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Volunteering grows your knowledge

April is Volunteer Month, and the JCR Weekly will be running profiles of members throughout the coming weeks as a way to honor all of the NCRA members who volunteer their time and talents to help the Association run.

In 2014 Sarah Nageotte, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter for the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, became the youngest president elected to lead NCRA. But Nageotte’s volunteerism began long before taking the reins of the Association.

Nageotte, who currently serves on NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws and Finance Committees, is also in her 17th year serving as a qualified grader for the Association’s skills examinations.

She first began volunteering for NCRA in 2007. “NCRA is a nonprofit organization and must have volunteers at the board and committee level as governed by laws (internal and external) without volunteers, our Association would cease to exist,” she said.

“Volunteering is also so particularly important because it brings each volunteer’s perspective forward, and any one person can make a difference, no matter how big or small,” Nageotte added.

Her volunteerism over the years to NCRA has included service on the Officials Community of Interest Committee as well as the CAPR Verification, Social Networking, Policies & Procedures, New Professionals Advisory, Nominating, and CEO/Executive Director Search Committees. She has served on the following Task Forces: New Affiliates, Strategic Alliance, Grassroots Realtime (TRAIN), and Education (VEETF). She has also served twice as a liaison to the Court Reporters Advisory Group of the U.S. Courts.

At the state level, Nageotte has volunteered for a variety of activities and committees for the Ohio Court Reporters Association (OCRA), where she currently also serves as its executive director.

“When I began volunteering at the state level and then the national level, it was because I felt that I personally was not represented at either level by other volunteers.  At the time I was in my late twenties, had been working as a court reporter for just under 10 years, and felt that my voice and position within the profession was not being heard,” she said. “By volunteering, it allowed me to have a seat at the table to present my views, my opinions, and to have influence in my profession and my associations.”

With more than 17 years of experience volunteering, Nageotte said she continues to do so because of the difference she can make. She added that her long-term experience has given her a unique historical perspective, and that by continuing to volunteer, she brings insight in her knowledge field as a court reporter to all tasks asked of her.

As for the biggest gratification she receives from volunteering, she said it is a job well done. “However, my gratification also comes from helping my associations and my colleagues on important tasks vital to our profession, assisting in identifying and mentoring our future volunteers, and playing a role in the positive impact to the profession and our associations. And I’d be remiss if I did not mention that volunteering has introduced me to lifelong friends and a network of shoulders to lean (and cry) on,” she added. 

Outside of her court reporting sphere, Nageotte said she has also volunteered in the past to support the missions of her local animal protection league, Habitat for Humanity, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Volunteering grows your knowledge overall of the profession and the inner workings of associations, the individuals within the profession, the issues and controversies which arise, and also expands your professionalism. I am who I am today because I chose to get involved and volunteer! I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. 

Sarah Nageotte, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, from Jefferson, Ohio, is an official reporter and a past president of NCRA. She can be reached at