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Keynote Speakers


Lee Cockerell

Lee Cockerell is a renowned keynote speaker, author, and former Executive Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort. He is known for his expertise in leadership, customer service, and employee engagement, and has spoken at numerous conferences and events worldwide.

As a keynote speaker for the SECSA CHRIE conference, Cockerell will offer valuable insights and strategies for hospitality and tourism professionals looking to improve their leadership skills and create a culture of excellence in their organizations. His practical, real-world experience in one of the world's most renowned hospitality companies makes him a sought-after speaker and advisor in the industry.


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His Story

Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. “As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village and the ESPN sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.”


Lee has served as Chairman of the Board of Heart of Florida United Way, the Board of Trustees for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the board of the Production and Operations Management Society and the board of Reptilia a Canadian attractions and entertainment company. In 2005 Governor Bush appointed Lee to the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Public Service for the state of Florida where he served as Chairman of the Board.

He is now dedicating his time to public speaking, authoring a book on leadership, management and service excellence titled, Creating Magic…10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney. which is now available in 13 languages and his latest book, The Customer Rules…The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service.


I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.


Sarah King

serves as Darden’s Chief People & Diversity Officer. A member of Darden’s Executive Team, she leads the execution of Darden’s people strategy as well as building organizational capability and employee culture to further enable Darden’s growth. She is also responsible for all aspects of the HR functions within Darden, including oversight of the HR organizations within each of Darden’s operating companies.


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Her Story


Darden owns and operates more than 1,800 Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s restaurants in North America.


Prior to joining Darden in 2017, Sarah spent 19 years with Wyndham Worldwide Corporation where she worked closely with operators and executive leaders to execute successful people initiatives around the world. Most recently, she served as Executive Vice President, Human Resources for Wyndham Vacation Ownership. In this role, Sarah was responsible for developing and rolling out the company’s people strategy, which focused on enhancing the culture to attract, engage and retain top talent.

A native of New Zealand, Sarah studied communications at the Auckland University of Technology.

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