Firm owners donate Convention swag

The NCRA Student/Teacher Committee is grateful to the many people who generously donated to the student swag bags at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. Last February, the Committee sent out a call to the NCRA Firm Owners email list, asking firms to donate a little something extra (or “lagniappe” in New Orleans-speak) for the bags. Planet Depos sent in a great backpack, and the goodies kept pouring in to fill them up. Other Firm Owners donated pens, travel mugs, mouse pads, hand sanitizers, pens, sticky notes, keyboard brushes, pencil cases, candy, and more!

The Student/Teacher Committee would like to thank the following donors who contributed to this year’s student swag bags:

  • Alaris
  • Benchmark Reporting Agency
  • Doris. O. Wong & Associates, Inc.
  • Hanson Renaissance Reporting & Video
  • Jack W. Hunt & Associates
  • Kay Moody, MCRI, CPE
  • LNS Court Reporting & Legal Video
  • Memory Reporting, Inc.
  • O’Brien & Levine
  • OrangeLegal
  • Planet Depos
  • Rider & Associates, Inc.
  • Schmitt Reporting & Video, Inc.
  • Streski Reporting & Video Service
  • Summit City Reporting
  • U.S. Legal Support
  • West Coast Court Reporting & Video
  • Wood & Randall
  • YOM

A glimpse of the action

Last month’s NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La., was a great success. Student attendees were treated not only to some fun and informative seminars, but also a meet-and-greet with the NCRA Board of Directors. Student sessions included “Student Steno Speed Dating,” “Good Reporter/Bad Reporter,” “Online Skills Testing,” and “What I Didn’t Learn in Court Reporting School.” View the Complete Coverage of the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo article with many links.

2018 Realtime Contest winner Mark Kislingbury shares his story

2018 NCRA Realtime Contest Winner Mark Kislingbury

NCRA member Mark Kislingbury, FAPR, RDR, CRR, owner of Magnum Steno from Houston, Texas, won the 2018 National Realtime Contest held during the Association’s Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. It is his fifth Realtime Contest win. This win ties the record for most wins in the NCRA Realtime Contest with 2017-2018 Contests Committee co-chair Jo Ann Bryce, RMR, CRR, of Castro Valley, Calif. Kislingbury’s overall score was 99.24 percent.

Kislingbury placed second in the literary leg with a 99.20 percent accuracy rate, and first in the Q&A leg with a 99.28 percent accuracy rate.

The JCR Weekly recently reached out to him to find out more about what motivates him, how he prepares to compete, and how he learned about court reporting as a career.

JCR | In what area of the profession do you work?
KISLINGBURY | What I do does not actually fit into any of those groups! Most of my professional writing is for a national political radio program where the Web team for that program wants instant transcripts so they can post verbatim transcripts on their site. This demands accurate realtime so that I only have to make a few edits/corrections on commercial breaks and send that segment at the end of the commercial break. I also work for that same program before each particular show transcribing “sound bites” taken from television so that the host may have verbatim transcripts of those sound bites. Occasionally I still do broadcast captioning and will take a freelance job or a remote CART job.

JCR | How long have you been in the profession?
KISLINGBURY | 35 years.

JCR | How did you learn about the profession?
KISLINGBURY | I was a junior in high school in a Gregg shorthand class when a rep from the nearest court reporting school visited our class and showed us a brand-new olive green steno machine with shiny black keys. She told us you could graduate in two years, make a high salary right away, and that 95 percent of the students were girls. What’s to not like?

JCR | How many national contests have you participated in?
KISLINGBURY | I competed in NCRA Speed Contests from 1995 through 2010 (16 of them), and since 1999 I have competed in 18 of the 20 NCRA Realtime Contests.

JCR | Do you compete both in the Realtime and the Speed contests??
KISLINGBURY | I used to compete in both, but from 2011 through today I have not competed in an NCRA Speed Contest. I do enjoy competing in the California DRA Realtime Contests.

