New Legislative Boot Camp Experience inspires attendees to take action

Enlightening, enriching, insightful, and inspiring are just some of the adjectives representatives from 28 state court reporter associations used to describe their experiences at NCRA’s 2018 Legislative Boot Camp held March 11-13 in Reston, Va.

With a lineup of top speakers that addressed issues ranging from how to stop overthinking, why certification is important to state associations, how to support successful grassroots lobbying efforts, and how to implement effective programs at the state level, attendees of the NCRA 2018 Legislative Boot Camp were given access to an impressive learning opportunity. Attendees also participated in mock trials as they prepared to take new skills and insights they learned during the sessions to advocate for the court reporting and captioning professions during visits with lawmakers and their staff members on Capitol Hill.

Carolyn Coronado, RPR, and Keith Johnson, RDR, CRR, CRC, visit Rep. Pete Sessions office

“There was a lot of information shared during this event. It was enlightening, and I have some great ideas to take back to my state association, as well as some really good points I can use when I meet with my legislators,” said Carolyn Coronado, RPR, an official court reporter from Houston, Texas, and first-time boot camp attendee.

“For me personally, I can see how I can use the information I learned to address my judges as well on certain issues. I came here to learn, and now thinking ahead, I may become more involved with NCRA and committee work,” added Coronado, a past board member of the Texas Court Reporters Association.

Shelley Row, speaker, consultant, and author, led an insightful session laced with humor and personal stories in her presentation “Go with Your Gut: Effective Decision-Making in an Overthinking World.” The self-proclaimed recovering overthinker shared with attendees how she used infotuition – the combination of intuition and information – to learn to recognize the signs that made her an overthinker. She shared her cognition-intuition balance model that is based on understanding what constitutes a no-brainer decision versus a knee-jerk decision and how to leave room in our thinking to allow the “Aha!” moments. She also shared how important it is to remove yourself from heated situations before reacting, the positive impact of taking brain breaks, and recognizing body markers.

“Thinking and acting is not enough. You have to think, feel, and act. Taken together, the brain, gut, and the body’s neurological system create embodied intelligence that supports infotuitive decision-making. Understand in advance what triggers launch what reactions in you when faced with making good decisions. Learn ways that you can return to calm, and take brain breaks to allow all parts of the brain to work together to make decisions,” Row told attendees.

“Everything we talked about here are skills. They take practice. You are always practicing; every minute of every day is practice. It is likely that between today and tomorrow you will encounter a triggering event. You can make the decision to do what you’ve always done, or choose to slow it down and think about it differently. Either way is practice. Are you practicing the behavior that serves you best to make decisions from your gut?”

Row left attendees with one final thought: “A good message to take with you is that a lot of people go through life and don’t take a breath or don’t realize what affects them. You need to breathe. As court reporter you need to stop and do that.”

Attorney James Cool presented a session that discussed how to implement effective programs at the state level by understanding the moral philosophy framework for political persuasion. His presentation was focused on the five oral axes as explained in the book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, written by Jonathan Haidt, which explains how moral underlining philosophies drive our decision-making. The five moral axes that trigger our morality he touched on included:

  • Care/harm
  • Fairness/cheating
  • Loyalty/betrayal
  • Authority/ subversion
  • Sanctity/ degradation

Other sessions presented during boot camp that armed attendees with more insight and skills before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and their staffs on the last day included:

  • “The State of Court Reporting” by NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Matthew Barusch, NCRA State Government Relations Manager
  • “Grassroots Lobbying” by Jacqueline Sly, former state representative for South Dakota
  • “A Lesson on the Importance of Certification” with John Brandon, interim president of the Connecticut Court Reporters Association
  • “Certification: An Important Issue in the States” presented by Barusch and Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA Senior Director of Certification and Education, about why certification is an important issue for the states.

