her children a gift for the holidays, she turned to her community and found help with the organization she once volunteered for while in uniform.
“Toys for Tots is such an impactful service, especially for parents of young children and it’s such a meaningful program,” said Susan. “Services like food pantries helped us through a tough time in our lives, through all those trials I found the perseverance to start again and ultimately led me to my new career and renewed sense of commitment to helping others, especially those who have served their country in the armed forces.”
When she started her career in Disney Parks nine years ago, she became part of the first leadership team of SALUTE, a Business Employee Resource Group that supports cast members who have a strong affinity with the military, where she now serves as the Membership Chair. Susan also continues working in her community both as part of the Disney SALUTE Veteran affinity group and on her own.
Cast members and military veterans like Susan, are an essential part of our Disney family and contribute in countless ways in supporting the company and the communities in which we live. We want to give a hearty salute to you, Susan. Thank you for all you do!