2019 NCRA Convention & Expo Student Track Sessions

Read the presenter bios here.

Check out this year’s NCRA Convention & Expo student sessions. We bring back a couple of old favorites and two new sessions. Students also get a chance to kick off the weekend with a students-only breakfast where they can get an overview of the convention and make connections with other students. Don’t miss the Meet and Greet with the NCRA Board of Directors.

Steno Speed Dating

As the seminar’s name implies, it will consist of 10 stellar reporters sitting with a small group of students for 10-minute long “speed dates.” The students will have 10 minutes to ask their questions before switching off to the next reporter for their next “date.”

Presenters:  Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, CSR, FCRR;  Amie First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPE; Mike Hensley, RDR; Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR; Saba McKinley, RPR, CRI, CSR; Alan Peacock, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI; Kelly Shainline, RPR, CRR; Lindsey Stoker, RPR, CRC; Jeffrey Weigl, RMR, CRR, CRC, CSR(A); and Doug Zweizig, RDR, CRR, FCRR.


You Want Me to Do What? I Didn’t Learn That in School….

Court reporting is more than putting words on a page.  In this seminar you will learn some common transcript preparation pitfalls young reporters encounter and how to avoid them.  The presenter will share some tricks of the trade, as well as helpful research tools and how to use them.  Come for the information but stay for the “goodies.”

Presenter:  Darlene Williams, RPR, CMRS

Darlene Williams

Good Reporter/Bad Reporter

This audience-participation skit touches on professional etiquette and mannerisms in conducting oneself at work. Learn the tools of the trade to win over clientele for freelance work or get hired for overflow work in a judicial proceeding. Why some people “have it” and others just simply don’t. Be prepared to laugh!

Presenters: Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR


Student Jeopardy

A fun and interactive “Jeopardy” game that will cover such topics as: the history of court reporting, spelling, homonyms/synonyms, vocabulary, and courtroom procedures. Students will learn some of the trickier English and grammar rules that we encounter every day and will be quizzed on the types of questions found on the RPR Written Knowledge Test. Be on the team who answers the most questions correctly and win a prize!

Presenters: Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, RSA, IL-CSR, MO-CCR, and Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR

Find full event schedule here

Register here

Hurry, savings for early convention registration end today

The special savings on registration fees for the 2019 Convention & Expo happening Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo., end today. Don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage of the special pricing of a $50 discount on the full registration.

While taking advantage of this opportunity to save, be sure to reserve your hotel room for the Convention at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Support NCRA and help keep rates for member events low by staying at the host hotel. Not only do you enjoy special lodging pricing, but you’ll also enjoy great amenities including continental breakfast on Friday and Saturday. Plus, staying at the host hotel puts you right at the site of all the exciting happenings including networking opportunities, educational sessions, the Expo floor, and this year’s keynote speaker the well-known Erin Brockovich, consumer advocate and environmentalist who served as the inspiration for the movie that carries her name.

Don’t miss your chance to save on registration fees, hotel rates, and be in the middle of the excitement planned for court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, and scopists, including the two-day CRC Workshop and CRC Exam, the ever-popular CRR Boot Camp, full-day vendor training workshops, and the Punctuation Workshop. And remember, throughout the Convention attendees can earn up to 1.175 CEUs.

Other highlights include such ticketed networking opportunities as the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, and the Member Recognition Gala. The annual Realtime and Speed Contests are also expected to sell out quickly, so don’t delay registering for these special events!

For more information about the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention. Don’t let procrastination make you miss the special pricing in effect through May 15 that will get early registrants a $50 discount on the full registration.

For sponsorship information please contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs, at mpetto@ncra.org.

A Convention to Remember

Attending an NCRA Convention & Expo is a great experience for students. Last year, students attended special sessions teaching them proper courtroom behavior, online skills testing, professional working tips, and more. These students share their experiences attending their first national convention. 

Marina Garcia

Marina Garcia

Alvin, Texas

Alvin Community College

As court reporting students, our gospel is to practice, practice, practice; but sometimes we forget how equally important it is to surround ourselves with positive support and mentors. As a student, frustration becomes our normal.  We need some type of fresh air to regain our motivation, and that is exactly what I experienced at the 2018 NCRA Convention. The ambience is inspiring, electric, and most of all, fun. It was exactly what I needed to regain my motivation from burnout.

