David Huntley, a senior executive vice president and the chief compliance officer for AT&T, understands why accessibility matters.

“When I was about 12 or 13, I watched as my grandfather was losing his hearing,” he recalled. “He was very proud and chose not to wear hearing aids. I saw how people treated him as a result of having to repeat themselves. That was my first indication that something ought to be done for everybody.”

Chief Accessibility Officer Suzanne Montgomery first experienced life with a disability through a sibling. “My younger sister has epilepsy. I watched my sister struggle growing up, not being able to enjoy life the way I did,” she said. “I had this sense of unfairness watching her grow up … being told she was different.”

David wondered what would happen if he, too, lost his hearing – and he had an epiphany. “We attach stigmas to these kinds of issues needlessly. There’s nothing wrong with losing your hearing. You just have to make up for it in another way.”

That is accessibility.

Rasesh Patel, senior executive vice president of Digital, Retail & Care, leads a team responsible for all customer interactions – about 132 million visits per month across the company’s websites and digital platforms. This includes a dedicated team that fields over 200,000 calls annually from customers with hearing and speech impairments and other special needs. In 2018, AT&T made more than 170 site updates to enhance access for disabled visitors.

And yet Rasesh came to truly understand the importance of their work while serving as a Special Olympics volunteer. “You could just see the sheer joy that all of the participants had,” he said. “They were equally as committed, competitive and passionate about the sports as any professional athlete that I’ve seen. But what was even more impressive was the community around them.”

At AT&T, we’re part of that community. We understand the importance of being connected. Because for us, it’s personal.

Let’s connect | AT&T and accessibility, 3:24
Our leaders weigh in on how AT&T approaches accessibility for its disabled customers through smart technology and a compassionate mindset that includes us all.