Valerie Cockerell on Writing Her First Book, Leadership Lessons from Disney, and Managing Like a Mother

Dec 14, 2023

One of the recurring themes of this podcast is leadership. Writing and creativity are, of course, a huge part of what we do. But if we want to operate a successful business, we have to be able to manage all the moving pieces in order for things to run smoothly and grow over time.

I’m excited to have a guest today who can help us do that. Valerie Cockerell was born and raised in France, where she graduated with a degree in Business Hospitality. She eventually joined Disneyland Paris in 1991 as a retail manager. After succeeding in a number of roles, she eventually oversaw the planning for all Resort merchandise locations in the park. 

Upon moving to Florida in 1997, Valerie worked as the Assortment Planning Manager at Downtown Disney and Epcot Center, eventually moving to Merchandise Brand Management for both Epcot and the Disney Cruise Line.

Valerie left the company and started consulting for outside organizations in the retail world. She returned to Disney in 2013 to become a contract facilitator for Disney Institute, where she facilitated professional development classes and custom programs in both French and English. She drew from her international management experience in retail and operations to teach Disney’s approach to Leadership Excellence and Customer Service.

Since May 2019, Valerie has been a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator with her husband, Dan Cockerell. In her speaking, she shares her expertise and methodology in leading teams and delivering outstanding customer service.

Valerie joins me today for a conversation about her new book, Manage like a Mother: Leadership Lessons Drawn from the Wisdom of Mom, which offers a simple-to-understand and easy-to-implement take on leadership inspired by a mother’s playbook.

We talk about her career working for the Disney organization, how everyone can learn to become a better leader and manager by borrowing concepts from mothers (even men!), how writers can implement these principles, and more.

 You can connect with Valerie at