MEMBER PROFILE: Debbie Bridges

Currently resides in:  Wheaton, Ill.

Position: Firm owner, Bridges Court Reporting

Chicago, Ill.

Member since:  1982

Graduated from: Triton College

Theory:  StenEd

Why did you decide to become a court reporter?

The interesting thing is I had no idea what I was getting myself into, i.e., the actual career of court reporting. I happened to see someone writing on the machine in a classroom, and I was fascinated and wanted to learn everything there was to know about it. Once I became a court reporter, I enjoyed the flexibility and the career options that could be adjusted according to major life events, such as having my children and so on.

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

Confidence. I was not provided with a mentor at my first job. I was a new reporter, and I wanted to find another reporter that I could emulate and learn from. I hired a proofreader immediately so that I could turn in great work, and I asked a lot of questions of the more seasoned court reporters, so I could learn to do a great job.

What surprised you about your career and why?

I’m surprised that I enjoy the business of court reporting more than the actual court reporting itself. I started Bridges Court Reporting 12 years ago, and it’s been exciting building our brand and creating leadership in the company. Once again, I was met with the challenge of finding the information I needed to manage and develop a growing business. Again, I found myself asking from whom can I learn, so that I can create a great company.

Then, a couple years ago, I stumbled upon the power of learning from experts, and I thought to myself, I must share this with my community, and so I created CEUs In Your Slippers. This is an online platform that provides a variety of learning opportunities for court reporters and business owners to grow both personally and professionally. Since it’s an online platform, you can learn from the comfort of your home computer. All of our webcasts are CEU approved.

Do you have a favorite gadget?

Without a doubt it’s my smartphone.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading How I Created a Dollar Out of Thin Air by Ann Marie Houghtailing.

What advice or tips would you offer to new reporters?

You don’t know what you don’t know. Embrace a firm that will invest in your continued growth. Choose to work with the firm that will encourage you to go outside your comfort zone so you can continue to learn.

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

Four years ago, I rescued my disabled brother and his dog from a very difficult situation, and I’m proud of how far he’s come with a little love, support, and encouragement.