Women in military and corporate leadership share stories of success

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Colonel Jennifer Short doesn't just fly A-10s for a living, she's a wing commander in charge of 4,100 airmen and civilians at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

"I was just at my child's field day in uniform and had a little child come up to me and say, 'Oh I didn't know women could be in the military.' And that floored me. Here we are 2019, and a young lady didn't realize that women can serve in the military," Short said. "So I think it's always great to get more attention on the fact that women do serve in the military and we do exactly what the men do."

Short was in Los Angeles this week for a Disney Salute event celebrating Women's History Month. Disney Salute is an employee-led organization that was launched in April 2016 as an employee-resource group for Disney employees who are veterans of America's armed forces, along with family members and friends of veterans.

Short, along with retired Rear Admiral Sandy Adams and Major Stacey Bateman, spoke on a panel with three Walt Disney Company executives about the similarities between military and civilian career paths.

The three Disney executives were Cheryl Fair, President and General Manager of ABC7, Susan McLain, Senior Vice President of Global Product Management for Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, and Sarah Beers, Vice President of Franchise Creative and Marketing at Marvel Studios.

"I don't understand the paths that they've gone through," Short said. "I think I probably have a little empathy of working in a male-dominated career field."

Women represent 20% of the U.S. military. When Adams joined the Navy in 1981, woman only made up 8%.

"These men and women who are coming off of active duty have already overcome adversity, been overseas, they've done so much and they're looking to belong to organizations like Disney," Adams said.

Since Disney launched the Heroes Work Here initiative in March 2012, the company has hired over 10,000 veterans.

"As females who are in high-powered positions, wherever they may be, we understand how we are alike and how we are different and how that brings us all together," McLain said.

Disney Salute promotes an environment in which the unique qualities and skills of veterans are recognized and appreciated. The organization supports veterans, active and reserve military members, and their families nationwide.

"There's the military and there's civilians, but there's so much similar especially when you're looking at professional women and where we started from and where we are today," Beers said.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC7.
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