"My first step is to become a lead here. After that I can think about going to college,” he said. “I have a girlfriend who is also hard of hearing. I’m dreaming that 10 years from now, we’ll have a house and children, and that I’ll be a manager leading both deaf and hearing people.”
“I’ve been a fighter all my life,” Oliver said. “I’ve seen people that have paved the pathway, that have torn down barriers, and I’m ready to do that, too.”
Oliver signs during a break at an Amazon fulfillment center in Werne, Germany. He’s recently been selected to participate in a leadership training program.
Oliverand his partner smile for the camera during a hike in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco in 2018.
While having a disability presents a unique challenge, Oliver is determined to pursue his goal.
“When I first started, I realized a lead has a lot of complicated tasks to perform,” he said. “They need to be able to communicate with people and lead meetings. There’s a lot of organizing and problem-solving.”
“It can be difficult for a deaf person to find the courage to work with hearing people,” Oliver said. “With hearing individuals, I use a lot of facial expressions.”
“So far I’ve had a really good experience. My colleagues are open and communicate with me, share their stories, and it’s a community. They make an effort with sign language and it’s been going well,” he said. “I don’t feel like an individual who is deaf, I just feel like I’m an individual that is equal to everyone else.”
For Oliver, achieving his goal of becoming a manager is just the beginning of a bright future.
“Before Amazon, I had lived a life that only included goals for deaf people.”
Oliver works as a fulfillment center associate at Amazon. He’s recently been selected to take part in a manager training program.
“My goal is to start working as a team lead, so my ambitions are high.”