Small group, big learning at the NCRA State Leadership Conference

Group shot of the NCRA Leadership Conference attendees

Photo by Lindsay DeWaide, RMR, CRR

NCRA’s State Leadership Conference, held in late May in St. Louis, Mo., was the first to bring to bear the full weight of the national association to a regional event.

“Beyond a doubt awesome,” said Linda M. Dattilo, RPR, executive director for the Missouri Court Reporters Association, of the new regional focus. “I attended the [national-level] NCRA State Leadership Conference many years ago and NCRA Legislative Boot Camp, and I got far more out of this conference. Perhaps it was the smaller number of attendees or the terrific leaders who put the conference on. All I know is I have a lot of ideas now for the Missouri Court Reporters Association that I can’t wait to get working on.”

The smaller group size was cited as being conducive for greater learning and better camaraderie by many of the participants. The conference included presentations by NCRA President Tiva Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS; President-Elect Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC; Interim CEO & Executive Director Dave Wenhold; and Manager of State Government Relations Matt Barusch.

“I was presented with so much information, such as learning how to run an effective board meeting, understanding budgets, the nuts and bolts of association work, and how to communicate effectively with our members,” said Dana Webb, president-elect of the Tennessee Court Reporters Association. “The knowledge I derived from this conference will truly be invaluable as I embark on becoming president of the Tennessee Court Reporters Association, and it will help me to make the most of my leadership role to better our association and our profession.”

“They taught us so many helpful tools in leading an effective board meeting, recruiting new association members, ideas about promoting our careers to high school students, and so much more,” agreed Jill Pilkington, RMR, who is president-elect of the Nebraska Court Reporters Association.

“The regional leadership conference in St. Louis was, in my opinion, time and money well spent,” said Lance Boardman, RDR, CRR, who is a director for the Ohio Court Reporters Association. “It was gratifying to know that much of what is recommended by NCRA as to how to run a state organization the Ohio Court Reporters Association has already implemented. On the other hand, there was much that I, as an individual, did not know about processes and procedures. I think there is generally a fairly large knowledge gap between people’s perception of how things are run and the reality, and that gap, for me at least, has now been mostly filled.”

The conference was designed to provide state leaders with information about working as an association that is often not easily found elsewhere, including how to fulfill their roles as state leaders in line with industry best practices. In addition, state leaders exchanged information about what is going on in their states to build connections between organizations and individual state leaders.

“As a newer member to our State Board, I met some great leaders in our profession,” said Jackie Rupnow, RPR, CRI, who is part of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association board. “I loved that Tiva and Chris played an integral part of this training. Their insight was invaluable. I left this conference having made some lifelong friends, but, best of all, it reenergized me in wanting to do more for our profession and be a better leader. I would recommend this conference to anyone interested in gaining more insight into how to become a more effective leader.”

As Boardman summed up: “The best part of all: I got to finally meet some longtime online friends and made a lot of new ones from around the country.”

State leaders learn the ropes in Denver, Colo.

State leaders from around the country joined NCRA Board of Director members and staff during the 2015 NCRA State Leadership Conference held April 12-13 in Denver, Colo. During the conference, attendees learned more about how the national association can aid and benefit their own organizations in supporting the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography professions.

The conference, which is hosted every other year by NCRA, provides attendees with sessions that cover an array of issues and topics such as effective lobbying, public relations and media outreach, recruiting and retaining members, and more. This year’s event drew leadership from 29 states.

“This year’s conference was an incredibly successful event. NCRA’s state associations left with the tools they need to help improve their associations’ membership, government relations, public relations, meetings, and much more,” said Adam Finkel, NCRA’s Director of Government Relations. “Just as important, the networking opportunities let the leadership from state associations work on similar issues together, allowing for a higher likelihood of success.”

Among the presentations at this year’s conference were a session presented by Finkel and Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC, from Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, who serves as a consultant for NCRA. The interactive session included an overview of the current status of the court reporting profession and the sharing of strategies and tactics that have proven successful in recruiting more court reporters to join their state associations. Recruiting and cultivating new leaders and committee members was addressed in a session led by Kristin Anderson, RPR, and Linda McSwain, RPR, co-chairs of the National Committee of State Associations. The two former state leaders shared with attendees ideas and tips that worked for them to increase involvement in their state associations.

State leaders in attendance also were provided a review of the Association 101 Handbook, developed as a resource to provide them with a strong understanding of what tools, tips, and resources are available to assist them. Wendel Stewart, CAE, NCRA Senior Director of Finance And Administration, and Jeffrey Altman, NCRA’s general counsel and a partner with Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLC, also led a session that shared best practices for governing and managing state associations while ensuring legal compliance.

Other sessions covered NCRA’s 2015 public policy agenda and information about how state associations can become involved, tips for developing content and planning effective meetings, and strategies for successful networking.

Christina Lewellen, MBA, NCRA’s Senior Director for Marketing and Communications, led a session that covered the tools and resources available to state associations to promote the profession via the Take Note campaign, the value of good public relations, and how to deal with the media.

NCRA President Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC, was joined by Steve Zinone, RPR, President-Elect, and Board of Director members Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, and Karen Teig, RPR, CRR, CMRS, in a session that covered strategies needed to build an effective coalition to benefit the court reporting profession.

The event wrapped up with a networking reception that allowed attendees the opportunity to meet a number of NCRA’s leadership.

State leaders head to Colorado for conference

More than three dozen leaders of state court reporting associations have registered to attend NCRA’s State Leadership Conference, April 12-13, in Denver, Colo.

The event, which kicks off on Sun., April 12, with registration, offers a schedule geared toward helping state leaders from all levels of experience enhance their leadership and association-building skills. Attendees will also learn about the latest trends and issues NCRA is following on their behalf.

Among the topics to be covered at this year’s event will be membership recruitment and leader cultivation, present-day marketplace conditions, the nuts and bolts of association work, NCRA’s 2015 public policy agenda, the latest in public relations resources for members and states, and more. In addition, NCRA President Sarah E. Nageotte, RDR, CBC, CRR, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio, will also address attendees during a continental breakfast on Mon., April 13.

“NCRA’s State Leadership Conference is the educational opportunity for leaders of all experience levels,” said Adam Finkel, NCRA’s Director of Government Relations. “It’s especially common for first-time participants to note that they take away a high value of knowledge from this event not only because of the intense sessions, but also because of the opportunities they have to network with seasoned leadership in attendance.”

The conference is being held at The Curtis: A Doubletree Hotel by Hilton in Denver, Colo. To register for the conference, go to  or contact Adam Finkel at for more information.