My biggest takeaway from the convention was seeing my future self in these amazing reporters because they, too, were once in our shoes. It was an honor to listen to the special guest speaker, witness the winners of the speed and realtime contests, and attend the student sessions to meet other reporters and students from all over the nation. The convention unravels the real world of court reporting and captioning outside of our classrooms to show us how worthwhile it is to work hard, never give up, and never stop trying to improve our skills. I’m already looking forward to attending as many conventions as I possibly can.

Ezra Campbell

Ezra Campbell 

Athens, Ga.

Studying for his RPR

Attending the 2018 NCRA conference in New Orleans, La., was a special experience for me for a couple of reasons. For one, it was my first court reporting conference, and I attended as a student. I was overwhelmed at first, but it proved to be a great learning experience.  I did not regret putting myself out there and meeting other students, as well as many knowledgeable working reporters and captioners. The kicker came with the fact that it was located at the Hyatt Regency, where I used to work as a barista. It was both a familiar and an exciting environment, and I came away even more determined to launch my career.

Parker Burton

Parker Burton
Atlanta, Ga.
Brown College of Court Reporting

In August of 2018, I had the opportunity to attend my first NCRA convention as a student. Admittedly, I was quite nervous about what to expect, who I would meet, whether the professionals would have time to entertain my questions, and whether I would feel like an outcast among the other students. I am happy to report that my preconceived notions were all incorrect. After attending the convention in the vibrant city of New Orleans, La., I was more motivated by my fellow students and armed with more advice than I could ever have hoped to obtain.

I would encourage all students who are members of NCRA to make it a priority to plan early to attend the next NCRA convention, in Denver, Colo. There is so much information to gather and networking to be done that will be beneficial to your future endeavors, both as a student and then as a professional.  All the information you learn in school is valuable, but the experience of attending an NCRA convention and sharing ideas, successes, struggles, and helpful hints with like-minded people from across the country and beyond will help accelerate your skills and encourage you to push further.

See you in Denver!

Logan Kislingbury

Logan Kislingbury

Houston, Texas

Mark Kislingbury’s Academy of Court Reporting

The 2018 NCRA convention in New Orleans, La., was my first convention experience as a court reporting student and NCRA member. I’ve been to plenty of conventions in the past with my dad, but I treated them only as vacations. One of the biggest changes that I noticed as a student was what the convention hall really provided. What was once a place full of seemingly endless booths of free candy, popcorn, and freebies, became a small city, because I understood what each booth was and what that company stood for. The main benefit of the convention hall changed from candy to networking. I met a lot of passionate people who each had different stories and were so happy to see a new student entering the field. Leaving with more than 15 business cards felt great; I’m very excited to keep in contact with these people in the future! 

Another part of the convention I’d never experienced was taking classes. I participated in some student classes where I learned about the differences between freelancing and officials, how realtime worked, and what you can do with it, and the huge world of opportunities that becoming a court reporter opens. I made friends with other students who know the struggles and accomplishments of school just like I do. Plenty of court reporters volunteered their time just to help us and answer our questions solely because they care so much about the profession. I had so much fun and learned so much in New Orleans last year. And I’ll do it all again in Denver this year!

NCRA PAC’s state-to-state friendly fundraiser competition

By Shaunise Day

It’s time to plan NCRA’s 2019 Political Action Committee fundraiser that will take place at the annual convention in Denver, Colo. State associations, let’s all bring some excitement to the NCRA Convention for a friendly state-to-state competition and start thinking of exciting ways to pack your gift baskets with unique items that represent your state. This is your chance to show off your state pride.

The NCRA PAC is the association’s and the member’s direct lifeline to the legislative community that will decide the outcome of the organization’s initiatives in Congress. Having a presence on Capitol Hill is critical when working to promote the profession on the national level, and NCRA PAC is an important vehicle through which the Association can deliver NCRA’s message to members of Congress for our 15,000 members.

