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Her Practically Perfect Career

Magic Kingdom Job is Dream Come True for UCM Alumna

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Choosing Central Missouri was an easy decision for the Hickman Mills Senior High School graduate because she liked its comfortable, relaxed feeling. She joined the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, which she credits to shaping her college experience. She says that being part of Greek life and living in Panhellenic Hall with the other sororities created a sense of community and support.

When she realized how much she enjoyed setting up social events for the sorority with the fraternities, she switched her major to graphic arts technology management.

"I have always gravitated to the creative process, and when I first attended UCM, I was a marketing major. Midway through school, I took photography and screen printing classes and was suddenly drawn to graphic arts," she says.

Photo by Ryan Astamendi, courtesy of Disney

Finding an internship to complete her studies was tougher than she thought. Having no luck
after meeting with printers in Kansas City, she packed her bags and headed west to California to live with her aunt. She found a job at a printing company and gained experience with layout minus a computer.

When she graduated from UCM and again had no luck finding employment with area printing companies, she returned to California where she got her old job back. The company had been bought by Applied Graphics, which produces movie posters, records, CDs and other entertainment-related prints. She was working in customer service when a sales executive took her under his wing. In a twist of fate, the Disney Company called Applied Graphics to do some printing, and she was assigned to their account. It was her break into the corporate Disney world.

For Marie Nelson Masakayan, a 1989 UCM alumna, it began with Mary Poppins, but now in her job as vice president of global creative operations for the Walt Disney Company, it encompasses much more.

Masakayan started at Disney as a manager buying print materials for their creative portfolios in the consumer products division, coordinating $2 million in printing projects. When the industry shifted to desktop computers, she helped to bring print production in-house to reduce costs. She was promoted to senior manager over production, electronic studio and traffic. Next, she worked with the company to create a job family for project management, now known as creative operations, and was named its director. When the company decided to centralize its creative development department, she was promoted to vice president.

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