Mark your calendars with these exciting opportunities

Take a few minutes to mark these important dates on your calendars to keep on track with your professional goals through 2019. NCRA offers opportunities to earn CEUs in a variety of ways, from certification to webinars to live events. NCRA is your one-stop shop for your educational needs, whether you are working toward your next certification, your cycle-ending date, or another career goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn PDCs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS Exams.

Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change):

Because of how important certification is to the profession, NCRA has designated May as “Celebrate Certification” Month. We celebrate all NCRA members as they show pride in the certifications they have earned, are working to earn, or are intending to earn. The month-long campaign is also designed to help encourage those who haven’t considered earning one of the Association’s many nationally recognized certifications to rethink their decision.

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 9-16), Memorial Day (May 30), Flag Day (June 14), the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs, although members and students are invited to participate throughout the year. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year-round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on the NCRA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as more information becomes available.

Watch for more information in the JCR, in the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

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.

Grow your career by presenting at the NCRA Convention & Expo

“What better place to learn from your peers than the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo,” says Lisa Knight, FAPR, RDR, CRR, who co-chairs the NCRA Education Content Committee. “And if you have something to share that touches on topics related to the court reporting, captioning, or legal video professions, now is the time to let us know your ideas. Whether you are relating something from your experience in the field or have a deep understanding of a topic such as realtime, speedbuilding, ethics, language, technology, or test-taking skills, this is an opportunity to share that you won’t want to miss.”

“Presenting is a great opportunity and platform to share your experiences and knowledge with other working court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers. Our peers make a wonderful, welcoming audience,” says Merilee Johnson, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter and CART captioner based in Eden Prairie, Minn., who also co-chairs the NCRA Education Content Committee.  “There’s no better resource than learning from our fellow working reporters and firm owners.”

Knight, who has presented sessions on technology, gadgets, and realtime in the past for national events, says that becoming a presenter changed how she thought about her role in the profession. “I’m a self-proclaimed introvert, and I always thought that the people who were presenting at the events I went to were just naturally confident and just loved being in front of the crowd,” Knight says. “But I had learned so much in the field – about realtime, about marketing myself, and about embracing technology – and my friends were so supportive in pointing this out when I first volunteered to speak. I knew I had to share my knowledge and help everyone in the profession. Presenting at a convention is a wonderful way to share what you know and give back to the profession as a whole.

“What was amazing to me, though, was how much opened up to me after becoming a speaker,” Knight continued. “Speaking in front of such a warm audience, one made of your peers, that is, people who are excited to hear about the nitty-gritty of the jobs and ask questions that really get to the heart of the practice, is such a great affirmation of how important our role is, no matter if you are an official or a freelancer, a captioner or a videographer. It made me want to continue to learn more and be the best I could be.”

Johnson, who has presented sessions on realtime, technology, and captioning in the past for national events, says that becoming a presenter helped her meet new people and make connections that aided her career. Stepping up to be a speaker also boosted her confidence and helped shift her perspective. “It was a wonderful experience for me personally,” Johnson adds. “It helped me grow in ways I did not expect.”

Past presentations have ranged from a review of state and federal regulations, ethics, speedbuilding, marketing, health and wellness, trends in technology, and software training. Even if your idea is not on the list, if it’s for court reporters, captioners, or legal videographers – or students of those professions – we’d love to hear more. The 2019 Convention & Expo will be held Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

Visit NCRA.org/presentations for more information or to submit a presentation for consideration. Submissions are due by Jan. 9.

It’s a giving time of the year!  Make a difference!

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Sandy Bunch VanderPol

When you love something, you want to support it all the time, even if it takes a lot of effort and time. This is how I feel about our profession and the National Court Reporters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NCRA.  As a Trustee on the NCRF, I have the privilege to serve all of you, as members of NCRA. It is indeed a privilege.

As a freelance reporter and an independent contractor, it has always been in my heart to support the profession I so love. I do this by volunteering my time and by supporting the profession with my financial contributions, and I have benefited greatly from doing this. Financial generosity is an important element in the success of any organization that supports the philanthropic efforts of that organization, and your financial support is necessary to the success of the charitable work of the NCRF.

I would ask all of you to please take a moment to consider making a charitable contribution to NCRF. There is no amount too small or too large. Your contribution will be spent wisely in supporting the many programs of NCRF. Make a difference! The feeling of giving – what a feeling it is!

Thank you in advance for your support. I appreciate it. Oh, and I forgot to mention, your contribution is tax deductible. And if you contribute $1,000, you will be an “NCRF Angel,” which can benefit you through networking and a number of public relations and marketing opportunities.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, of Lotus, Calif., is an NCRF Trustee and longtime NCRF Angel. Visit www.bit.ly/NCRFYEA to donate to NCRF to support your profession.

Become an expert advocate and leader for your profession

The 2019 NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp promises to provide attendees with an experience like no other when it comes to learning firsthand the power of advocacy and the influence good leadership can achieve.

