Visit page
Press "Enter" to skip to content

Networking is essential for a successful career, panelists say

By Jill Parker Landsman

The value of cultivating strong networking channels can never be underestimated for court reporters and captioners who want to achieve professional success. No question: Networking paves the way for better career opportunities.

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) Ask Me Anything (AMA) Task Force hosted a Focus on Networking ZoomUp where all panelists urged attendees to be passionate enough about their work to actively network. Some speakers shared that they had their best networking successes in hotel elevators at court reporting events!

This AMA event took place on February 27 and attracted more than 30 registrants, with NCRF Chair-Elect and Ask Me Anything Task Force Co-Chair Meredith Bonn, RPR, CRR, serving as moderator, and asking thought-provoking questions about the value of networking.      

NCRA President Kristin Anderson, M.A., RPR, FCRR, shared that she has been volunteering for the past 19 years. She urged attendees to be proactive about whom they meet. “When I was a new reporter, I went to Kansas. My managing reporter became my mentor and she had me go to conferences. It was in my second year that I became involved [with associations]. Go to these events to find a buddy. You are not by yourself; there are people just like you. Network at work to get involved with your attorneys. You don’t know where those [connections] are going to lead,” she said.

Advising to act intentionally, Anderson said that networking and this profession are about “leaving it better than you found it. Be strategic about your future …. You want to be deliberate about your actions,” she said.

NCRA and NCRF Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, said, “Networking is one of the most important skills because no matter what part of the profession you are in, you need to be able to have those open and candid conversations. Once you establish that baseline, you must be interested and interesting to that other person.”  

 “The confidence you get comes from experience,” added Richard Scire, RPR. “What gave me confidence was going to conferences. It is about the camaraderie that you build. It’s about finding your people whom you can have in your corner.”

Michael Scire, RPR, CMRS, advised attendees to “Find your entrance.” He shared the experience from 20 years ago when Richard and he were invited to meet their Realtor at a restaurant where they met at the bar. “It was at the same restaurant where our sister was hosting her own get-together with 50 to 70 people,” he said. “She wanted us to go and meet a bunch of people who were also at the bar. Not sure how to address both audiences, I screamed, ‘The twins are here!’ Everybody stopped talking and gave us a round of applause.”

Richard Scire pointed out that while everyone cares about headshots, “Our personality is our biggest business card …. Go to happy hour anyway. You don’t even have to drink.” He said it is the unlikely places where opportunities are likely to arise to connect with others.

Melanie Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, values her experiences at NCRA firm owners’ events. “Go to firm owner events,” she said, “and you network with [people from] across the country. Association involvement is a huge building block when it comes to networking.”

She shared her tip to approach attorneys which she used when she moved to freelancing. “I moved to a new town, and I would meet the lawyers. I would say, ‘If you have a court reporter who is your favorite, I would like to be your number two.’”

Wenhold’s comment summed up the top message. He said, “The harder you work the luckier you get. The same thing with networking. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you have. It really is about selling your brand.”

Watch the full recording of the February Zoomup.

Register now for the next Foundation AMA ZoomUp which will focus on Practice and Certifications on Tues., March 26.

For information about any of the 2024 Ask Me Anything ZoomUps, contact Jill Parker Landsman at