NCRA’s Firm Owners Conference draws record attendance and praise

The 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference drew a record number of attendees as well as high praise for the speakers and overall program from those who attended. The event was held Jan. 28-30 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.

Among the biggest takeaways were the “7 C’s to Build a Winning Team” offered by keynote speaker John Spence: coaching, character, communication, commitment, contagious energy, caring, and consistency. He also presented his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their businesses to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. Participants then created a focused plan for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace.

Other speakers who motivated attendees with their presentations included Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach, who presented an interactive session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” This session focused on creating short-term profits and business value. Another speaker, Steve Scott, lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. Scott is a SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and the owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy.

“This year was the best Firm Owners convention I have been to yet,” said Christine Phipps, RPR, a firm owner from West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors.

“The opening reception with team building  of tiki huts, music, custom drink, and dance really set the tone for the whole conference,” she said.

The schedule also provided numerous networking opportunities, including receptions, dinners, dedicated networking time between sessions, free time during lunch, and a closing reception.

Even though Phipps said the event was the largest attended, she was able to talk to more people and make more friends than she has at past events. She attributes this to the schedule with its many networking opportunities.

“John Spence was an excellent speaker; he related the conversation to not only our industry specifically but our businesses specifically — more like a coaching session with an overall individual business analysis. Spending time with these firm owners makes me even more proud to be part of this great profession,” said Phipps. “I cannot wait for next year!”

NCRA Board recognizes Brian Clune for contributions to legal video program

Brian Clune, shown here with NCRA President Christine Willette, is recognized for his contribution to the legal video program at the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

Brian Clune, CLVS, was presented with a plaque recognizing his 20 years of service to the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography professions. Clune was instrumental in creating NCRA’s Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) program, including developing an ever-changing seminar and creating an exam for program participants to prove a basic knowledge of the techniques and ethics required by videographers pursuing a legal video career. NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, presented the plaque to Clune, who had retired from the CLVS Council and committee work in 2017.

“The NCRA Board of Directors wanted to formally recognize Brian Clune for his 20 years of service to the profession through his dedication and arduous work with the CLVS program,” said Willette. “The work Brian has done for the CLVS certification and the Trial Presentation programs helped lay the groundwork for what we have today. We are thankful for all that he has done to bring court reporters and legal videographers a greater understanding of each person’s role in the legal process so that together we can offer our clients a better product. His expertise in the field has been an integral part of the success of the program.”

The CLVS program not only teaches participants the mechanics and best practices for providing a consistent and impartial video record, but it also reaffirms the cooperative nature of the legal videographer and court reporter in the deposition setting. “I am grateful to be the first CLVS to be recognized by the Board for my volunteer service,” said Clune, “but it is the hard work of the many associate members on the CLVS Council that that keeps the program up to date and running smoothly. … Each council member spent extra hours beyond the regular meetings to keep the program fresh and in step with the current technology. It was this collective effort that created the success of the program for these many years.

“The council members I worked with are too many to list here, but they remain good friends even after they left the Council. I truly appreciate the opportunity to have worked with such a selfless group of people whose only reward was a more respected CLVS program.”

Clune first served as a member of the CLVS Committee and then eventually became the Chair of the CLVS Council, offering his advice to newcomers to the profession, court reporters, and the profession at large. Clune also championed the need for additional, ongoing education for legal videographers, just as is required of their reporter counterparts, and was an integral member of the group that created NCRA’s Trial Presentation Program.

“It is a rare thing when one individual can make such a tremendous contribution to shaping the development of a program like the CLVS certification,” said Jason Levin, CLVS, who currently serves as the CLVS Council Chair. “Brian had a hand in influencing every aspect of this curriculum, from co-authoring the CLVS study book to designing the practical exam to writing questions for the written exam to teaching the majority of CLVS classes at our conventions. The list of his efforts is too large to enumerate. I will miss working with him on the CLVS Council, but I take comfort in knowing that he will easily be found at the YesLaw booth at NCRA Conventions for years to come.”

“I had the pleasure of working side-by-side with Brian for many years as a Council member and as an instructor for the CLVS program,” said Robert MacTavish, an early member of the CLVS Committee. “Throughout those years, Brian skillfully guided us from the VHS era into the digital recording era.”

MacTavish added: “I have many fond memories working with Brian, and I would like to congratulate him on his twenty years of service to the NCRA.”

On-site registration available for NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

“The networking opportunities were great. I also learned a lot of good marketing strategies, which I am already employing in my business.” –Beth Fein, CLVS, BWA Video, Houston, TXIf you missed the deadline for online registration to attend the only NCRA event designed exclusively for owners and managers of court reporting and captioning firms, on-site registration is still available. You can still take advantage of the opportunity to network with many of the profession’s top firm owners and managers in beautiful St. Pete Beach, Fla., at the NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, Jan. 28–31 at the Don CeSar hotel.

