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From NCRA’s President: Change is …

By Sarah E. Nageotte 

We are all familiar with popular quotes concerning change: “Change is the law of life,” “There is nothing permanent except change,” and “Change is inevitable.”

I will be the first to admit, change is scary; the unknown can be even scarier. At the same time, change means progress and hope, and it opens doors to new and exciting possibilities. We’ve all experienced change at varying levels in our personal lives and during our professional careers. Change is constant.

Never did I envision I would be writing my March President’s column while in the midst of a search for NCRA’s next CEO and Executive Director. When Jim Cudahy informed me that he had accepted the position as the President and CEO of the National Investor Relations Institute and would be leaving NCRA at the end of February, I initially had a moment of panic and unease. Change? Why does there need to be change? Why can nothing stay the same?

That moment turned into the realization that, yes, change happens. While Jim will be missed at NCRA, an opportunity has arisen that will allow us to find our next executive leadership and boldly progress into the future. This opportunity comes at a time when NCRA and our profession are engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign following the release of the 2013-2014 Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report produced by Ducker Worldwide. Launched in September 2014, the Take Note campaign thus far has proven a success. We are in a position to go into the marketplace with a strategy in play that is positive and offers an area of growth and innovation. Change is good.

The NCRA Board of Directors has secured the services of a professional search partner, Vetted Solutions, to manage the process of identifying the best candidates to consider for NCRA’s CEO and Executive Director. I have appointed a Search Committee consisting of individuals with an array of backgrounds and experience from our profession and association. Those members are Stephen Zinone, Nativa Wood, Michele York, Jan Ballman, Jay Vettickal, Karen Yates, and myself. The Search Committee’s task is to work alongside Vetted Solutions and narrow down the pool of qualified candidates for the NCRA Board of Directors’ ultimate consideration and selection.

Change is movement, and moving forward in the search and selection process is a top priority for Vetted Solutions, the Search Committee, and your Board of Directors. Though it’s difficult to nail down a concrete time frame during which we would select and welcome our new CEO and Executive Director, we’re moving swiftly, wasting no time in identifying qualified candidates, and we’re hopeful that we will be nearer a selection by mid-April.

NCRA offers significant opportunity to the right candidate. We are poised to grow, and we have positive momentum because of the leadership and direction we’ve taken as an association in the last few years. The new CEO and Executive Director has dedicated volunteers and a best-in-class staff ready to help him or her succeed, and for that reason, I’m beyond confident that the change that lies ahead for us will remain positive.

Likewise, because NCRA is an excellent leadership opportunity for the right individual, we are also in a powerful position in terms of our selection process. We have a clear image of who we are as a profession and we’ve identified the critical areas within our five-year plan with the Vision 2018 roadmap. We can be selective. We can take the time and care we need to find a leader who is committed to our cause, and can forge ahead with a dedication to the bright future we all envision and deserve. The search process has been marked with great focus on finding a candidate who has the right experience in the areas that matter most to NCRA, that being experience with a professional membership, financial acumen, a strong leadership and development background, and fresh ideas about how to shape and support the evolution of our longstanding and proud profession.

Looking back over my time on the NCRA Board of Directors, I have been fortunate to experience positive change, both personally and professionally. Was the change expected? Not always. In fact, some changes were unwanted or otherwise placed before me to accept. And that’s not a bad thing, because each modification and shift has guided me and made me stronger. They have been positive for me, much like NCRA’s change in association leadership just two and a half years ago has strengthened its focus on the future of a profession. In addition, the profession, like each of us, is adjusting and aligning our services to meet the marketplace’s needs and demands, yet another area of advancement.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to recognize Jim for his leadership as NCRA CEO and Executive Director since June 2012. Jim, thank you for dedication to the stenographic court reporting profession and to NCRA. Your vision and commitment have been instrumental in creating an atmosphere that has allowed for a positive change within a profession and association. Good luck to you as you embark on your new professional journey.

Progress. Growth. Hope. Opportunity. I am excited to embrace and be a part of the changes taking place at this time, and I look forward to seeing what the future brings. Change is welcome!

Sarah E. Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC, is NCRA’s President. She can be reached at