Tonya Cornelius

Tonya Cornileus

Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Tonya Cornileus is the senior vice president, learning and talent solutions for The Walt Disney Company where she serves as an integral member of the enterprise Human Resources senior leadership team. Dr. Cornileus is responsible for learning and leadership development, talent and succession management, performance management, and career development. Dr. Cornileus joined The Walt Disney Company in 2009, serving for nearly 13 years at ESPN prior to moving into her current role. At ESPN, she led learning, talent management, organization development, diversity, equity and inclusion, and wellness.

Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Dr. Cornileus served as director, executive development & organizational effectiveness for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. from 2004 to 2009 and vice president, training & organizational development for Aegis Communications Group, Inc. from 1998 to 2004. She began her career as an educator.

Dr. Cornileus is involved with several professional and civic organizations. She serves on the Advisory Board for Advanced Leadership Laboratory, Women in Sports and Events (WISE) National Board of Directors, the boards for the T. Howard Foundation, the University of Florida Foundation, and Empower Her Network. Dr. Cornileus is a past board member and officer for the University of Georgia College of Education Board of Visitors and for the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

Dr. Cornileus has been recognized by various industry and professional organizations. Among her most recent recognitions, she was inducted into the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) Hall of Fame in 2022. In 2021, Dr. Cornileus was selected to the distinguished list of Wonder Women by Multichannel News, awarded Mentor of the Year during Cablefax’s Most Powerful Women Luncheon, and was named to Diversity Journal’s 2021 Women Worth Watching in Leadership. She was also recognized as one of the Cablefax’s Most Influential Minorities in Cable from 2012 to 2021. Dr. Cornileus was profiled in the fall 2020 edition of the Chief Talent Development Officer Magazine, Savoy Magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America and Pivot Magazine’s 2019 Pivotal Women. Dr. Cornileus was honored with the 2019 Career Achievement Award by the New England Chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications.

Dr. Cornileus’ philanthropic endeavors focus primarily on promoting access to education. In 2022, she established the Harris Family Opportunity Scholarship at the University of Georgia and in 2019, she established the Tonya Harris Cornileus CJC Diversity in Communications Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Florida. She is a major donor to the Criterion’s Club Gwendolyn Pinkney Harris Scholarship in honor of her deceased mother. Dr. Cornileus mentors college students through the University of Georgia’s alumni mentor program and young professionals across various companies and industries. She has mentored high school students through the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education’s New Beginnings program, and actively supports several other community service organizations.

Dr. Cornileus is a lifelong learner. She earned her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Human Resources and Organizational Development from the University of Georgia and her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Florida. Dr. Cornileus received the Senior Certified Professional designation by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP) and the Professional Coaching certification by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC CPC). She is passionate about helping individuals and teams realize their full potential and regularly spends her time speaking, writing and reading on topics of personal and professional development.


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