For the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo, several state associations and NCRA members contributed to the fundraiser by submitting gift baskets that contained unique items that represented their states. Not only was the fundraiser fun for state associations and the NCRA members who participated, but it also brought awareness to this important cause. About 13 states made gift basket donations that showed their state pride.

Since this was PAC’s first year of introducing this new and exciting fundraiser, and as a PAC committee member, I decided to donate a basket that represented all things California. The basket contained sports paraphernalia, non-perishable foods, wine, shot glasses, and a host of other California-related items. I was proud to submit a basket from my state in hopes that it would support a great cause and encourage states to participate in future fundraisers.

All states that participated did a great job, and we thank you! PAC was extremely proud of the turnout. Participants had to be present for the raffle and claim your winning basket. Although I donated a basket on behalf of my state of California, and on behalf of my state association CCRA, I also purchased raffle tickets to support PAC.

As Matthew Barusch, NCRA’s then Manager of State Government Relations, pulled the raffle tickets, I couldn’t believe that my ticket was called. I was so excited to win the raffle, but there was no way I was comfortable with winning my own basket and taking it back to California. I wanted to give another NCRA member the opportunity to enjoy the goodies from California. Matt thought it would be a great idea if I pulled the next winning raffle ticket. Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, had the next winning ticket and was declared the winner of the raffle. I had a chance to catch up with Mike, and he shared with me that he enjoyed all the contents from California.

I would like to encourage every state association to participate and get involved. At your next round table board meeting, start thinking of unique items that you can donate to represent your state.

This year at Convention, visit the PAC table in the vendor hall. Support us by purchasing raffle tickets and dropping your raffle ticket in the basket of your choice.

Shaunise Day, of Oakland, Calif., is a member of NCRA’s Political Action Committee. Questions about PAC can be address to Director, State Government Relations Jocelynn Moore at jmoore@ncra.org.

Erin Brockovich to Address 2019 Convention Attendees

Erin Brockovich

NCRA is pleased to announce that the keynote speaker for its 2019 Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo., will be renowned consumer advocate and environmental activist Erin Brockovich. She will deliver the keynote address on Friday morning as part of the Premier Session, which will also include the installation of officers.

“I am excited to welcome Erin to our event and look forward to hearing her insights, which will set the stage for the rest of Convention. Having a speaker of Erin’s caliber is one way that the NCRA Board of Directors is working hard to fulfill the promise of taking NCRA to the next level with NCRA 2.0. Of course, I look forward to welcoming every attendee to Denver and sharing with all of you this wonderful learning and networking experience. The 2019 Convention & Expo promises to be a one-of-a-kind event,” says President-Elect Max Curry, RPR, CRI, who will automatically ascend to the presidency during Convention.

The movie Erin Brockovich turned Erin from an unknown legal researcher into a 20th-century icon by showcasing how her persistence was the force behind the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history. She continues to fight and uses her notoriety, knowledge, and dedicated spirit to encourage others to stand up and make a difference.

In addition to a diverse line-up of sessions for court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, and scopists, the 2019 Convention & Expo will include the two-day CRC Workshop and CRC Exam, the ever-popular CRR Boot Camp, full-day vendor training workshops, and the Punctuation Workshop on Thursday afternoon. Throughout the Convention attendees can earn up to 1.175 CEUs.

In addition to education, the NCRA Convention & Expo is known for its networking. Make sure to reserve your space for the highly anticipated ticketed events, including the Opening Reception, where you can meet and mingle with the Board of Directors, the many supportive vendors who make your jobs easier each and every day, and the members in attendance who are looking to make connections, too; the Awards Luncheon, where many NCRA members are recognized for their accomplishments; and the Member Recognition Gala, during which members can enjoy a night of dinner, drinks, and dancing. The annual Realtime and Speed Contests are also expected to sell out quickly, so don’t delay registering for these special events!

For more information about the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo, or to register, visit NCRA.org/Convention. Take advantage of the special pricing in effect through May 15 that will get early registrants a $50 discount on the full registration. Attendees are also encouraged to reserve hotel rooms for the Convention at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Staying at the host hotel not only gets great amenities for registered attendees (including continental breakfast on Friday and Saturday), but it also helps NCRA keep rates for events reasonable for everyone.

