Visit page
Press "Enter" to skip to content

Members called on to help shape NCRA strategic plan

Sandra Edmonson, RDR, CRR, CRC

NCRA is in the process of creating its new strategic plan that will guide the Association’s activities for the next three years and has called on its member stakeholders – freelancers, officials, captioners, firm owners, schools, legal videographers, and others – for their input. Earlier this month, NCRA issued a survey to all members asking for feedback about issues important to each stakeholder group to help the process of guiding the Association toward a productive and dynamic future and to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard.

The response was overwhelming, and those who participated were entered into a drawing to win a $250 Amazon gift card. NCRA member Sandra Edmonson, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Hanford, Calif., was the lucky winner.

“I took the time to fill out the survey because it’s the least I could do to help NCRA in their endeavors to continue supporting and contributing so much to the court reporting community,” Edmonson said. “I’m thrilled that I won! Now what to order from Amazon? Hmm.”

The survey results were tabulated and shared with members of groups representing each stakeholder segment of the membership. The members of each stakeholder group were chosen by the NCRA’s Board of Directors. The groups initially met to review the survey results from the stakeholder groups they represent and to identify several strategic priorities. They will continue to meet during the next several weeks to hone those priorities which will be forwarded to the NCRA Board of Directors to aid them in making informed decisions when compiling the final strategic plan. The final plan will be unveiled to the entire membership at the Annual Business Meeting being held July 29 at the 2021 NCRA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Here’s a glimpse of what some of those participating in the stakeholder groups had to say about why it is important for members to participate in this process:

“Increasing the amount of court reporters, CART providers, and captioners in the profession requires a team effort from recruitment, to working, to industry promotion. Getting prospective students in the door is useless if we can’t also provide effective training to get them into the workplace. I feel that the education stage is where we can make the biggest difference moving forward.
Marc Greenberg, CRI, an instructor from Tigard, Ore.

“Being involved in the NCRA strategic planning for certified legal videographers is critical in ensuring that we are not viewed as an alternative to a verbatim stenographic reporter. We are complementary to their amazing skills and respectful of their official record. Together we provide the total picture of what someone said and how they said it. I’m excited to project where we’re headed cooperatively in the next three to five years.”

Andrea Kreutz, CLVS, a legal videographer from Des Moines, Iowa

“Schools and students are the future of our profession. The NCRA strategic planning process is important to ensure our students are prepared for the future. It is very important to include schools in this process. The NCRA strategic planning process will guide our court reporting schools in the future training of our students. If schools receive guidance from NCRA, it will ensure that our students are properly prepared to compete in the job market of the future.”

Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, NCRA Director and instructor from Waukee, Iowa

“NCRA is nothing without its members. I realized years ago that, as an official, statistically, officials only filled a small segment of NCRA’s membership. As it stood in September of 2020, officials only encompassed 35 percent of the membership. As a member of such a small segment of NCRA membership, it is vitally important to have a voice in what officials truly need from NCRA leadership in the next three to five years. I am truly appreciative of the newfound interest and support that NCRA has shown to various official issues across this nation, especially inviting officials to have a voice at the table.”

Shelley Ottwell, RPR, an official court reporter from Broken Arrow, Okla.

“Even though our captioners comprise a small part of our overall NCRA membership, we lead the entire captioning industry in terms of professionalism, education, and certification. We are facing many challenges in the world of captioning, from automated speech recognition to an increasing demand for high-quality live captions. Through the strategic planning process, we will build a plan for success for our members and all of our audiences.”

Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a captioner and firm owner from Portland, Ore.

“Educating professional realtime reporters is dire to the continuation of stenographic reporting, and the need for graduates is growing exponentially year over year. Participating in the planning of the ‘schools’ portion of the strategic plan for NCRA is an honor and privilege, and its importance is almost undefinable for the profession. NCRA must develop and implement a strategic process for schools to attract, retain, and graduate stenographic reporters expediently to fill the ever-growing demand.”

Robyn M. Hennigan, RPR, CRI, a freelance court reporter and instructor from Springfield, Ohio.

As a firm owner, I agreed to be involved in the strategic planning process for NCRA because I believe it is the perfect time to encourage independently owned court reporting firms to come together, stand united, and work together as a collective group.”

Lisa Buell, RPR, CRR, Seattle, Wash.

“The captioning profession is facing unique challenges. Services offered through Automatic Speech Recognition and continuous changes regarding FCC oversight/regulations require ‘thinking outside the box.’ We are uniquely positioned to call attention to human captioners as being the gold standard, but we are walking a fine line between complaining and offering solutions. This makes it important to develop a strategy that will highlight our value while remaining professional and neutral. And if we don’t find a way forward, someone else will find it for us. Nothing about us without us.”

Heidi C. Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, captioner and NCRA Director from Kennesaw, Ga.

“The freelancing sector of our profession is dynamic. Because it changes and evolves so quickly and so frequently, it’s incredibly important to adjust strategy and focus on a regular basis. If you don’t keep up with the trends and with the needs of the marketplace, you could become obsolete. Being part of NCRA’s strategic planning helps to ensure that we will stay on the cutting edge of our profession and will continue to thrive.”

Michael Hensley, RDR, a freelancer from Dublin, Cal.