Rob Jones interviewed by NCRA President Chris Willette as Tricia Rosate, RDR, CRR, transcribes and Joe Donahoe videos

Other highlights of the 2018 boot camp experience included traveling into Washington, D.C., to Capitol Hill via the Metro, lunch in the Dirksen Senate Dining Room, and a special wrap-up reception at the Library of Congress in honor of the Veterans History Project (VHP). The reception also included an interview for the VHP by Willette with retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Rob Jones, a double above-the-knee amputee who has been inspiring fellow veterans with his 31 marathons in 31 days in 31 different cities and bike trip across the United States. Jones also holds a Bronze medal in rowing from the U.S. Paralympics. Planet Depos provided their top-notch videography services for the event and captured the entire interview for the National Court Reporters Foundation.

“I really enjoyed the networking sessions. I learned a lot. I liked the in-depth discussions of critical issues. These conversations are important. My biggest takeaway from Boot Camp is that I see there are people in virtually every state that care deeply about our profession and are willing to work together to address these issues,” said Joshua Edwards, RDR, CRR, a captioner from New York, N.Y., and president-elect of the New York State Court Reporters Association.

“You can have a bigger impact working together than alone in many areas. Court reporting and captioning as a field depends on the passion of our members,” he added.


CEO’s Report on spring 2018 NCRA Board Meeting

By Marcia Ferranto

NCRA’s meeting of the Board of Directors last week marked tremendous progress as we work together toward accomplishing the mission of the National Court Reporters Association. Our Board is hard at work moving the vision of the organization forward. I am pleased to share some of the accomplishments of the meeting.

Several NCRA members chose to attend and state their position in person regarding third-party contracting. The session was live captioned for members interested in the topic so they could follow along. After hearing from a professional cross section of our membership, including firm owners, freelancers, state association leaders, attorneys, and leaders from larger multi-service companies, the Board announced NCRA’s official position on the topic:

  1. NCRA’s government relations department will continue to support and assist our affiliated state associations and members in accomplishing their industry-related legislative objectives.
  2. NCRA will continue to offer resources and information to affiliated state associations and members regarding contracting legislation.
  3. NCRA will refrain from providing public testimony.

In new business, the Board and guest members warmly welcomed NCRA’s lobbyist, Erik Olson. Olson described the current political climate and how it is likely to affect outcomes over the coming two years, and how in 2018 we will begin to develop strategy to proactively influence a federal legislative agenda on behalf of court reporters around the nation.

I announced the launch of a quarterly Town Hall for NCRA members as a platform for me to engage directly with members who can call into a live meeting. The NCRA Town Halls will begin in April.

Following the conclusion of the Board meeting, we moved right into the final leg of our three-year strategic planning session. It is 90 percent complete, and I can share with you that the 2019–2021 Strategic Plan will be centered on three critical pillars:

  • Building and operating a sustainable business and financial model.
  • Positioning the profession and association for the future.
  • Increasing demand for NCRA certifications.

The strategic plan will be unveiled in August during the business meeting that will be held in conjunction with the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo in New Orleans.

The NCRA Board meeting last week was my second opportunity as Executive Director and CEO to experience the passion and dedication of this incredible organization. I thank you for your warm welcome and continued support. Working together, the Board of Directors, state leaders, members, and staff will achieve great success through hard work and focused execution as we continue the work of the leaders before us to advance the profession and make NCRA the leading authority on court reporting and captioning.

Marcia Ferranto is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Court Reporters Association.

NCRA announces 2018-2019 slate of nominees

NCRA announced the slate of nominees selected by its Nominating Committee to serve in 2018-2019. The upcoming year includes nominations for president-elect, vice president, secretary- treasurer, and three director seats for a three-year term and one director seat for a two-year term. As the current president-elect, Sue A. Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Springfield, Ohio, automatically ascends to the presidency.

NCRA’s membership will vote on the nominations at the 2018 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 2-5, in New Orleans, La. Additional nominations are possible if received within 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate. The date by which additional nominations must be received is May 5. Please refer to Article VIII, Section 3, of the Constitution and Bylaws for more information.

The slate of officers includes:

  • President-elect: Max Curry, Jr., RPR, CRI, Franklin, Tenn.
  • Vice President: Christine D. Phipps, RPR, North Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah

Nominated to serve director terms are:

Three-year term:

  • Stephen H. Clark, CRC, Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, Shawnee, Kan.
  • Karyn D. Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Nashville, Tenn.

