MEMBER PROFILE: Deanna P. Baker, RMR

Currently resides in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Position: Captioner

Member since 1981

Graduated from: American Institute of Commerce, Bettendorf, Iowa

Theory: Philadelphia Clinic Theory

Favorite tip:

Never stop learning! By whatever means necessary! Then again, always schedule down time to be unplugged and enjoy your friends and family.

Why did you decide to become a CART and captioning provider?

After being a legal reporter for 11 years, my last deposition did not go so well – I actually walked out, which I wouldn’t recommend – and I knew I needed to go in a different direction.

How did you learn about the career?

I had recently read an article in the JCR about a student who was hard of hearing in Texas and someone was providing realtime services for him in school. I found this fascinating and proceeded to do my research on starting this in my area, which I did and it is flourishing to this day, nearly 25 years later!

What has been your best work experience so far in your career?

I guess I should say meeting my husband, who was my tech support guy. We’ve been married for 19 years!

But in the actual working world, I would say having worked with Hearing Loss Association of America, formerly Self Help for Hard of Hearing, for 23 years now. Knowing who my consumers are and their experiences makes working every day a joy.

What surprised you about your career and why?

I guess being a “pioneer” I really had no idea where and how this skill was going to progress and where it will be going in the future. I never listened to those who thought realtime was a passing fancy and that technology would take over. There is no piece of technology now or in the foreseeable future that can match the human brain. It seems every day there is a new use for excellent steno skills.

Think back to when you were a new reporter. What was your biggest hurdle to overcome and how did you do so?

That was 33 years ago! I remember passing my state exams fairly early on, which I know boosted my confidence tremendously, which is good as I was only 19 years old. Honestly it was having the social and professional skills working with attorneys. If I had anything to do over again, I would have gone to college and then court reporting school!

Do you have a favorite gadget? If so, what it is, and why do you like it?

I’m not really a person for gadgets, basically I have what is needed. I would have to say my wireless headset for my phone. Being a remote captioner, the phone is 99 percent where I get my audio feed, so having the ability to run around the house during commercials with my headset on is really an asset.

What are you most proud of in your career?

All of those fabulous writers out there that I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring!

Can you tell us what that experience was like?

Watching these wonderful writers flourish, go off in different directions and be mentors themselves has me beaming with pride. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

What advice or tips would you offer to new reporters?

Grab every opportunity that comes your way. You never know where it’s going to lead you or who you are going to meet!

Did you overcome a challenge in your career?

As a deposition reporter, the firm I worked at had scopists, which I had never used before. My first scopist gave me my very first job back and said it was a mess. Nobody would work with me until I cleaned up my writing! Which, of course, I did. Now she watches my captions on TV and can’t believe it!

Have you accomplished something not related to your career that you would like to relate?

In additional to having many animals — two horses, three goats, seven chickens, two dogs and four cats — I love gardening. So many years ago, I completely the Master Gardener program, certified Arborist training, and Master Naturalist and Watershed Specialist training! And for no particular reason except I’ve always wanted to, I’m a Master Mixologist as well!