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License plates show certification pride

Personalized or vanity license plates are a popular way for drivers to show their support for an alma mater, the military, sports teams, national parks, social causes, and even Jimmy Buffett. Some NCRA members are proudly showing off their certifications on their license plates. In honor of Celebrate Certification Month, JCR Weekly shares some of our favorites.

Amy Doman, RMR, CRR

I received my RPR and Texas CSR back in the early 1990s. Then I moved to Indiana, where there is no state certification offered. But, thankfully, the firm that hired me values certifications. Reporters with certifications usually get the more challenging jobs which usually means more money in our pockets. 

A couple of years ago, I joined a practice group where we commit to practicing 15 minutes a day for 100 days. We post our practice daily in a private group on social media. I’ve met students, RPRs, RMRs, RDRs, and NCRA Speed and Realtime Contest winners. All of them, even the cream of the crop, are still practicing at least 15 minutes a day. Everyone in the group is eager to share trade secrets for being a better stenographer. So I set a goal to pass the RMR in May 2020. In March I passed the Literary and Jury Charge, and then the pandemic hit. For all the cons of COVID, one plus was loads of time to practice and meet my goal. 

When it came time to renew my license plates, I wanted to promote the profession and toot my horn a bit. My license plate says “RMR CRR.” My next goal is to earn my RDR in October so that I can upgrade to “RDR CRR” next spring.

I love being a stenographer. What makes it an exciting and fun career for me is that we can always write better, cleaner, faster, and be more efficient with our software. Certifications are symbols to our peers that our desire to be a great court reporter didn’t end when we finished school or earned the mandatory certification in our state to work. We are constantly striving to be better. Many folks are doing those things without pursuing NCRA certifications and are stars of the profession as well! But as other methods of producing a record are creeping into our arena, educating our clients has become a great tool to explain the difference. And being certified sets us apart. When clients ask what “RMR” stands for, I tell them it means I’m certified at 95 percent accuracy if you speak at 260 wpm for five minutes, but then I’m going to need you to take a breath.

When I was choosing what to do with my life just before high school graduation, my dad gave me great advice: All we are really selling is our time, the most valuable asset we have. The more efficient I am in all aspects of my job, the more my “hourly rate” goes up. He also told me to make sure my bag of skills is full before my bag of luck runs out. So I’m still working on that bag of skills, and I’m happy to report that I’ve still got some luck left.

Kimberly Falgiani, RDR, CRR, CRC

My license plate is RDR CRC. I used to have RMR CRC and quickly updated to RDR CRC when I passed the RDR. I got the idea for the plate because my husband had a vanity plate on his Alpha, and I went work-related with my initials. My colleague, Denise Munguia, RDR, CRR, CRC, has RMR CSR (that she needs to update for her RDR!) on her plate. We are in the same state (Ohio).

I promote to my clients, through NCRA literature, to use certified steno writers to ensure high-quality work. Certifications do truly represent competency and a commitment to our profession. 

Karyn Chalem, RPR

FUNETX. It means “phonetics.” I used that as my license plate in both Arizona and Alaska and use it as my email to this day. After I got out of court reporting school in 1987, my mom and I were trying to think of some fun plate that would be court reporting related. My mom, being the brilliant, artsy lady that she is, came up with it; and it’s been in my life ever since! Once again, thanks, Mom!

Diane Pessagno, RDR, CRI

My license plate is KORTCSR, which translates to Court CSR. In California, we can have up to seven characters on our license plate. I initially wanted KRTRPTR or CRTRPTR, but those were both taken. KORTCSR was a perfect fit! A colleague has the license plate VERB8UM which translates to Verbatim. I’m very proud of my state and national certifications. I’m an RMR and a CRI. I was motivated by NCRA’s Celebrate Certification Month to take the RDR, and I passed! Even though I have a state certification for realtime, I’m signing up to take the CRR in July.

Nina Dudziak

My license plate is NINA CSR, which is for Certified Shorthand Reporter (my Illinois designation). My email and website have always been NinaCSR so I thought it was very fitting to use it for the license plate. I drive a little red sports car, and one time at a deposition I handed opposing counsel my card, and he said, “So you’re the court reporter driving around town with the little red car.” I guess my license plate was providing advertising too without me knowing it! One time I was driving to a job and pulled up next to fellow reporter Carla Letellier, RPR, whose license plate reads “STENO.” I later jokingly posted on her Facebook page that NINA CSR and STENO had been racing to our depositions although I let her win when I had to pull onto the highway.