Nominations for NCRA Board of Directors sought

Serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting and captioning professions. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

Declare your candidacy or submit recommendations to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 18, 2019. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

A Web-based, no-obligation orientation will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9, for anyone interested in seeking future Board service. This briefing will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. To sign-up for the Webinar, please click here.

Letter from the President: Moving forward in 2019

By Sue Terry

It’s a great new day at NCRA! I want to communicate with you some recent changes in the leadership of your organization.

As previously announced via social media and email to you, our members, I’m pleased to announce the return of Dave Wenhold, CAE, as NCRA’s Interim CEO & Executive Director and lobbyist. Jeffrey Altman of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston has also returned to serve as NCRA general counsel. Both bring forward-looking vision and vast institutional knowledge, as well as a historical background of the culture of our Association that can serve us all as we bring our membership into the future.

I’m also pleased to announce the four new Board members who stepped up at a moment’s notice to fill the recently vacated Board positions: Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, of Fort Collins, Colo.; Sarah Nageotte, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Jefferson, Ohio; Brooke Ryan, RPR, of Sacramento, Calif.; and Heidi Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Acworth, Ga. They represent teamwork and diversity of opinion with unwavering respect for the principle that they are endlessly committed to the mission of NCRA and protection of our profession.

NCRA is grateful for your continued loyalty and support and understands that membership is a choice we all make. I’ve been honored to be able to represent your interests and will always have you, the member, in mind when decisions are made that affect your future and the health of the profession. All the best for 2019!

Nine things to do before you say goodbye to 2018

Whether you’re trying to get a few last things done before the end of the year or you’re ready for 2019, here are a few things that you can do to get a jump-start on your career in 2019.

  1. If you have only five minutes, make sure your email address and your mailing address are up-to-date in your NCRA profile. NCRA wants to make sure that your information is complete and accurate for the online and print NCRA Sourcebook and also that you are receiving any newsletters and publications that are a part of your member benefits.
  2. While you’re there, check to be sure you’ve renewed your membership.
  3. Update your resume and make sure to include your membership in professional organizations, your latest work experience, and any new certifications you’ve earned this year.
  4. Take some of your down time to earn credits through NCRA’s e-seminars sessions. (Oh, and don’t forget to add those to your resume when you’ve finished earning those credits!)
  5. Has the end of the year got you remembering a special person who inspired you by all he or she has done for the court reporting or captioning professions? Start collecting information so that you are prepared to nominate this person for NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award. The March 19 deadline may seem far off right now, but ask for help now so that you can get all the pieces of information lined up for when you need it.
  6. If you’re ready to make 2019 the year you take your business to the next level, register now for Business Summit. Not only will Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, be there to show you how to move your court reporting business into the 21st century, but you will learn why networking is so important to growing your business. If you attend, be sure to make plans to attend the stellar networking events at the NCRA Business Summit.
  7. If leadership is more your thing, consider whether you want to nominate yourself or a colleague for a position on NCRA’s Board of Directors. An informational online meeting will be held on Jan. 9, and nominations are due by Jan. 18. Or get your feet wet by planning to attend the NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp to be held May 5-7 in Alexandria Old Town, Va., to learn how to become a successful advocate for the profession.
  8. If you prefer to share your knowledge, put together an outline for a presentation and submit it to NCRA for consideration for the 2019 Convention & Expo. NCRA is always looking for new speakers and interesting topics for its events.
  9. Finally, if you have some unusual work experience, consider whether you can share your experience with other members. Get in touch with the JCR editor in January about telling your story.

Home and auto insurance now available as NCRA member benefit through MetLife

By Natalie Dippenaar

As varied as Mercer’s insurance offerings to NCRA members have been for many years, NCRA has heard that many members would be interested in auto and home insurance options. NCRA is excited to announce that Mercer Health & Benefits Administration has worked together with MetLife to add just that as a new benefit for NCRA members.

