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BUSINESS: How building a network got me where I am today


By Kathryn Thomas

The best and longest-lasting work relationships have been those I’ve gained through people I meet. Ever since I was certified, I’ve attended every state convention, and for the last eight years, I’ve attended every national convention.

My first relationship with an agency was with the very agency I interned with as a student. By that experience, the owner already knew I showed up early and dressed and acted appropriately.

When I moved to a different area a few years later, friends I had met online guided me to a few more court reporting agencies that put me to work.

When I decided to transition to CART, I told everyone — everyone — that I was looking to cross over. One of the deposition agency owners (who already knew that I show up early, do my best, and am professional) assigned me to a pop-up CART job lasting a day or two, and the seal was broken, so to speak. I gained more CART experience here and there, until I got hooked up with a captioning agency owned by someone (whom I had met at a court reporting conference) who put me to work full-time.

Now I’m doing all CART and some captioning with a few really good agencies, and my hook-ups with them emerged due to my connections! Of the agencies that I regularly work for, I didn’t just cold-call asking for work. Someone introduced me or referred me to them, or they’d heard of me already by that time.When you have connections, it’s easier, because then people already know you. You are not an unknown quantity.

Now, of course, you’ve got to be professional and have the chops to keep the working relationship going. I’m focusing just now on getting the relationship started. To keep it going, you’ve got to do what you’ve heard a million times — show up, work hard, be professional, don’t whine, learn from your mistakes, etc.

Get out there and meet people. It might be outside of your comfort zone, but outside the comfort zone is where all the good stuff is.

Kathryn A. Thomas, RDR, CRC, is a captioner based in St. Louis and Southern Central Illinois. You can follow her blog at

Thomas wrote this article on behalf of the National Court Reporters Foundation’s Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute. Established in 2015, the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute is dedicated to aiding the education of court reporting students and new professionals about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career. Named for the late Corrinne Clark — wife of the late Robert H. Clark, NCRA’s longest tenured librarian-historian — the Institute was made possible by a generous donation contributed by Donna Hamer, Santa Paula, Calif., Robert’s cousin.