The 2019 event is May 5-7. It will include two full days of training, exploration, and hands-on activities designed to give everyone who attends the takeaways necessary to become successful advocates and leaders in the profession at the local, state, and national level. Training will end with role-playing and mock interviews to help prepare attendees for the final day of the event that culminates on the third day with visits with Washington, D.C., lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The site of the 2019 event is the Embassy Suites by Hilton in historic Old Town Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Anyone in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions wanting to grow and hone their advocacy and leadership skills should make plans to attend the 2019 NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp.

Watch the JCR Weekly and JCR magazine for more details and information about registration for this one-of-a-kind event.

Guest speaker opportunity at a community college

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 showcased the court reporting and captioning profession to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college.

By Penny Wile

Penny Wile talks to paralegal students

Approximately three months ago I took the deposition of a risk management specialist for a national chain of stores. It was a run-of-the-mill 30(b)(6) document production deposition stemming from an accident that resulted in a personal injury claim being filed. Plaintiff and defense appeared via video-teleconference, and the witness and I were together at the deposition site.

The deposition took most of the day, and during breaks the witness asked me questions about court reporting. We chatted about my profession and hers. Not only is she a risk management specialist, but she teaches a paralegal course locally, at Tidewater Community College on Thursday evenings.

At the conclusion of the deposition she asked if I would be interested in speaking to her class about court reporting. I eagerly agreed! Anytime I can attempt to recruit others to join the profession, I am happy to help.

We set several dates for me to appear, but there were delays. (Note to self: Don’t plan speaking engagements during hurricane season!)

I reached out to NCRA and asked if they could provide tools for me to use in my talk. I quickly received literature to download and print. The next day I received a box of print media and goodies for the class. I purchased some clear bags with handles and filled them with important information about court reporting:  History, training, career rewards and challenges, in addition to the goodies.

On Nov. 29, I spoke to the classroom of paralegal students. The students were eager to learn about the reporting profession. I started with a once-upon-a-time story of how I entered the profession. It’s not a glamorous story but one that should be told. They appeared to appreciate how I entered the profession. These students work during the day, have family obligations, and attend college at night. They are real people with busy lives trying to receive an education. They asked me many questions and seemed to be engaged. I spoke to them about my work abroad, some of the more rewarding assignments I have covered in my career, some of the unusual assignments I have covered, and gave them court reporting 101 in two hours .

Penny Wile sets up her machine for paralegal students

Two students in particular were very interested in training with the NCRA A to ZTM Program.  They were excited they could “try out” reporting and see if it would be a good fit for them. I provided my contact information and told them I would be happy to help them if they pursued training in the profession.

When my talk wrapped up, I couldn’t believe I had spoken for two hours! I have been invited back to be a guest speaker for the upcoming semester, and I look forward to the opportunity to inform and encourage others to enter the field of court reporting.

You can also read Career Days are great ways to promote the profession.

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.

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.

Don’t miss the savings: Early registration rates end Dec. 10

Early registration rates end Dec. 10 for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit being held Feb. 1-3 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego, Calif. Don’t miss this opportunity to take your business and yourself to a whole new level.

Freelancers, firm owners, and managers all will find something in the expanded program, which will feature business-focused education and access to high-end speakers. The schedule also includes experts who will not only inspire your business development but will also become a part of your network to help bolster your company into the future, as well as compelling panel discussions on topics critical to the growth of the profession, and even more networking opportunities than in previous years.

Also making a comeback is the Super Bowl Party to close out the event – another great reason to stay overnight Sunday for an extra few days to really get to know this one-of-a-kind city.

Highlights of this resource-packed event include:

Ann marie Houghtailing, entrepreneur, storyteller, and business coach, will present her Storytelling & Business Development session. Houghtailing, who launched her practice as a business development expert in 2009 with only $5 in her pocket, a MacBook, and a truckload of tenacity in the worst economic climate of her life, developed the Corporate Alliance Partner for the Institute for Sales and Business Development at the University of San Diego, Calif., just one year later. Today, she holds the reputation as one of the most sought-after business development and storytelling experts in the country and speaks regularly on narrative leadership and how to use storytelling as a tool of influence in business with her trademarked Narrative Imprinting® process.

Past NCRA Director Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter from Houston, Texas, who is known for his popular Depoman.com forum, which provided court reporters with a medium to share insights and address common issues from 1997 to 2015. Also recognized for his Tough Love session, Miller will lead a seminar called “Tough Love Part 2,” that will challenge most sacred beliefs about the business of court reporting with a focus on why being stuck in 1985 isn’t going to alleviate any of the issues faced by agencies and reporters in the 21st century.

Also on the schedule is Eunice Carpitella, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, who will serve as keynote speaker. She will address the practical idea that simple shifts in our routine patterns of interaction and mindset make it possible for business leaders to include, engage, and unleash everyone in solving problems, driving innovation, and achieving extraordinary outcomes.

Don’t wait. Register now and take advantage of the early registration rates for NCRA’s 2019 Business Summit before they end on Dec. 10. Attendees can save even more money by booking their hotel now before the guaranteed room block ends Jan. 8, 2019. Online registration for the 2019 Business Summit closes Jan. 20, 2019, and onsite registration and pricing starts Jan. 21, 2019.

Don’t forget, February is the perfect time to book early and stay late to enjoy the beauty, sunshine, and numerous attractions San Diego has to offer.

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.