NCRA members are now eligible for special savings on auto and home* insurance through SnapQuote by MetLife. Whether you need insurance or just want to compare your current rates, SnapQuote can help you find the right coverage at great prices from the highest rated carriers. Visit www.snapquoteinsurance.com/ncra or call 855-586-6048 to discuss your options.  MetLife can provide one or more carrier quotes on auto, homeowners and renters insurance, as well as boat, motorcycle, and umbrella insurance.

And just in case you need a reminder what other insurance products are offered through Mercer, here is a list of the most popular programs:

  • Group accidental death & dismemberment insurance
  • Cyber liability insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Equipment insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Get insured  – health insurance
  • Major medical insurance

For more information

To see a full list of the NCRA insurance options available to members, please visit NCRAInsurance.com. You can also find out more information about these products through the resources listed below.

  • For health insurance,** visit com/NCRA or call 866-454-6479.
  • For long-term insurance, call 800-358-3795.
  • If you have general questions, call 800-503-9230.

And for SnapQuote for auto and home insurance,* visit SnapQuoteInsurance.com/NCRA or call 855-586-6048.

* Home insurance is not part of MetLife Auto & Home’s benefit in Massachusetts and Florida.

** Not all plans may be available in all states.

Natalie Dippenaar is NCRA’s Assistant Director of Member Relations.

NCRF announces 2018 recipients of the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and Student Intern Scholarship

Megan Baeten

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced that Megan Baeten, a student from Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis., was named recipient of the 2018 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation also announced that Mackenzie Allen and Tanner Kockler, both students from the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa, are the recipients of the 2018 Student Intern Scholarships. The recipients are selected by random drawing using a true random statistical tool.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

“I have known of the court reporting profession since my senior year in high school and have always wanted to pursue this career. At that time, this program was not offered close to home, so I decided to pursue the administrative assistant career path instead. After working in that field for a number of years, I realized that there was little room for advancement and that it was not challenging enough for me,” said Baeten. “This [scholarship] has given me an extra boost of motivation and confidence I needed while I head into my final semester. It will help me with the cost of schooling for this last semester without the added stress of how I will pay for it. It will also help me with some of the start-up expenses upon graduating, as well as the certification fees.”

The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship is a $2,000 award, given annually to a high-achieving court reporting student. This scholarship honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students through years of service on NCRA’s committees and boards that guide the education of court reporting students. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 wpm
  • possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

“Megan is truly deserving of this scholarship. This will be life-changing for her. Megan juggles being a single mom, working full-time, and going to school for court reporting. Yet she always shows up for class ready to go and does quality work,” said Jackie Rupnow, who nominated Baeten. “She is working on her terminal speeds and looks to graduate in May. This will help her finish out her last semester without worrying about finances, which will allow her to concentrate on her classes and practice so she can complete this program.”

Student Intern Scholarships

Tanner Kockler

“I thank NCRF for the awesome support they give students. I plan to apply [this scholarship] toward my remaining classes and testing fees as I get ready to graduate,” said Kockler. “I had briefly heard what court reporting was, and I did not know very much about it when I started the program. The encouragement from other reporters and instructors and associations like NCRA and ICRA make it easy to want to be a part of such a wonderful profession.”

The Student Intern Scholarship is a $1,000 award, given annually to two high-achieving court reporting students who have completed the internship portion of their education. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • passing at least one of the program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 190 wpm (if pursuing judicial reporting) or at least one literary test at a minimum of 160 wpm (if pursuing captioning)
  • possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Mackenzie Allen

“My aunt was a court reporter for the state of Iowa. I job-shadowed her when I was in high school and was immediately captivated! I always knew I wanted to go into the legal field, and this career was a perfect fit for me,” said Allen. “Receiving this scholarship will help me purchase a new writer, and it will help ease the process of all of the start-up costs.”

NCRF scholarships are funded by generous donations. To learn more about NCRF’s programs, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.

