A woman poses in Disneyland.
Carrie Nocella, ’02, grew up in Anaheim and has seen her Disney career come full circle.

Carrie Nocella, ’02, has made a lasting impact through her journey of leadership and resilience. As the Director of External Affairs at Disneyland Resort, she played a crucial role in navigating the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading the effort to reopen the resort after its 412-day closure. Collaborating closely with government officials and industry partners, Nocella ensured the safe return of the beloved theme park.

Growing up in Anaheim, Nocella developed a strong connection to Disneyland, starting as a high school employee and gradually advancing through the ranks. Her dedication was evident as she witnessed Main Street’s revival, evoking tears of joy from both staff and visitors.

Nocella credits much of her success to the solid foundation provided by McGeorge School of Law. Under the guidance of esteemed professors like John Sprankling, she honed her analytical skills, shaping her career trajectory. A pivotal moment came when she crossed paths with retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, reinforcing her decision to pursue law at McGeorge. She remembers her time at McGeorge as “fantastic,” and not just because it’s where she met her husband Tom, who is now a Senior Attorney at the Alternate Public Defender’s office in Orange County, CA.

Her career journey has been diverse, spanning from public defense to her current role in government relations at Disney. Nocella’s versatility and commitment extend beyond corporate interests to include social responsibility and community engagement.

While Nocella’s office overlooks the whimsical surroundings of Disneyland’s Toontown, her responsibilities are grounded in strategic planning and development for the future.

As an inspiration to aspiring legal professionals, Nocella emphasizes the importance of exploring various career paths to find fulfillment. Her down-to-earth advice resonates with wisdom, encouraging individuals to seek purpose in their professional pursuits.

Throughout 2024, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law will celebrate members of its vast alumni network in honor of the school’s 100-year anniversary. This post is part of a series highlighting 100 exceptional McGeorge School of Law alumni.  

Stay tuned for more blog posts as we celebrate the law school’s centennial anniversary.