Currently resides in: Ottawa, Kansas
Employment type: Federal official reporter
Member since: 1989
Graduated from: Brown Mackie College
What are your favorite briefs or tips?
Sometimes less is more. Remove the vowels. Use the Z as another asterisk key. No matter what, get one stroke for it.
Why did you decide to enter this profession and how did you learn about the career?
I met the local official court reporter at a high school career day. She was bubbly and energetic. I thought, “She loves her job.” I ended up visiting her at the courthouse and was sold. Few workdays would be the same and I loved that. I fell into it because a reporter took the time to go to a high school career day.
What has been your best work experience so far in your career?
It’s a best and worst. Saturday deposition. Trial Monday. Rough within an hour of the deposition. Supposed to be a short deposition. Witness is less than likable and wanting to be out of there. Mold expert. I should have looked at the case info before I went, because I hadn’t done a mold expert before. When I would ask him to repeat part of his answer (because he would talk on top of the attorney), he scooted close to me and spoke right at me and dramatically slow. I just kept the smile pasted on. The deposition lasted two hours longer than anticipated. The taking attorney, who was not a regular client, sent the nicest note complimenting me on my unprecedented turnaround, professionalism, and what an example that should be to others. I framed it. It’s our reaction to a difficult situation that people remember.
Think back to when you were new in the profession. What was your biggest hurdle to overcome and how did you do so?
My first job was an official in a small county. As a new reporter, there are the things you don’t learn in school: decorum, layouts for districts, what to do with what notices, and how to set up some transcript situations. The other reporters in the district and the reporter who held the position before me were always willing to help me get my bearings and answer questions.
What surprised you about your career and why?
I have gained more knowledge about a variety of topics than I could have ever imagined.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
I love to test. It’s a chance to see where you are and can you stay in control of your emotions. We moved around the country a bit. I saw an ad for the New York Civil Service exam for court
reporters. It was $25. What a bargain! I hadn’t used my machine for a year. I thought it was inexpensive, so I’ll see how it goes. It was a three-hour drive to get there. The Q&A included four-voice. I passed. They rank you according to how well you did. I ranked 9th in the state and in the top three in the counties I checked I wanted to work for. I had no clue this meant they were union and now they had to interview me for a job because of my ranking.
Have you had challenges to overcome in your profession? If so, what was the challenge and how did you overcome it?
Fear of stepping out of my comfort zone. I had always been an official. I freelanced for a great company, and it was eye-opening and the biggest growing experience I’ve had personally and pushed my skills to new levels.
What is your favorite book or movie?
Star Wars — of course! I’ve read a lot of James Rollins and Janet Evanovich.