Former NCRA member James Edward Wolfington passes away

The Seguin Gazette reported on Dec. 7 that former NCRA member James (Jim) Edward Wolfington passed away on Dec. 5 in New Braunfels, Texas.

Read more.

Mike Mobley Reporting merges with Summit City Reporting

In a press release issued Dec. 10, Mike Mobley Reporting, a firm based in southwest Ohio, announced that the firm has partnered with Summit City Reporting, based in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Read more.

Career days are great ways to promote the profession

With 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week on the horizon, many NCRA members are planning to mark the event by participating in a career day at a local middle or high school where they can show off their steno skills and introduce students to the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning.

The JCR Weekly reached out to NCRA members Ann Hall, RPR, an official court reporter from Monterey, Calif., and Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Fort Collins, Colo., who each recently participated in local school career days, to find out more about their experiences.

Ann Hall

In early November, Hall participated in a college/employment fair day at Seaside High School in Seaside, Calif., where she introduced the court reporting profession to students from all four of the grades. Hall said she was asked to participate by a counselor from the school, and she noted that the last time she had attended a career event was some 12 years ago.

“It was great to work with young people and hopefully get some of them interested in court reporting,” she said, adding that she would definitely do it again if asked. “Thanks to the package I received from NCRA, I had many NCRA magazines available, some ‘swag’ from various vendors, and information about court reporting in general.”

Among the many questions students asked her were: How does the machine work? What’s it like to be in court?  What do you do when people talk over one another? And among the responses, Hall heard: “Cool!  I’ve never seen a machine like that before.”

Hall added that she learned about the court reporting profession from a family friend who worked as a reporter, and it was he who encouraged her to pursue the career.

Jason Meadors

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Meadors said he showcased the court reporting and captioning professions to sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at the Broomfield Heights Middle School in Broomfield, Colo., upon the request of an associate.

Meadors said the students’ questions were great, and the experience gave him hope for the generation to come, because they were bright, inquisitive, and polite. The experience also gave him an appreciation for the need for NCRA members to get their story out to younger people.

“They wanted to know what type of training was involved, how much education, how much work per week, if travel was involved, what kind of people I ran across, what were my most and least favorite aspects of the job, if I got perks for airline miles – I don’t remember them all, but the questions were very perceptive,” he said.

“They thought the machine and realtime display was pretty cool. They thought the traveling I do was pretty cool,” added Meadors, who noted that he has done other career day events which, unlike this one that rotated students through one classroom, were set up similar to a vendor hall.

Meadors, who said he would certainly participate in a career event again, advises others who decide to attend one to go prepared with a presentation they want to give, but be agile, because the format they choose might not be the format that’s best for the setting.

“For instance, I had a PowerPoint prepared, but I ditched it. I was prepared to scatter realtime screens throughout the classroom, but that wouldn’t have worked as well either. Instead, I answered their scads of questions, I told the most entertaining but honest stories I could, and they gathered around while I did a realtime display,” he said.

“We really do have a fascinating profession. I gave my presentation in tandem with a lady who had the title of ‘project manager,’ and she kept complaining privately to me that she just sounded boring compared to the work we do,” he noted.

Meadors said he first learned about the court reporting career while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was assigned to legal services clerk class right out of boot camp.

“The highest graduates of that class went to the court reporter class. It was stenomask training. I placed high there, found out I loved the work, and went to steno school upon my honorable discharge from the Marines,” he added.

NCRA member Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. Recently she also showcased the court reporting and captioning profession, but this time, to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college. Read Penny Wile’s story.

For more information about career day resources that are available from NCRA, contact pr@ncra.org, or visit the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Resource page.

 

 

NCRA members take advantage of 2018 Best.Friday.Ever.

Diane Kraynak

On Black Friday, NCRA members took advantage of five fantastic discounts and giveaways. These giveaways were tied to membership renewals, event registrations, and purchases for e-seminars and certification tests.

