News | Jan. 9, 2018

A powerful voice through silence

By Elizabeth Szoke DCMA Public Affairs

Atheel Mary, an accountant with Defense Contract Management Agency’s Financial and Business Operations Division, also known as FB, spoke at a recent FB all hands meeting, despite his different methods of communication.

“The first time I presented was a year prior and it was in front of a large audience at DCMA headquarters during the Maxwell Air Force Base-Air University’s Defense Financial Management and Comptroller School’s Defense Decision Support Course, referred to as DDSC,” Mary, who is deaf, said. “At first, I wasn’t really sure because I had never really experienced presenting in front of more than a group of 10.”

He eventually decided it would be a good tool to build his confidence and continue his professional growth.

That first encounter prepared him for his later presentation with FB. During that meeting, Atheel discussed typical misconceptions about deafness and hearing loss; ways to effectively communicate with deaf and hard of hearing individuals; strategies for group interactions and meetings; the role of a sign language interpreter; and assistive technology.

“A good way to communicate with me at work is through email,” said Mary. “However, now that I have a regular, onsite interpreter, it makes it easier for me to interact face-to-face with individuals or groups more often, which is something I enjoy.”

He discusses other methods of effective communication in addition to his experience with DCMA as a deaf person in the video above.

Atheel was also featured in the Armed Forces Comptroller magazine during the summer of 2017, which he feels honored to have been a part of. The article highlights the learning experience his instructor encountered with having a deaf student in the classroom. To read about this unique experience, the “Communicating for Team Success” article can be found here (Pages 53-57).

Atheel says he enjoys working with this team and that the agency has given him the tools necessary to really grow professionally despite his differences.

Contact Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency
Attn:  DCMA - DCC Office of Strategic Communication
3901 A Avenue Building 10500 Fort Lee, VA 23801 

Media Relations:  804-873-8011
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