On-site registration will be available in the foyer of the Grand Ballroom at the Don CeSar hotel all three days of the events, beginning Jan. 28, 3:30-7 p.m.

Attendees, including freelancers and owners of firms of all sizes, can expect an agenda rich with innovative, interactive, and inspiring sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world.

Inspiring speakers

Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their businesses to determine exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create focused plans for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. Watch Spence’s personal invitation to Firm Owners.

Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present an interactive session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” The presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott will lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Ample networking

Numerous networking opportunities include the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event, reception, and dinner, a networking power half-hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Also on the schedule are educational events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Industry outlook

The annual NCRA State of the Industry session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they’re finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

Come join the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference this week and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be.

Special hotel rates expire Jan. 5 for 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

Take advantage of the specially negotiated hotel room rates at the beautiful Don Cesar hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fla. These rates expire Jan. 5. The luxurious Don CeSar hotel plays host to this year’s NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference taking place Jan. 28-30. The deadline to register for this business-focused conference is Jan. 12.

Attendees, including freelancers and owners of firms of all sizes, can expect an agenda rich with innovative, interactive, and inspiring sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world.

Inspiring speakers

Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their businesses to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create focused plans for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. Watch Spence’s personal invitation to Firm Owners.

Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present an interactive session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” The presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott will lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Ample networking

Numerous networking opportunities include the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event, reception, and dinner, a networking power half hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Also on the schedule are educational events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Industry outlook

The annual NCRA State of the Industry session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they’re finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

Come join the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in January and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be. Register now, and don’t miss the special hotel rates set to expire on Jan. 5.

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.

Firm owners are heading to warm Florida this January

A trip to St. Pete Beach, Fla., in January to attend the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference makes the perfect gift for any freelancer or firm owner no matter what size the company. The deadline to register is Jan. 12 for this business-focused event that features opportunities for attendees to connect, learn, and energize as they network and join in stimulating and inspiring sessions. The event is Jan. 28-30 at the luxurious Don CeSar hotel.

“I have attended the Firm Owners Executive Conference almost every year since its inception. The seminars and keynote speakers provide me with a wealth of practical information and industry insight that is both timely and essential to our business’s success,” said Lisa DiMonte, RDR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter and CEO of Planet Depos in Washington, D.C.

“I am particularly excited about this year’s keynote speaker, John Spence. His reputation as a successful business leader and executive coach precedes him, and I believe we will gain valuable knowledge from him that will help propel our business into the next level of achievement and growth. I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones at this year’s conference in beautiful St. Pete Beach,” she added.

Top business leaders top the schedule

The 2018 agenda features an array of innovative and interactive sessions led by some of the best leaders in today’s business world.

Keynote speaker John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation, will share his insights into achieving business excellence. He will also present his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their business to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. The workshop will also help participants create a focused plan for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. View Spence’s personal invitation to Firm Owners.

Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach will present “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” The presentation will focus on creating short-term profits and business value so attendees can learn how to plan as if they will run their business forever but act as if they’ll sell it tomorrow.

SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy, Steve Scott will lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. He will touch on the secrets to search engine optimization (SEO) success, tactics and techniques for online marketing, and social media marketing, among other topics.

Industry outlook

The annual NCRA State of the Industry session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they are finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

Ample networking

Numerous networking opportunities include the “Build-It, Mix-It, Who Will Win It” opening event that will lead into dinner, a networking power half hour, free time during lunch, and a closing reception. Also on the schedule are education events during breakfast sessions and a special welcome and meet-and-greet with NCRA’s new CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto.

Register now for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in January and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet, no matter what size your company may be. Special hotel rates for the event will also expire on Jan. 5.

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

On Black Friday, NCRA members had seven discounts and giveaways to take advantage of. 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. Regina Berenato-Tell, RDR, CRR, an official from Hammonton, N.J., won a free registration for the NCRA Realtime Contest. Beranto-Tell works at the House of Representatives and has been a reporter for 30 years — she’ll probably bring some strong competition! Christy Fagan, RMR, CRR, a freelancer in Mansfield, Texas, won a free registration for the NCRA Speed Contest. The contests are held at the NCRA Convention & Expo. Speaking of Convention, Misty Bubke, RDR, CRR, an official in Kingsley, Iowa, won a free registration to the annual conference.

Cynthia Lew, RPR, a freelancer in Oakland, Calif., and Carol Danielson Bille, RPR, a freelancer in St. Paul, Minn., won a Kindle Fire for renewing their NCRA memberships. “The Kindle will be a new toy for me, and I’m up to the challenge,” said Lew. “In my student years, reading the JCR was a way to keep my goals in sight, and 20+ years later I’m still reading the articles. They keep me abreast of advances in technology (I’m something of a Luddite) and what issues our industry is facing across the country.”