For sponsorship information please contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs, at mpetto@ncra.org.

NCRA gets you more than you think

NCRA offers members many different ways to invest in their futures, support the profession, and thrive in their careers. According to NCRA’s 2017 Member Needs Survey, members join NCRA for many reasons, including gaining access to national credentials, supporting the profession, and connecting with a national organization.

If you want to get the most out of your membership, consider how NCRA benefits you.

Respect from your clients, employers, and peers

Clients, employers, and peers know that people connected to a professional organization are more likely to know about and adhere to industry standards, ethical codes, and current policies — and NCRA members are the same in this regard. By being a part of the NCRA community of professionals, your clients, employers, and professional colleagues understand that you have made a commitment to your career and have a stake in maintaining the standards of the profession. Be proud of your commitment.

Showcase your NCRA membership with the NCRA member logo

Maximize your professional investment by marketing your achievements and membership. Did you know that NCRA offers a distinct NCRA member logo for use by NCRA members? You can include the NCRA member logo on your advertising, business, and other similar promotional materials as a way to denote your membership in the Association.

The NCRA member logo can only be used to designate individual membership, as only individuals can be members, and should not be used by companies or firms or in a way that implies a company is a member.

The NCRA member logo is not the same as the NCRA logo. If you are currently using the NCRA logo, please seek permission to use it, remove it from your materials, or consider whether the NCRA member logo would serve your purposes. More information about how members can use the NCRA member logo is part of NCRA’s Procedures & Policy Manual, which is available on NCRA.org. To access the most current version of the NCRA member logo, visit NCRA.org/Logos.

How to show off your NCRA credentials correctly

NCRA members who have earned an NCRA certification may use the certification or its abbreviation in their marketing materials as long as they maintain CEUs and pay annual dues. Be sure to enhance your marketing materials and website with your NCRA member and credential logos.

Discounts on office supplies, payroll services, movie tickets, and more

According to Chase Cost Management, workers in the legal professions spend an average of $1,000 per person per year on office supplies. That is a lot of folders, pens, and sticky notes. If those figures hold true for the professions of court reporting and captioning, NCRA members can easily recoup their annual NCRA membership dues just by taking advantage of the discounts available from Office Depot through the NCRA Saving Center.

NCRA Saving Center discounts at Office Depot provide members with savings up to 80 percent off office essentials. Some recent deals include expanding file folders that cost only 70 cents each. That’s a savings of $2.80 each. If you bought 100 file folders, you could recoup the cost of your NCRA membership in file-folder savings alone. Of course, other types of office supplies are available at discounted rates. To sign up for this benefit that is included in your NCRA membership, visit NCRA.savingcenter.net.

Other discounts available to NCRA members through the NCRA Saving Center include accounting and payroll services, access to a collection agency, credit card processing services, and discounts on entertainment deals, car rental fees, and access to telemedicine, health insurance, and prescription drugs.

Connected to colleagues

Through NCRA social media pages, through NCRA events, and through JCR stories about members across the country and around the world, you learn more about what is going on in the profession and how your colleagues take on problems. NCRA members take to NCRA’s official Facebook groups to pose questions and offer solutions on day-to-day challenges, offer support for bad days and congratulations for milestones, and share the latest news affecting the professions. NCRA events offer informative presentations and inspiring speakers to break you out of the everyday grind and help you take the next step for you. NCRA’s publications give you nuggets of wisdom from other professionals that can help you build your career.

On your way to certification

No matter how you learn, we’ve got you covered. NCRA, in conjunction with Realtime Coach, offers a series of both videos and articles on the ins and outs of online testing. These videos and articles aid in preparing candidates for successful online skills testing. Your NCRA certification identifies you as a person interested in self-improvement, a career-minded individual, and a member of the professional community.

Year-round education opportunities

NCRA offers several ways to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that offer the information you can use in your career, whether you are an official, freelancer, business owner, captioner, or legal videographer. From the inclusive and collaborative NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference for independent contractors, small agency owners, and large firm executives to the annual NCRA Convention & Expo for everyone; and from live webinars to many series of e-seminars that you can access whenever and wherever you choose, NCRA’s extensive library has you covered.