JCR | What motivates you to compete?
KISLINGBURY | I suppose it’s the pursuit of excellence. The pursuit of excellence seems to be a universal human value that contributes to overall happiness, self-esteem, and well-being. Since I love teaching court reporters and students to help them improve, I think that winning contests (where I have been fortunate enough to do so) lends added credibility to what I am teaching.

JCR | How did it feel to win this year?
KISLINGBURY | It felt great because it was the culmination of a lot of hard work in the practice room. There are so many amazing realtime competitors out there nowadays that it is extremely hard to win! And it’s so easy to “have a bad day” in the realtime contest. I believe only nine different individuals have won the NCRA realtime contest in its 20 years of existence! And only four have won it multiple times.

JCR | Do you plan to continue to compete at the national level?
KISLINGBURY | Absolutely!

JCR | What advice would you give someone who is considering competing at the national level?
KISLINGBURY | It’s fun! Do it for the experience, for the pursuit of excellence, not “to win.” It takes the pressure off if you have the attitude: “I just want to try my best and see what happens.” The other competitors are friendly and encouraging. Your first goal may well be to simply “qualify” in one of the two legs. (Qualifying means 95 percent accuracy or above.) Qualifying means you get ranked in a group of elite Realtime (or Speed) Contest reporters!

JCR | How far in advance do you begin to practice for the national contests?
KISLINGBURY | When I was competing in speed contests, I would start at least three months ahead of time. For the realtime contest, I start practicing 365 days ahead of the contest!

JCR | What is your practice routine to prep for these contests?
KISLINGBURY | For the realtime contest, generally I write a 5-minute take at around 280 and keep slowing it down in 5 percent increments until it’s about 225. The whole time I’m striving to write each stroke instantly, without ever getting behind. The “instant” takes precedence over “accuracy.” I generally write the take 7-8 times. By the time I quit, I’m realtiming it virtually perfectly. That takes 35-45 minutes. Then I take a break. The next time I practice, it’s a new take, same routine.

If I were doing the speed contest again, I would do the same practice regimen except start much faster than 280 and slow it down incrementally until it reached 280, doing each take 7-8 times before moving on.

JCR | Do you compete at the state level as well?
KISLINGBURY | Currently, only at the California Deposition Reporters Realtime Contests, which tend to be every February. I used to compete in the Texas Speed Contest in the 1990s. For many years I have chaired the Texas Court Reporters Association Realtime Contest and continue to do so to this day.

JCR | Is there anything else you would like to share?
KISLINGBURY | I have started a court reporting school, the Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting, in Houston, Texas. We opened in 2011. We have both on-site and online programs. Our first nine graduates (who started brand-new with us) have averaged one year and 10 months! Four of the nine were online students. I teach students my very short Magnum Steno Theory. There are several dozen happy and prospering professional reporters in the field who learned my theory. Many of them are providing realtime and/or captioning. I am attempting to do my small part to try to fix our nationwide court reporter shortage.

2018 Speed Contest winner Sherry Bryant shares her story

Sherry Bryant

NCRA member Sherry Bryant, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harrisburg, Pa., won the 2018 National Speed Contest held during the Association’s 2018 Convention & Expo from Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La. This is a second win for Bryant, who also took home top honors in the 2012 National Speed Contest.

In the 2018 Speed Contest, Bryant placed first in the literary leg with a 99.54 percent accuracy rate, second in the legal opinion leg with a 98.78 percent accuracy rate, and second in the Q&A leg with a 95.50 percent accuracy rate, to win overall with a 97.94 percent accuracy rate.

Bryant also competed in the 2018 Realtime Contest and placed fouth overall with a 98.37 percent accuracy rate.

The JCR Weekly recently reached out to her to find out more about what motivates her, how she prepares to compete, and how she learned about court reporting as a career.

JCR | What area of the profession do you work?
BRYANT | I work for the U.S. House of Representatives on the committee side. I started in July 2016 and have been a reporter since 1981.

