Last night, Orange County’s top executives, small business owners and entrepreneurs gathered at the Hyatt Regency Irvine for the Orange County Business Council’s annual dinner, where the organization inducted its new chair of the board of directors. Julie Miller-Phipps, Kaiser Permanente Orange County’s senior vice president and executive director, was sworn in at the event as the chair of the council’s board of directors for 2012.
Lucy Dunn, president of the Orange County Business Council, said Miller-Phipps’ appointment would be an asset to the council, considering her background in healthcare.
“Healthcare is a major infrastructure issue for the county because our population is aging. Having her leadership and expertise while all the healthcare rules are changing will be a substantial benefit,” Dunn said. “Our board approved a five-year strategic plan last year, and so [Miller-Phipps’] leadership will be the continuation on that plan with a focus on infrastructure, housing, education and economic development – our four initiatives.”
Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, delivered the evening’s keynote. Staggs oversees Disney’s worldwide travel and leisure operations, including 11 theme parks, five destination resorts, a top-rated cruise line, and a vacation-ownership club rewards program. In his previous role as executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Walt Disney Company, Staggs presided over the company’s global financial business, including brand management, corporate strategy and development, acquisitions, investor relations, real estate, and corporate responsibility, among many other aspects of the firm’s worldwide fiscal operations.
During his time with The Walt Disney Company, Staggs has been instrumental in a number of key strategic initiatives and programs. He played a role in the company’s acquisitions of Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment and Capital Cities/ABC.
During his address, Staggs spoke about Disney’s continuing success and expansions during a tough economic period. This summer, the local Disneyland Resort will debut its first new “land” with the unveiling of Carsland at the Disney California Adventure Park. Staggs said it was the company’s goal to be the best in class for travelers, providing a first-rate experience and the ability to deliver customization and choice to visitors.
Dunn said reactions to Staggs’ keynote were very positive and that it was gratifying to have a sneak-peak of some upcoming entertainment. Attendees were treated to a surprise performance of “Minnie’s Fly Girls Charter Airline” with Minnie Mouse, a new show set to premier soon at the Condor Flats in the California Adventure Park.
“To think of this little theme park that started here in the ’50s is now a global operation with their latest park already in production in Shangai, China, just shows that Orange County is the land of innovation and great creativity,” Dunn said.
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