DICK'S Teammate Uses Deafness To Create Connections for Athletes Around Country
Growing up as the only deaf or hard-of-hearing kid in her Iowa hometown, DICK’S Sporting Goods teammate Meghan Moratz consistently advocated for equal opportunities. Fighting for the use of sign language interpreters throughout school, Moratz learned that when someone shines a light on the inequities that can face those in the disabled community, people can accomplish great things.
Working as a technical designer at DICK’S, Moratz has been able to pursue her life-long dream of working in fashion. Still, she continues to advocate for others by teaching bi-weekly ASL classes to her fellow teammates across the country in the hopes of helping them learn how to communicate with, and welcome, deaf or hard-of-hearing customers into our stores.
“I have always been passionate about disability awareness. My degree is in fashion design, but while in college, I was torn between going the fashion route or to law school so that I could become an advocate for others,” Moratz said. “I eventually chose fashion, but I have been hoping to find a way to make a difference while still pursuing my passion. With the DICK’S teammate resource group B.E.E. (Belong. Educate. Evolve.), I can continue pursuing my passion for disability awareness.”
While the classes are still relatively new, Meghan is already making an impact. In addition to the lessons where teammates learn new signs live, the ASL team has also developed an internal website that hosts recording of each session so that teammates can learn and practice on their own time.
For Moratz, the most significant difference she can see down the road is for teammates within stores to be able to help a deaf or hard-of-hearing athlete in their native language who is looking for assistance. From experience, Moratz knows the impact it can have on someone when a company takes that extra effort to make everyone feel welcome.
“Deafness is such a unique disability since it’s communication-based, and if you think about our lives, we communicate with people all the time,” Moratz said. “It’s my hope that these classes will help to give deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes better access to our stores.”