Hundreds of NCRA members renewed their membership on Black Friday for an opportunity to win one of several giveaways. Diane Kraynak,  RMR, CRR, CRC, a captioner with Mid-Michigan Reporting from Wyoming, Mich., won a free registration for the NCRA Realtime Contest. “I am delighted to win a free Realtime Contest entry!  I try to compete every three years, hoping to get some CEU points,” Kraynak said. “My sister lives near Denver, so the 2019 convention has been on my radar since 2016.”

Kraynak said that she has competed in the national Realtime Contest several times and used to compete in the Speed Contest each year. “It is such a wonderful way to check one’s skills and get a tax-deductible vacation to boot! I won seven times, but never reached my goal of winning three in a row. I placed fifth in my first one 42 years ago and second the rest of the times.”

Also heading to the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo., will be Elena McClash, RPR, an official court reporter from Center Moriches, N.Y., who won a free registration to the Association’s premier event. Other winners in this year’s Best.Friday.Ever. Black Friday event included: Pamela Myers, a freelance reporter from Glendale, Calif., who won a free NCRA membership for 2020; and Trina Semino, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Winter Park, Fla., and Hannah Jagler, RPR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from Milwaukee, Wis., who each won a free Skills Test registration.

“Winning a free membership is very exciting. I just rejoined NCRA after many years, so it’s a great surprise,” said Myers. “I’m hoping to complete the final (225 Q&A) leg of my RPR in 2019, in anticipation of maybe moving in the future to a state where that is required, and I look forward to checking out the continuing education classes,” she added.

Just 10 days left to take advantage of open enrollment for health insurance

By Natalie Dippenaar

In November, we provided a list of some of the more popular insurance products that NCRA makes available to members. Considered one of the top three reasons for joining NCRA, members have access to everything from equipment and liability insurance to pet insurance and healthcare plans. NCRA’s ongoing partnership with Mercer Health and Benefits Administration has made it easy for members and their families to get the protection they need at an economical price.

Open enrollment, the period of time each year when you can sign up for health insurance, varies depending on the healthcare plan you are looking for. The open enrollment period for healthcare plans in the individual market ends December 15. If you don’t sign up for health insurance during open enrollment, you usually cannot sign up until the next open enrollment period unless you experience a qualifying event. Qualifying events like getting married, getting divorced, the birth of a baby, or losing existing health coverage allow for a special enrollment period exception.

NCRA’s insurance platform, provided by Mercer Marketplace 365 and supported by GetInsured, is a tool to help you meet your healthcare needs, including whatever information you need on tax breaks or penalties, available coverage in your area, or to find out if a life event has changed your insurable status. Providing only basic non-identifying information, you can determine what plans are available to you and at what price. Each plan is scored based on your needs to help you find the best match. Of course, the final decision is yours. There is no commitment, and you can even use the website to comparison shop against an existing plan. Another great feature is the Health Insurance Basics area that explains many of the terms associated with insurance. Now is the time to investigate your options to make confident and informed decisions to protect you and your family at a rate that fits your budget.

Members are encouraged to visit GetInsured.com/NCRA or call 866-454-6479 as soon as possible, but by December 15, to find out more and take advantage of this opportunity to get insured for 2019. If you aren’t a member, consider whether this is something that makes an NCRA membership a worthwhile investment. Non-members can compare plans but won’t be able to enroll without being a current NCRA member.

If you don’t need health insurance, the end of the year is also a great time to review your other insurance needs and prepare for the year ahead. Consider visiting NCRAInsurance.com to see what products are available to you.

For more information
To see all NCRA insurance options available to you, please visit NCRAInsurance.com. See below for some of the more popular ways to find out more information about Mercer’s products.

  • For health insurance*, visit GetInsured.com/NCRA or call 866-454-6479 by December 15, 2018.
  • For Long-Term insurance, call 800-358-3795.
  • If you have general questions, call 800-503-9230.

*Please note: not all plans may be available in all states.

 

Natalie Dippenaar is NCRA’s Assistant Director of Member Relations.