Bonnie Sherman Weber

Aug 12, 2015, 16:51 PM

Jodi Helmer

BonnieWeberFMWhen Bonnie Sherman Weber accepted a part-time job flipping hamburgers at Six Flags Magic Mountain in the 1980s, she had no idea that it was the start of a career in the amusement industry.

Over the last three decades, Weber traded her spatula for increased responsibilities in the California theme park, taking on diverse roles in foodservice, public relations, and sales – all while falling in love with theme parks.

“It's such a fun industry,” she says. “I truly believe this is a dream job and I love what I do.”

In 2006, Weber left Six Flags for a position as director of worldwide marketing with Warner Brothers Consumer Products where she assisted with the launch for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. She returned to the park in 2010 for her current position as park president of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor.

“Stepping away from Six Flags gave me added and very valuable perspective on the importance of brands and brand management,” she says. “Returning to my beloved Six Flags was a capstone event for my career.”

In her current role, Weber uses her extensive background in marketing, communications, and sales to oversee all aspects of the theme and water parks from brand development and strategic planning to leadership and marketing. While her job description is exhaustive, Weber is quick to point out that she is not operating solo.

“I'm very fortunate to have one of the best teams in the industry, including a stellar group of directors who manage the day-to-day aspects of their respective divisions,” she explains. “[It] allows me the opportunity to concentrate on our brand.”

Weber admits that working with a team is one of her favorite parts of the job because it affords her the opportunity to collaborate and witness the growth of her colleagues as they take on new opportunities and excel.

One of Weber’s major tasks is leading her team in innovation, ensuring the park continues drawing visitors in with a wow factor, which is one of the biggest challenges of her role as park president.

“Keeping our industry and our product relevant, especially in this highly competitive Southern California market with gold standard destination parks like Disney and Universal, [is a challenge],” Weber says.

To connect with day-to-day operations, Weber walks the parks several times per day to interact with staff and guests, noting that the feedback she receives on the parks and attractions from the impromptu interactions help shape her role.

“I love seeing all the smiling faces of our guests,” she says. “But one of the hidden gems of the job is working and developing our team [and] creating a positive culture where people believe they make a difference, doing great work and having fun.” 

An IAAPA membership has been instrumental for Weber. Since joining in the 1990s, she has served on the marketing and education committee, participated in strategic planning focus groups and crisis task forces and served as a guest speaker at association events – she even met her husband through IAAPA!

“The association allows members to forge strong friendships while participating on committees and the wealth of knowledge that IAAPA members bring to the table is immeasurable,” she says. “It's nice to have such a depth of knowledge for the industry that you can go to and, for me personally, I love to give back thru IAAPA to an industry that has given so much to me.”