Two-year term:

  • Cathy L. Penniston, RPR, CRI, Ottumwa, Iowa



It’s March madness at NCRA!

In celebration of March madness, NCRA is offering a number of membership and educational opportunities just in time for spring.

Join NCRA or renew your membership by March 31, and you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a free Kindle Fire. Members renewing can do so online, by mail, or by phone.

Membership benefits include access to timely professional news, complimentary listings in the print and online NCRA Sourcebook, and savings on certifications, event registrations, insurance, the NCRA Store, the NCRA Saving Center, and more.

Register now for a new NCRA webinar to be presented by Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, titled “Have Writer Will Travel – The International Experience,” and earn 0.15 CEU. The webinar is being held Thursday, March 15, from 6-7:30 p.m. and is an informative and humor-filled instruction outlining the dynamics of work in the international realm, including job preparation, job execution, the vagaries and challenges of travel, and how reporters get such assignments.

Meadors, from Fort Collins, Colo., is a reporter with 40 years of experience, both in the military and as an official court reporter, freelancer, and CART captioner. He has authored numerous reporting articles and has traveled coast to coast and literally around the world in his reporting career. He has also held various positions in national, state, and user group associations.

Members can also take advantage of NCRA’s 72-hour spring sale on March 20-22. The sale offers the opportunity to purchase a bundle (up to 0.8 CEU) of top-rated e-seminars for only $85.00. Sale hours are from 12:01 a.m. ET on March 20 until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 22. Buyers have 30 days from the date of purchase to view the seminars. Topics range from technology, career growth, tales from the trenches to trial presentation, and more. Be sure to look for an email announcing the sale in your inbox.

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 To access the most current version of the NCRA member logo, visit

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

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 to update your profile by April 15 and be listed in the printed 2018-2019 Sourcebook. Contact with questions.

Changes to NCRA Continuing Education Program rules take effect Oct. 1

Changes to NCRA’s Continuing Education Program rules by the Association’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters (CAPR) will take effect Oct. 1. The changes were made after a several-month review by CAPR to update the current policies and procedures. While many of the sections remain unchanged, the revisions broaden the scope of topics for captioners and encourage all members to obtain preapproval from NCRA or CAPR before they attend seminars with third-party vendors for CEUs.

“CAPR felt strongly that the eligibility of topics for CEUs was geared more towards judicial reporting and not captioning. We reviewed these areas with the idea of broadening the scope in order to include more topics that captioners would come across in their work,” explained CAPR Chair Mary Daniel, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter from Las Vegas, Nev.

“CAPR also wanted to encourage reporters who are relying on approval of CEUs for their certifications to obtain approval from NCRA or CAPR before they attend the seminar. This was due to many last-minute requests for approval. When CAPR denies the CEUs, the reporter is then faced with the dilemma of obtaining CEUs before their cycle expires. Hopefully, the changes in the rules will give reporters and captioners a better sense of what will and will not be accepted for CEUs and the timelines they are facing,” she noted.

The Continuing Education Program Rules apply to both continuing-education activity sponsors seeking preapproval of those activities as well as to individuals seeking to claim CEUs from NCRA for non-preapproved activities. “It is important for CAPR to regularly review the continuing education rules in order to keep current with the needs of our members. This publication and notification is in keeping with our accreditation requirements with the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), which will conduct our five-year recertification visit early next year,” said NCRA Senior Director of Education and Certification Cynthia Bruce Andrews. The revised handbook is available on NCRA’s website. Changes to the rules can be reviewed here and are highlighted in yellow.

The goal of continuing education for NCRA is to equip credential holders with the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a world of ever-changing information and technology. A uniformly applied Continuing Education Program ensures that clients will experience a consistently high level of quality, proficiency, and knowledge among NCRA credential holders. The body of knowledge in the world changes approximately every seven years. In this spiraling explosion of information, NCRA credential holders must keep abreast of new developments or face being left behind. The obvious benefits of continuing education are learning new skills, keeping up with technological advances, and developing new areas of expertise. However, the hidden benefits may be even more valuable — keeping the mind open to new ideas, honing the skills of learning, and developing as a well-rounded professional.

