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In our steno Barbie era

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By Denee Vadell

Let us tell y’all the Steno Barbie story!

When we come together, we can do some powerful and amazing things.

My son, Julian, was the first one who told me to create a real-life steno Barbie while we were sitting on the couch in our home. I told Julian that that was a great idea, but in my mind I could not even begin to imagine where to start. He sometimes helps with orders when we are backed up. Rachel Artis pointed out to me that it was all about my efforts with the Steno Barbie T-shirts and my son seeing his father and I working hard on them to promote stenography that lead him to being creative and thinking outside the box.

It was confirmed online when NCRA Director Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, also told me to create one after she posted that the creator of Barbie was a stenographer. I posted under her post, “I love this! But like where was the Stenographer Barbie then, because Barbie had every damn job in the world.”

Margary then commented: “I know, right. … Denee, make that happen.”

The very next day, Rachel Artis (aka @scoping_coach) messaged me, saying, “Random idea; maybe we could get a petition going for Barbie to make an actual steno Barbie doll to bring attention to the industry. I don’t know where to start, but it would be so cool.”

I replied back, “I told Margary that my son told me to create a real Steno Barbie and I had nowhere to start! This is perfect! Let’s do it!”

Then a few days later Cynthia Rodriguez, RPR, CRR, a professional court reporter from Bakersfield, Calif., posted the same thing about Ruth Handler being a stenographer. She then suggested the same thing Rachel did about starting a petition. That really made me want to get to work. So I did.

A day later, Sarah Padilla (aka @sarahscribes) tagged me in her monthly creation on IG, as she does every month, and it said, “Hello, August.” It hit me: I can start here. I messaged her and said, “Hey, would you be able to make a steno Barbie one for me?” She replied, “Yes! Give me some thoughts and let’s collaborate.”

We went to work for about two weeks with ideas and Sarah creating different graphics.

I sent the concept to Kristin Anderson, M.A., RPR, FCRR, President of NCRA, and Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, NCRA’s Executive Director, and they loved the idea. Dave gave me some great pointers to include in the write-up to send to

We have received so much positive feedback. I love to see how the whole steno community came together to support and signed the petition. To date (end of August) we have almost 2,500 signatures and contributions of $2,590.25 to the campaign!

What is Steno in the City’s slogan?! #stenounited. We definitely united to promote our profession with this petition, and I wanted to say thank you so very much.

It takes a village

By Sarah Padilla

It was a no-brainer when Denee Vadell, RPR, reached out for my assistance in creating the graphic for the petition campaign. I couldn’t feel more honored and inspired to collaborate with one of my favorite court reporting social media superstars! I truly hope to see a steno Barbie for all the reasons stated in the petition. I know we current stenographers/court reporters would cherish the sentiment and would love the nostalgia of owning our own steno Barbie doll!

I think once you get over the hill of adjusting to busy reporter life, you are able to pursue some personal hobbies. This pursuit led me several years back to lettering and chalk art. This led me to providing my services to various charity organizations. After COVID and about a four-year hiatus, the light bulb in my head went off that I could use my creative pursuits to get “creative” about promoting court reporting. I began with basic monthly court reporting-themed pieces, but the creativity has continued to evolve, to creating chalk art of all the branches of San Diego Superior Court, recruitment flyers for San Diego Superior Court, a pet-themed calendar, court reporting retirement cards for coworkers, and now creating a piece for the steno Barbie campaign!

By Rachel Artis

Growing up, I cherished moments playing with Barbies in my nana’s basement, where imagination flourished and Barbie houses became theaters for creative storylines. It was a happy and loud, giggling time with my sister and cousins. Now, with over a decade of experience in the court reporting industry and currently teaching stenographers in Africa, I’m thrilled with this initiative and its enthusiastic reception.

The recent Barbie movie and its viral social media presence opened my eyes to Barbie’s potential as a cultural icon. Discovering that Barbie’s creator was a stenographer sparked an idea during a conversation with Denee Vadell, RPR: Mattel should create a Steno Barbie!

This excited me to no end, and Denee, Sarah Padilla, and I embarked on a journey to make this a reality. We launched a petition, urging Mattel to introduce Barbie as a stenographer.

Our motivation extends beyond whimsy; it addresses a pressing issue. Stenographers are urgently needed. We believe that showcasing Barbie in this role can inspire more individuals to consider it as a career. Through this initiative, we aspire to contribute to economic stability and empower confident, independent stenography professionals.

In conclusion, we believe that Barbie can reshape perceptions and inspire future stenographers. Together we can illuminate a brighter path for this vital profession.

Denee Vadell, RPR, creator of StenoFluencer, can be reached at