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Run for the Roses at the NCRA Conference & Expo!

By Amie First

Get ready to run! Start making plans to attend the 2024 NCRA Conference & Expo in Louisville, Ky., this Aug. 1-3. The theme is “Fast Track Your Skills to Success.”

Begin your “fast track to success” by networking with reporters and fellow students. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet others who are just like you. No one knows what it’s like to gallop through school like your fellow students and novice and thoroughbred reporters. Just say, “Hi, I’m a student” and watch your network expand!

Leave it all on the track! Saddle up for a view of the sessions presented by the Student/Teacher Committee:

Financing Beyond Federal Financial Aid: Dr. Geanell Adams, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, will help you jockey for position with information about financing options beyond the Federal Financial Aid assistance programs for education. Both national and local funding sources will be in the running so you can explore and understand alternative solutions for affording your stenographic education journey.

Kimberly Xavier headshot
Kimberly Xavier

Branding Yourself Professional: Be the best out of the starting gate with your professional branding! We will get down to business “Steno Style” with Kim Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI (official); Lisa Migliore Black (freelancer); and Joshua Edwards, RDR, CRR, CRC (captioner). Amie First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE, will be your host as we navigate the racetrack from start to finish — mentoring to interning and hiring to training. Don’t wait for the starting gate bell to ring — start now! 

Vanessa Johns headshot
Vanessa Johns

Steno Study Buddies: Find your community on the road to the Kentucky Derby! Join Chris DeGrazio (new professional) and Vanessa Johns (steno student) for a session about choosing a virtual practice group or starting your own. You will learn how to be a productive participant and navigate the challenging path of maintaining a practice group all the way to the Triple Crown!

Anna Mar-Lazo headshot
Anna Mar-Lazo

The Endgame: A New Professional Perspective: And they’re off! Learn what it takes to make it to the finish line. When you find yourself at a plateau, it can be helpful to hear from someone who’s been where you are now and succeeded. We are so excited to have the very talented Anna Mar-Lazo, RPR; Jillian Kirchner, RMR, CRR; and Zeke Alicea, RPR; on the panel to impart their insights and experiences in theory, speed building, and the working world. Here you’ll explore what freelance and CART/captioning look like currently and the steps necessary to get wherever you envision yourself in this industry. This session will also include a word from Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, about NCRF’s Career Launcher which serves as a bridge between graduation and your first job. We can’t wait to see you there!

See the full schedule of sessions and networking events.

Here are some tips for coming down the stretch:

  • Join the #NCRA24Louisville Facebook page – it’s all about the Conference. Start networking early! Reduce hotel and Uber costs by posting “looking for a roommate” or “looking to share a ride to the hotel.”
  • The Conference will be held at The Galt House Hotel. Get your room booked early! The NCRA group rate ends July 8. The hotel has some great networking spots. Try the Skywalk between the East and West Towers – there’s a Starbucks and bar area with tons of seating and views of the Ohio River. 
  • Download the app when available and set up your profile with Future Stenographer behind your name! Be sure to upload a photo as well as contact and social media information. Use the app to plan your session schedule and connect with others – start networking!
  • Bring business cards – physical or digital – with your student information. (And, of course, don’t forget to include that you are a Future Stenographer!)
  • The attire is business casual. This is a professional event. Two suggestions: Wear comfortable shoes and bring a sweater. It will be warm outside, but the session rooms are always cold.
  • NCRA will once again have onsite skills certification testing on Sunday August 4. Why not give the RSR or RPR a try!

Speed and stamina for going the distance: You don’t need to bring your steno machine to sessions; however, you should consider bringing it because you have to practice every day! Take great care if you’re traveling with your writer. Keep it with you at all times. Do not pack it in your luggage; put it under your seat on the plane. You might consider investing in a Stenograph Jet Pak for added protection.

Rich Germosen, FAPR, RDR, CRR, founder of the 100 Day Practice Group on Facebook, wisely suggests: “If you are asking me, take your writer. You have to practice … especially if you are a student so you can get out and join the ranks.”

Conference sizzle reel – make sure to attend!

Expo Hall1
  • The Student Breakfast and Welcome is Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. Yes, it’s early, but worth it! We will provide a Conference overview and give suggestions on the best sessions for students to attend.
  • After breakfast let’s head to the Premier Session together to hear Keynote Speaker Dan Meers who has been the mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs for over 30 years. Meers is known for his contagious enthusiasm, optimism, and love for life which inspires and motivates audiences of all ages. Start the Conference with an uplifting and positive message from the reigning Super Bowl Champion Mascot!
  • Student Luncheon – another great networking opportunity with fellow students!
  • The Expo Hall is full of the latest and greatest products. The exhibitors can also answer your questions. Take advantage of this time to learn what’s out there.
  • If you need some inspiration to practice, come watch the contests! The Speed Contest is Wednesday, July 31 at 9:00 a.m. The Realtime Contest is Thursday, Aug. 1 at 1:00 p.m. Come early before the doors close. You can sit in the back of the room and watch – quietly, of course! Prepare to be awestruck!
  • Find out who won the contests and other prestigious awards by attending the Awards Luncheon Saturday. The luncheon ticket is included in your student registration.
  • Saturday night is the Members Recognition Gala - “Welcome to the Winners’ Circle!” Get your derby hat ready for a Photo Finish! The student registration covers all networking activities except the Gala but keep your eyes open for an announcement on the mobile app advertising extra tickets to the event for students. 
Amie First headshot
Amie First

Be a Derby Winner! Join us for NCRA’s premier event celebrating 125 years of accuracy and integrity! Run for the roses!

Find me on the Conference mobile app or text/email: 330-760-2452

Amie R. First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE is Chair of the Student/Teacher Committee. She lives in Orlando, Fla.