JCR | How did you learn about the profession?
BRYANT | My mother, Virginia Loria, was working as a federal official reporter in Harrisburg, Pa., at the time, having transitioned to the machine after being a pen writer most of her career. My stepfather, George Geiger, was an official reporter at Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. He gave me a steno machine and theory book. I worked as a freelancer for the family firm, Geiger & Loria Reporting Service, now Geiger Loria Filius McLucas, until I became a federal official in the Eastern District of New York in October 2013.

JCR | How many national contests have you participated in?
BRYANT | I first entered the National Speed Contest in 1997. Then beginning in 2000, I competed yearly until 2007.  I also entered in 2012, 2015, and 2018.  I also compete in the Realtime Contest any time I enter the Speed Contest.

JCR | What motivates you to compete?
BRYANT | I really enjoy competing in both contests, I think because it is such a big challenge; and I love that about court reporting in general.

JCR | How did it feel to win overall this year?
BRYANT | It felt absolutely amazing to win this year! I have always been fortunate to qualify in the Speed Contests and was worried this would be my first time not to. It was a well-founded worry since my Q&A was borderline, so it felt even better since it was so surprising. I would like to continue competing in both contests.

JCR | What advice would you give someone who is considering competing at the national level?
BRYANT | The only advice I have is to practice as much as possible with hard material.

JCR | How far in advance do you begin to practice for the national contests?
BRYANT | I begin practicing two to three months in advance of a contest.

JCR | What is your practice routine to prep for these contests?
BRYANT | I aim for an hour a day. I used to do 30 minutes a day until the last three contests. I wrote 650 pages of practice material in the four days before this last contest.

JCR | Do you compete at the state level as well?
BRYANT | I have also competed in the past in the Pennsylvania Realtime Cup, beginning in 2000.

Don’t let the deadline to enter to win a weeklong stay in Mexico fly by

Villa del Palmar in Cabo San Lucas

Midnight on Aug. 29 is the deadline to pledge support for NCRF by becoming a 2019 Angel donor and to be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a weeklong stay in one of three luxury resorts in Mexico.

Angels who pledge or sign up for recurring donations by Aug. 29 will be entered into a drawing for a weeklong stay at their choice of one of three Mexican resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, or Nuevo Vallarta, generously donated by Angel and Angels Committee member Denise Paternoster, RPR.

Villa del Palmar in Puerto Vallarta

The Angels Program continues to be the most impactful component of the National Court Reporters Foundation’s annual campaign, as it supports four key initiatives that are advancing the court reporting and captioning professions:

Sign up online or by filling out a 2019 Pledge Letter.

Villa del Palmar in Neuvo Vallarte

“Please support the NCRF, the National Court Reporters Foundation, by contributing to the future of court reporting and captioning. Being an Angel makes a substantial difference in the programs and our efforts going forward to address the issues our profession is experiencing. Offering your financial support to NCRF as an Angel also continues the support of the programs we have led for many years: The Veterans History Project, the education of attorneys in Making the Record, and new professional and student scholarships. Be an Angel!” said Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, NCRF Trustee and Angel.

Another NCRA Convention to remember

Lisa Conley Yungblunt, RMR, CRR, CRC, a court reporter for Mike Mobley Reporting based in Cincinnati, Ohio, shared her thoughts in a recent blog about this year’s NCRA Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La., including some of her most memorable moments.

Read more.

UPDATE: Parliamentary review of voting tally results in additional changes to Bylaws

NCRA members voted on 12 amendments to the Constitution & Bylaws following the Annual Business Meeting on Aug. 2, 2018, which occurred in conjunction with the NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans, La. A question arose on the NCRA state leaders listserve on how abstention votes were counted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised Edition, so a parliamentary review was requested. Upon parliamentary confirmation of the rule/method for counting abstention votes, all amendments except Amendment 11, the name change, are now deemed to have passed. Going forward, NCRA has put in place a policy to have voting results verified by our parliamentarian before being announced to our membership.