Get the most from your membership

Your NCRA membership offers so much more than you might think — from member-exclusive discounts to networking opportunities to career-enhancing certifications. Is your membership up-to-date? Check your membership and profile information, including your email address, so you don’t miss announcements and news from NCRA. Visit NCRA.org to update your profile by April 15 and be listed in the printed 2018-2019 Sourcebook. Contact membership@ncra.org with questions.








Plan ahead for learning opportunities through NCRA

calendar

Photo by Dafne Cholet

Mark your calendars and plan your learning path with NCRA through 2018. 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 goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn CEUs 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):

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 10-17), Memorial Day (May 30), 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 they are 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.








Honor someone with NCRA’s highest award: The Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Varallo recognized with NCRA Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Varallo received the 2017 NCRA Distinguished Service Award

NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award (DSA) recognizes the distinguished work and service of an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting and captioning professions, including service to NCRA as a member, a committee member, a director, or an officer of the Association. It is also often viewed as the highlight of the recipient’s career. The deadline to nominate a candidate is Feb. 9.

“What an honor to be NCRA’s 2017 DSA recipient! The thrills of that day won’t soon be forgotten — seeing my family members appear as if by magic as my name was announced, the applause of my peers, the sentimental video created by my good friend Bill Weber and my father, and my own ‘aha’ moment when I realized my husband, Ed, had kept this wonderful secret from me,” said Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter and firm owner from Worcester, Mass. Varallo is also a past president of NCRA.

DSA recipients are also recognized for other displays of notable work, including contributing to the JCR or service at a state court reporters association or in the field of public relations or public affairs. Award winners are recognized at the NCRA Convention & Expo.

“I realized how my involvement in NCRA followed the example of so many leaders who served before me. I felt a real sense of gratitude for the mentors who had helped me along the way: first my dad, my court reporting mentor; and my mom, my feminist role model,” Varallo said.

“I also realized the gratitude I had for the inspiring leaders I’ve been privileged to know throughout my almost four decades of volunteerism. Those leaders blazed the trail! They set the bar for excellence. They taught me the responsibilities that come with commitment, the importance of doing my best, always, and to be ever mindful that a leader is always a role model. I take that seriously. I’ve sought to be a good and thoughtful leader, and I hope I’ve helped to empower others to take the reins of leadership. That would make me happy,” Varallo added.

Voting members of NCRA or of recognized court reporting associations may submit nominations through an online form, by email to dsa@ncra.org, or by mail to NCRA, Attn: DSA, 12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 400, Reston, VA 20191. Nominations must include information supporting why the nominee should be considered. DSA candidates cannot be an active member of the DSA Committee or the NCRA Board of Directors. The deadline to nominate a member for NCRA’s 56th Distinguished Service Award is Feb. 9.








What does it take to get new attendees?

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyNCRA was mentioned in the December issue of Associations Now in an article about attracting new attendees to conferences and conventions. The article cited NCRA’s policy of accepting student sponsorships for its convention from members who are registering.

Read more.








NCRA celebrates the Best. Friday. Ever.

NCRA members can kick off their holiday shopping season on Nov. 24 by taking advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways being offered with the purchase of membership renewals, store items, educational sessions, and more.

NCRA members who renew their membership or join on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free registration to the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Registered members who renew on Black Friday will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a free registration for the Speed or Realtime Contests held at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo. Members who renew their membership on Nov. 24 will also be eligible to win one of two Kindle Fires. That means the members who qualify may have three opportunities to win!

Other Best Friday Ever specials include a 20 percent discount on all NCRA Store items purchased using the promotional code FRIDAY at checkout. In addition, members who register for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference and book their stay at The Don CeSar will be entered into a drawing for a free spouse registration for the event.

Members who purchase an NCRA e-seminar on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing to win a free e-seminar while members who purchase a Skills Test on Black Friday will be entered into a drawing to win one of two free Skills Test registrations.

Members are urged to mark their calendars to be sure they don’t miss the discounts and giveaways being offered only on Nov. 24.