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 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.

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 shauniseday@gmail.com.

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 boardnominations@ncra.org 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 lbutler@ncra.org.

“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 NCRA.org. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

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.

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.

Nominations for NCRA Board of Directors sought

Serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting and captioning professions. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

“Clearly the greatest benefit of serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is the personal satisfaction that you are giving back to a profession that has provided us a rewarding lifetime career,” said Debra Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Woodland, Utah, and NCRA’s Secretary-Treasurer.

“Serving on the NCRA Board provides an unequaled opportunity to be instrumental in protecting, developing, and shaping the future of our beloved profession. The NCRA Board creates an environment for personal development and growth through opportunities to both teach and learn, instruct and listen, grow individually while building others, and protecting the past while creating the future. The value cannot be measured nor calculated,” Dibble added.

Nominations and recommendations can be submitted to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 19, 2018. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

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 lbutler@ncra.org.

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.”

2018 nominations sought; deadlines near

Nominations are now being accepted for the Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters, the NCRA Board of Directors, and the Distinguished Service Award. Now is the perfect time to step up and nominate yourself or a colleague to serve or be recognized for his or her commitment to the profession and to NCRA.

Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters

Members of the 2017 class of Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters was recognized at the 2017 Convention & Expo. Nominations for 2018 Fellows are due Dec. 31.

NCRA’s Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters is seeking nominations for its Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR). The deadline to nominate a candidate is Dec. 31.

Membership in the Academy symbolizes excellence among NCRA members. The designation of FAPR represents an individual’s dedication to the court reporting and captioning professions and expresses the highest level of professional ethics. Candidates must have been actively reporting for at least 10 years and have attained distinction as measured by performance. This performance could include publication of important papers, creative contributions, service on committees or boards, teaching, and more.

“It is an honor to carry the distinction as a Fellow in my profession’s national association. Much of the time and energy devoted to my beloved profession and association has been behind the scenes; when I learned I had been awarded the Fellow, it let me know that my hard work and dedication had been not only noticed but appreciated,” said Sarah Nageotte, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio. Nageotte was inducted as a Fellow in 2017.

“There’s a quote that says, ‘Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.’ Taking the time to recognize a colleague through a nomination is one way to say thank you for always giving for the betterment of all. If you don’t nominate someone deserving, who will?” added Nageotte, who is also an NCRA Past President.

To nominate an individual, view the full criteria and download a nomination form at NCRA.org/Fellows. For more information, contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.

Board of Directors

Serving on the Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting profession. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

The 2017-2018 NCRA Board of Directors

“After serving on NCRA committees and task forces, observing and respecting NCRA’s leaders, as well as holding several offices with my state association, I decided to challenge myself and seek a position on NCRA’s Board,” said R. Douglas Friend, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter an agency owner from Vancouver, Wash., and a Past President of NCRA.

“A joy of serving on the NCRA Board is attending state conventions and making presentations. Besides meeting reporters who became friends around North America, I also gathered confidence in public speaking. As a firm owner, this helped in speaking to groups of attorneys, legal assistants, and paralegals,” added Friend.

Nominations and recommendations can be submitted to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 19, 2018. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

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 lbutler@ncra.org.

Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Varallo recognized with NCRA Distinguished Service Award

Nancy Varallo recognized with the 2017 NCRA Distinguished Service Award

NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award is often viewed as the pinnacle of a member’s career. It recognizes the distinguished work and service by an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting profession, including service to NCRA as a member, a committee member, a director, or an officer of the Association. Other displays of distinguished work include 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.

“In 2015, at the NCRA Convention & Expo in New York City, I was humbled that I had been nominated and had been chosen to receive the DSA,” said Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, a freelancer and firm owner from Lotus, Calif.

“This award was such an honor, and I will always remember the ceremony and the many emotions that passed over me when my name was called. I tell you this because I want each of you to take the time to reflect upon what this award means to the recipient. Nominate a person you consider worthy, and be proud that you have been a part of the process,” she 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., 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.