Per our Constitution & Bylaws, Article IX, Section 5b, “The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the official parliamentary guide for all business sessions when they are not in conflict with this Constitution and Bylaws or rules adopted by the Association during the annual business meeting or by the Board of Directors.” Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, Page 415, “ignore blank ballots and other ballots that indicate no preference, treating them as abstentions” and “all ballots that indicate a preference – provided they have been cast by persons entitled to vote – are taken into account in determining the number of votes cast for purposes of computing.”

To pass, Bylaws amendments must receive at least two-thirds (66.7%) affirmation by the Voting Members who are voting by electronic mail or other authorized means of electronic transmission. The numbers below reflect the percentages voting for each amendment:

NumberNamePass/FailedPercentage Voted For
1Voting for Officers and Board of DirectorsPassed (previously reported as failed)71.9%
2Voting on Bylaws AmendmentsPassed82.0%
3Clarification of electoral processPassed83.6%
4Elections when more than two candidates are running for the same positionPassed81.5%
5Number of Directors on the BoardPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
6Clarification of the timing of terms of officePassed84.8%
7Elimination of requirement to include a consumer or public member as part of the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR)Passed (previously reported as failed)72.9%
8Clarification of electronic mail votingPassed83.5%
9Removal of reference of electronic voting in a business meetingPassed (previously reported as failed)71.4%
10Definition of Voting MembersPassed84.7%
11Name changeFailed47.3%
12Meeting referencePassed92.3%

During the Annual Business Meeting, Keith Lemons and Yolanda Walton were elected by majority vote to fill unoccupied spaces on the Board of Directors resulting from the promotion of two Directors to Officer positions on the Board.

The Constitution & Bylaws permits all eligible NCRA voting members to vote through electronic means on Bylaws amendments and contested Board of Directors elections. The Bylaws amendments ranged from minor, including cleaning up some repetitive language, to more substantial, such as streamlining the voting procedures for amendments and elections. Eligible voting members participated through a private, secure link during the 12-hour voting period. View all voting results.

Marjorie A. Peters Recognized with 2018 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism

Nancy Hopp and Marjorie Peters

NCRA member Marjorie A. Peters, RMR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Pittsburgh, Pa., was honored with the 2018 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism. The award was presented by NCRF during NCRA’s Convention & Expo held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.

The Aurelio Award is given to a working court reporter with more than 25 years of experience who has given back to the profession and to the court reporting community with no expectation of any reward.

“Receiving the Santo Aurelio Award was an emotional and overwhelming moment, only made better because I was able to share it in person with so many friends and colleagues who offered their heartfelt congratulations and kind words.  When I see photos on Facebook, I continue to be deeply touched,” said Peters, who owns Marjorie Peters Court Reporting.

“When I look at past years’ awardees, I am in awe to be included now in their company and then even more humbled that my dear friends nominated me and saw it through,” she added.

At the national level, Peters has presented numerous times at NCRA’s annual Convention & Expo as well as has served on a number of the Association’s committees. She is a longtime supporter of NCRF.

Active at the state level, she has served twice on the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association Board of Directors. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (STAR) and has coordinated a number of Veterans History Project events to capture the stories of U.S. war veterans for the Library of Congress to preserve.

She has sponsored students at both the state and national levels for memberships and convention fees and often invites students from the court reporting program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) into her home office to demonstrate live captioning.

Active in her community, Peters is a longtime volunteer with the Light of Life Rescue Mission, as well as the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Race, which benefits the Autism Society. She is also a lector at the Assumption Church in Bellevue, Pa.

“I feel Marjorie is the perfect example of the meaning of the word altruism – the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others,” said life-long friend Janis L. Ferguson, RPR, CRR, who was one of several of Peters’ peers to nominate her.

“She has demonstrated this time and time again through her concern for her family, her concern for her community, and her concern and passion for her chosen profession. It has been an honor to nominate her,” added Ferguson, a freelance court reporter from Erie, Pa.

“Marjorie’s work history is made up of every facet of our profession – judicial reporting, captioning, and freelance work. She does not hesitate to volunteer in every way she can manage for our school in western Pennsylvania, and is a great aid to CCAC,” wrote Donna Cascio, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, an official court reporter from Somerset, Pa., who also nominated Peters.