NCRA is grateful for everyone who has renewed their memberships for 2018, on Black Friday as well as before and after the promotion.

Two members who registered for an NCRA Skills Test (SKT) on Black Friday won a free registration. Elia E. Carrión, RPR, a freelancer in Chicago, Ill., registered for the Certified Realtime Reporter SKT, and Holly Ortman, a student at Des Moines Area Community College won a leg of the Registered Professional Reporter SKT. Good luck as you work towards your certifications!

Starla Wiggins, RPR, CRR, a freelancer from Lovington, N.M., won a free NCRA e-seminar. Dozens of members purchased an e-seminar on Black Friday. Several members also took advantage of a 20 percent discount in the NCRA Store on Black Friday.

Teresa Evans, RMR, CRR, got an extra perk for registering for the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference – she won a free spouse registration. Evans is a freelancer and owner of Realtime Reporters based in Charleston, W.Va. “I describe my career as getting paid to watch Lifetime TV!” said Evans. “I have been a member of NCRA throughout most of my career, and I encourage every reporter to be a member and take advantage of the educational offerings and the testing to receive advance certifications, as well as the networking of other professionals like yourself. Every month when I receive the magazine, I learn something, and each time I attend an event put on by NCRA, I come away enthused about my career and amazed at the professionals around the country who bring so much to the table.”

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.

Learn how to make 2018 your best business year yet

Lisa Colston, RPR, a freelancer and owner of Sworn Testimony, PLLC, in Lexington, Ky., is already registered to attend the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, saying she’s looking forward to “getting my creative juices flowing and thinking outside the box.” The 2018 event is Jan. 28-30 at The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Fla. This business-focused conference is designed with two key elements in mind: 1) giving attendees real-world educational sessions with pragmatic tips they can take back and implement into their business immediately and 2) providing lots of time to network with a friendly, open community of like-minded professionals.

This year, attendees will work with John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation. During his keynote address, Spence will focus on what he does best: making complex business ideas “awesomely simple.” Later that afternoon, he will lead an in-depth, two-part workshop focused first on business planning and execution and then on strategic thinking and planning. Since Firm Owners is a smaller, more intimate event, attendees will have the opportunity to address their specific individual business challenges during this workshop.

Colston said that marketing tips and tricks are some of the most valuable things she’s learned at past conferences. And 2018 will continue that trend with Steve Scott’s session, “Marketing your Business on the Web.” Scott brings longtime experience with search engine optimization (SEO) and website design, fields he’s been working in since 1998. SEO is one of the current buzzwords in online marketing, and attendees will come away with greater insight on how to use SEO to get their name in front of potential clients.

Colston said that the most enjoyable part of attending Firm Owners is “the feeling of community and friendship” and that she’s been able to “develop business relationships that are built on the foundation of confidence and trust.” Furthermore, “the ability to collaborate on business strategies to help grow and strengthen” her business are why she keeps coming back. Plenty of networking time is built into the schedule, including a fun “Build-it, Mix-it, Who Will Win-it Networking Event” that will kick off the conference.

Freelancers and firm owners who are thinking of attending this conference for the first time will find a warm and welcoming community. “As a first-time attendee, I fully anticipated feeling like an outsider or fifth wheel. I was so sure that I would have to insert myself into conversations and wedge myself into long-forged friendships. I’m happy to say I was completely wrong,” said Constance Lee, RPR, a freelancer and owner of Constance Lee & Company in Baden, Pa. Lee attended for the first time in 2016 and then returned the very next year.

Finally, attendees will get access to the annual NCRA State of the Industry. This session will look at how the court reporting and captioning industry is doing now, what areas firms are developing, and what successes they’re finding – all based on solid, current data. Having a real-world sense of what the industry looks like nationwide will help attendees know where their individual businesses fit into the big picture.

The motto for the 2018 event is “Connect. Learn. Energize.” for good reason. “A network of professionals that you can rely on through the year will make running a small business effortless,” said Colston. “We are one united group of professionals working together to maintain a professional court reporting industry overall.” Come join the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference in January and discover what connection or tip will be the one that makes 2018 your best business year yet.

Don’t miss your chance to register

The NCRA website will be running routine maintenance on Thursday, Nov. 16, but attendees can members who register for the event and book their stay at The Don CeSar on Nov. 24 will be entered into a drawing for a free spouse registration for the event as part of NCRA’s Best. Friday. Ever. on Black Friday. Don’t wait – registration prices increase on Dec. 16.

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.