“We want to be sure our members are kept well-apprised of the current status of our Continuing Education Program and the guidelines as recommended by ACCET,” said NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, a firm owner from Wausau, Wis. “We feel more transparent and readily available information will allow members to make informed decisions about earning their CEUs.”

A member’s perspective on why PAC matters

By Shaunise Day

Do you know what PAC is doing for you?

Behind the scenes, the NCRA Political Action Committee (PAC) is working hard on behalf of its members to ensure the future of court reporting and captioning. This means that PAC has a duty to establish relationships with legislators on Capitol Hill. PAC supports candidates who will work in the interest of NCRA’s legislative agenda to benefit the court reporting and captioning fields.

Where would we be without PAC?

Without PAC, our Association would not be able to monitor legislation from state to state that would affect the court reporting and captioning profession. For example, earlier this year, NCRA took a stand with California to oppose bill AB 1631. California AB 1631 would prohibit shorthand reporting services from gift giving for marketing purposes. This bill would also prohibit shorthand reporting services from entering into long-term contracts with attorneys, law firms, or third parties.

NCRA wrote an opinion letter addressing AB 1631 as well as consulted with state leaders and advised them on an advocacy strategy.

Our profession is currently facing key issues that will affect every member’s livelihood and could possibly shape the future of this profession. There is a student shortage, electronic/digital and video recording to eliminate reporters, and not to mention third-party contracting issues. These are just a few issues, but if we stand together, we can make a big difference in our favor.

Let’s take action and advocate together

Every one of us should feel compelled to take action and support PAC. We all have a responsibility to protect the profession. Let’s start now by advocating together. NCRA PAC only survives by the generosity of its members and contributors. Contributions of any size are appreciated. For the complete set of giving guidelines and a contribution form, visit NCRA’s Government Relations page.


Shaunise Day is a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif. She can be reached at

Pay it forward to the next generation by serving on the NCRA Board of Directors

Serving on NCRA’s Board of Directors does take commitment and work, according to current Director R. Max Curry, Jr., RPR, CRI, a firm owner from Franklin, Tenn. But mostly, Curry says, serving is just a way to “pay it forward to the next generation of reporters, all in an effort to continue to make this career all that it can be moving into the future.”

NCRA members interested in paying it forward to the next generation can nominate themselves or recommend someone to serve by submitting their endorsements to by Jan. 19. In addition, anyone interested in seeking future Board service can attend a no-obligation orientation webinar on Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. ET. This webinar will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. For more information about the orientation, contact

“What motivated me to step up to national service on this Board is a deep commitment to giving back to this great profession. I’ve been so truly blessed by my career, and in my view it would be a crime to take and take and take and not continue to give back,” Curry says.

“My greatest benefit professionally has been the new friendships that have developed from my service, not just on the Board but through committee service, as well as state representative visits and meeting reporters in other states around the nation. This all comes down to relationships and connecting with individuals for them to see how hard we’re working for them and for the future of our profession,” he adds.

As for what Curry would say to someone considering serving: “Just do it.”

“We need you, we need fresh ideas, fresh people thinking in ways and about things that we haven’t or that we’ve missed. That’s the greatest dynamic I see with new people coming on the Board or stepping up to committee service work … fresh ideas and fresh, energized approaches. You may have the next big idea that none of us saw or thought of,” Curry says.

For more information about nominating or recommending someone for service on the NCRA Board of Directors, visit As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

Plan ahead for learning opportunities through NCRA


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 for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

Menck appointed to fill vacant Board of Directors seat

NCRA’s Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Karyn Menck, RDR, CRR, CRC, a captioner and agency owner based in Nashville, Tenn., as a Director on the Board. Menck, who’s been an NCRA member since 1985, has served in many capacities for the Tennessee Court Reporters Association, including currently serving on its board. She has also been involved with NCRA committees, including serving as co-chair of the Certified Realtime Captioner Certification Committee. Menck will fill the seat left vacant after Robyn Hennigan, RPR, CRI, resigned earlier this month, and she will serve through the 2018 Convention & Expo in accordance with the Constitution & Bylaws of NCRA. The Nominating Committee will slate a fourth director for a two-year term (to complete the unexpired term of Hennigan) when it announces nominees in 2018.