“She is a great ambassador for our profession — and for living with compassion and kindness on this planet,” Cascio added.

Peters said that each year, she continues to be inspired by court reporters, CART and broadcast captioners, and firm owners who offer themselves to build up the profession, as well as their communities, and offered the following words of encouragement: “Let us always be encouraged by each other. Always remember to allow yourself to be inspired, and that any act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted. Smile at a hard-working clerk. Act when action is needed. And give whenever you can. Your heart and mind will be most richly rewarded.”

NCRA contests draw attention to court reporting, captioning professions

Sherry Bryant and Mark Kislingbury

New Orleans media outlets interviewed several NCRA members who competed in the NCRA Speed Contest and NCRA Realtime Contest during the NCRA Convention & Expo held there earlier this month.

NCRA member and Guinness world record holder Mark Kislingbury, FAPR, RDR, CRR, from Houston, Texas, was featured in a segment on ABC affiliate WGNO that aired Aug. 8. The interview took place during NCRA’s 2018 Convention & Expo held in New Orleans Aug. 2-5, where Kislingbury won the National Realtime Contest.

Erminia Uviedo and Donna Karoscik

NCRA members Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Donna Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC, were interviewed by New Orleans station WWLTV Channel 4 about the court reporting and captioning professions and what it’s like to compete in the National Realtime Contest.

Keynote Speaker: You have to create and lead change

Keynote Speaker Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.)

With the mantra, “Don’t be stuck on stupid,” NCRA 2018 Convention & Expo keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré (U.S. Army, Ret.), a 37-year veteran of active service, used his natural humor to share his insights about what leadership is, when and how to use it, and why we need to be resilient.

Honoré, who served as the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, during which time he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans, also shared his military story during a special Veterans History Project interview held during the premier session.

Honoré shared with the audience that the ballroom they were sitting in served as the temporary home to the battalion under his command during Hurricane Katrina, as it was one of the only dry places available after the horrific flooding. He said he and members of his team evacuated people from the nearby Superdome through the hotel and onto buses waiting outside.

“On any given day, anything man-made can be broken by Mother Nature,” Honoré said.

He also talked about his experiences in other hurricane recoveries, including Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys, and other coastal areas, and shared some of the lessons those experiences taught him, including the importance of being resilient rather than being stuck on stupid. He illustrated his point by sharing the story of a McDonald’s restaurant built on a river that has flooded numerous times and has been rebuilt numerous times. Each time it has flooded, some 20 employees are out of work.

Veterans History Project interview: Danielle Griffin, Mike Miller, Russel Honore

“We’ve got to stop being stupid. If you build along a river, you’re gonna flood. With the various changes in weather, if you live along the coast, you need to be ready for storms. Sea levels have risen along the East Coast and our coastlines are at risk. You need leadership to help raise good kids because they are the ones who will need to lead us through the strains and challenges of the changing weather and other issues of today,” Honoré said.

The points Honoré shared with the audience about leadership included:

  • Grow children. You are going to have to practice leadership. Save your best leadership for when you get home. Leading at work is easy. Leadership is the ability to influence others to accomplish a task or a challenge. Ask, what does it take to influence this child?
  • You want to surround yourself with smart people.
  • Leadership comes at a price. You need to figure out what works. To lead requires sacrifice. If you are not sacrificing, you are not leading.
  • Do the routine things well. Teach your children that.
  • Don’t be afraid of the impossible.
  • Don’t be afraid of the opportunities on the other side of the impossible. Be resilient. Go figure out how to deal with things. We put a man on the moon but haven’t been able to develop a transmitter that a squirrel can’t chew through.

“If you are going to lead, you are going to be criticized,” Honoré told the audience. “People are scared of change. You have to create and lead change. People push back on change. Be patient when leading. The change you need to create won’t be easy. If it is easy, you haven’t changed enough.”