DICK’S Sporting Items Huddles up With Assembly of America

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Submitted by Dick’s sporting goods

Originally published on DICK’S Sporting Goods Sideline Report

When we take the first step, we eventually rise. When DICK’S Sporting Goods was offered the opportunity to attend the Meeting of America (MOA) in early 2021, we immediately became a pilot partner of the program, which brings together a diverse group of industry leaders who strive to make a difference through dialogue.

Through a series of three initial meetings, DICK’s teammates helped shape this dialogue by engaging in the nationwide conversations that gradually evolved from introductory meetings to discussions on how to improve society. The Meeting of America pilot program was part of our company’s ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.

The MOA’s mission aligns closely with our own DEI strategy, which includes dialogue circles that provide opportunities for all teammates — from senior executives to our frontline teammates — to share and listen to vulnerable, honest stories that have the power to change hearts and minds. Having held hundreds of dialogue circles within the organization since 2020, the opportunity to engage others in these powerful conversations was a natural step.

“We know that conversations like this can lead to remarkable changes,” said DICK’S senior director of DEI Paloma DeNardis. “We are so proud and humbled that we can use what we have learned and help grow this worthy project to benefit more people and build a greater culture of inclusivity, understanding and togetherness.”

DICK’S provided a $50,000 grant to become one of MOA’s first corporate partners and helped program and recruit additional member partners, which now include Boston Beer, Target, McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson, and other educational institutions, technology companies, and… influential organizations belong.

Pearce Godwin started MOA after a career in politics and public service. In recent years, he has noticed an increasing “toxic polarization” in America and has made it his mission to turn down the heat. Expanding the reach of MOA’s message was imperative for Pearce and his team. A key goal was to involve established companies with nationwide reach and teammates from diverse backgrounds.

“This has been a groundbreaking moment over the past few months as our dream of having the most influential brands like DICK’S Sporting Goods embarks on this mission with us,” said Pearce. “It really is a dream come true. For years I felt that the business world raising its voice and its own people solving these problems within its proverbial walls and society at large would be critical to our success.”

Our own teammates were among the first to dive into the conversations to achieve the three main goals of the program:

  • Connect with each other to see our humanity instead of differences
  • Commit to building a common foundation of ideals that binds us together
  • Engage in engagement in our daily lives

For DICK’s teammate, Danielle Horton, the reason for joining the conversation was simple: to create a better world for her children to live in. When she was a child, Danielle’s parents hosted and supported a Vietnamese family who came to the United States as refugees. At each meeting, the conversations delved deeper into how our life experiences shape us and got Danielle to reflect on her own experiences of growing up.

“These interactions and others in my life have been incredibly crucial in shaping my worldview and they challenge my thinking about how I want to raise my children as well,” she said. “Those memory snaps were previously minimized, and speaking with Meeting of America allowed me to appreciate the value of those experiences.”

David Lund, DICK’S vice president of loss prevention, saw the program as an opportunity to expand his interest in participating in the dialogue circles offered to DICK’s teammates. He enjoyed the structure, involvement and deep conversations that gave him the opportunity to really understand each other.

“I really feel like this is the kind of forum where people can get to know each other on a different level,” said David.

DICK’s teammate Karen Holland also took part in the three conversations and reiterated this opinion.

Whether it’s virtual or in person, being able to have these meaningful discussions is a universal way to get to know and understand one another.

“Seeing that other person, literally seeing their humanity, is the magic of the conversation,” Pearce said. “It’s not rocket science. We have experienced it millions of times in our lives. Breaking down that wall of anonymity and distrust and that face-to-face look is what we need now more than ever.”

Count Danielle as another believer in the magic of dialogue and how participating in MOA will shape a brighter and more inclusive future.

“I have high hopes that this forum will be a model for how we can find common ground with our family, neighbors and strangers,” Danielle said. “We have to talk to each other, we have to find common ground, but also appreciate the differences. It starts with healthy, open conversations.”

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Dick’s sporting goods

Dick’s sporting goods

Today, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, is a leading omnichannel sporting goods retailer offering an extensive line of authentic, quality athletic equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. As of August 4, 2018, the company operated 729 DICK’S Sporting Goods locations across the United States, serving and inspiring athletes and outdoor enthusiasts to achieve their personal bests through a blend of dedicated employees, in-store services and unique shop-in-shops accessible for team sports, athletic wear, golf, lodge/outdoor, fitness and footwear.

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