Official court reporter
Currently resides in: Arlington, Texas
Member since: 1994
Graduated from: Brown Institute of Court Reporting, Longview, Texas
JCR | Why was it important for you to earn so many certifications?
XAVIER | I’ve always been a “learner.” I love to learn as much as I can take in. But if I had to pin it down, I would say the desire to earn certifications was largely due to cultural and environmental influences early in life. I do know that it was never an option for me to not challenge myself to be the best that I could be at whatever I was trying to accomplish. I think if you could eavesdrop inside the home of just about any African-American family in this country, regardless of their socioeconomic background, you would hear children being told that they must be extraordinary in order to be noticed. You would hear them being told that they could not slack off. You would hear them being told they have to outperform their non-black counterparts just to be considered equal. When you hear that all your life, it can easily become a part of your DNA and who you are. So I’d say I’ve always taken those admonishments to heart.
JCR | Have you gotten a job specifically as a result of your certifications?
XAVIER | I was appointed to report a high-profile change-of-venue case years ago due to my realtime capabilities, and having advanced certifications definitely made saying yes a lot easier and stress-free for me.
JCR | What would you say to encourage others considering earning professional certifications?
XAVIER | The best advice I could give would be to do it now! If you’re a newbie, don’t stop after graduating from school. Continue on the test-taking journey. If you’ve been reporting for a while, do yourself a favor and take that first step and actually register for your chosen exam with an eye toward passing it and not just trying it out to see what it’s like. If you really want it, that financial investment will be what pushes you to commit to the time and effort it will take to pass. So many of us are waiting for something else to happen before we jump in and do it, but there will never be a right time. You will always be busy. There will always be something to distract you. In fact, we often create other things to distract ourselves. Taking an exam is so different from our day-to-day jobs that the longer we wait after completing court reporting school, the harder it is to get back into the flow of standardized testing.
JCR | What surprised you about your career?
XAVIER | I am surprised that I am still working as a reporter and enjoying it! I came to reporting after a stint in the military; and at that time, it was customary for most people to retire after about 20 years in the military. So that number has always stuck in my head as “long enough to be on a job.” But there have been very few days in almost 24 years that I felt like I was going to work. I still enjoy what I’m doing.
JCR | What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
XAVIER | I enjoy encouraging others to challenge themselves. I enjoy helping others reach their potential in the field. So I would say my greatest accomplishments would probably have something to do with students who eventually become reporters and new reporters who have come to me for training and stuck it out with me. So when I see someone I’ve had a hand in mentoring or training, and they’re excelling and doing their thing in the field and actually enjoying it as much as I do, I consider that an awesome accomplishment.