Aptus court reporting adds new director of business development in the Los Angeles office

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyAptus Court Reporting, San Diego, Calif., announced in a press release issued Dec. 13 that Mary Gagne Caceres has joined the firm as director of business management in its Los Angeles office.

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Get organized – Time saving tips for your firm

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyAn Oct. 25 blog post from Depo International focuses on time-saving tips for business owners, including subtracting rather than adding to the daily to-do list, keeping things simple, and prioritizing.

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From my heart: It is a privilege to serve you!

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyIn a Nov. 28 post on the Paradigm Reporting blog, Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS, reflects on how a trip with fellow firm owner Lisa DiMonte, RDR, CMRS, provided lessons on “overdelivering on high expectations.”

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Stevens-Koenig acquires Carpenter Reporting

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyDenver, Colo.,–based court reporting firm Stevens-Koenig Reporting announced in a press release issued Nov. 27 that it has acquired Carpenter Reporting, a full-service court reporting firm located in the Aurora area.

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Phoenix court reporting firm offers advice to first-time deponents

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyIn a press release issued Nov. 20, Marty Herder, president of Herder and Associates, Phoenix, Ariz., offered advice to first-time deponents and the counsel that calls them. This advice included letting the witness know to only answer what they are asked.

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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 download the registration form and register by phone or mail. In addition, 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.

Aptus Court Reporting expands Bay Area team with two new directors

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyIn a press release issued Nov. 5, Aptus Court Reporting announced the addition of industry veterans Brandon Wai and Marika Pickles as directors of business development for the company’s San Francisco, Calif., office.

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Members give back: Firm owner builds trust with displaced children through charity project

Lori S. Warren, RPR, started a charity project called My Guardian Angel in 2015, the same year she founded her firm, Alabama Court Reporting, Inc. When she started her firm, she knew that she wanted to give back to the community. “While there are many organizations you can give to monetarily, I wanted a project that would bring people together,” Warren says. “I believe that in order to have change, you have to create it.”

The JCR Weekly contacted Warren to hear more about My Guardian Angel.

© U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose

What inspired you to get involved in this charity?

Before starting My Guardian Angel, I attended a class on forming 501c(3)s. I left that seminar with a new appreciation for the time that would be involved to make a 501c(3) successful. However, it was going to require way more time than I had to give since I had also just started a new firm.

I read somewhere online about an organization in California that donates duffel bags to foster children for them to use when they are transitioning from home to home. While the idea was truly a niche charity, it was meeting a need that many did not know existed. I was intrigued.

At the same time, the events of Ferguson, Mo., were going on. My heart was heavy for kids who grow up in an environment where police officers are feared instead of being looked at as a protector. When I was growing up, we were taught to run towards the police (safety), not away from them. I surmised that in order for that to change, kids needed a reason to perceive law enforcement differently.

After melding these ideas together, My Guardian Angel was formed. My Guardian Angel gives backpacks to law enforcement agencies to give to children in unfortunate situations, thereby creating a bridge, planting a positive seed. Those circumstances may range from being removed from their home in a domestic situation or a situation where the caregiver or parent is arrested for drugs. These children, many times, do not have suitcases of their own, and their personal belongings have to be put in a trash bag. These officers are sometimes called “first responders.” They are on the front lines. These officers wait with the child until someone from the Department of Human Resources shows up.

In other instances, an officer may need to gather a child’s belongings from a car accident scene, and they have nothing to put the child’s things in other than a trash bag. Our backpacks (along with a toothbrush and toothpaste) are given to law enforcement agencies to keep in the trunks of their cars for just such occasions.

While a simple backpack with an angel’s wings and the words “My Guardian Angel” certainly can’t remediate the child’s problems, it gives the officer an opportunity to create a positive memory. They have something tangible to give the child, and it gives the agent an opportunity to share with the child that they are there to help. The child may never know who Alabama Court Reporting, Inc., is nor the officer that they encountered who gave them the backpack, but our prayer is that it will help that child, if only for that one moment in time, see that officer as their guardian angel. If we achieve that, then we have been successful.

Have you received any comments back about your project?

Yes! We have had people call and want to help us buy backpacks! In giving to different agencies across the state of Alabama, we have had people call from those communities wanting to help. Giving inspires someone else to give, and it is the coolest thing to see. In other instances, we have delivered backpacks to agencies only to have them ask: “How much is this going to cost us?” And other times we have had them ask: “Why are you doing this?” This gives us an awesome opportunity to explain our desire to change the perception of their community of law enforcement.

What would you tell other people about giving back?

Figure out what inspires you and give to that. Start small. Just because you can’t matter to many doesn’t mean you can’t matter to one. Let your life start being one big random act of kindness. Giving back doesn’t always mean giving monetarily. Do what you can, where you are, and build on that. We can change the world we live in; it just has to start with us!

2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference keynote to focus on achieving business excellence

John Spence will present the keynote at the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference

Participants in the 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference will gain an inside track into the thinking of John Spence, one of the top 100 business thought leaders in the nation. Spence will take the podium as keynote speaker and share his insights into achieving business excellence.

The 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference takes place Jan. 28-30 at the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, Fla. Members are urged to register for the conference soon to take advantage of a discounted rate being offered through Dec. 15. Rates for the conference registration will increase by $100 beginning Dec. 16. Special hotel rates for the event will expire on Jan. 5, 2018.

In addition to the keynote, Spence will present his most intensive business improvement workshop. This workshop is specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their business to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are and then create a focused plan for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace. Participants will leave his session with a much improved understanding of their business as well as a plan of specific action steps that address what needs to be done immediately to improve their organization’s revenues, market share, and profitability.

Key elements Spence will address include:

  • an understanding of the importance of creating a clear vision and a focused strategy
  • numerous benchmarking audits against top companies
  • an understanding of the four primary and four secondary drivers of business excellence
  • an examination of the importance of mastering the organization’s “moments of truth”
  • the discovery of why it is critical to own the customer’s voice
  • an in-depth look at how organizations create effective strategies
  • an examination of the nine steps to effective execution
  • the discovery of how to greatly increase accountability across the organization

For more than 22 years, Spence has traveled worldwide to help people and businesses be more successful. He is the author of five books and co-author of several more, a business consultant, workshop facilitator, and executive coach with a client list that includes numerous Fortune 500 firms, small to medium-sized businesses, professional associations, and other organizations. His areas of expertise include leadership, high-performance teams, managing change, organizational culture, consultative selling, strategic planning, strategy execution, and the future of business.

At 26 years old, Spence was the CEO of an international Rockefeller foundation, overseeing projects in 20 countries. Just two years later, Inc. Magazine named him one of America’s Up and Coming Young Business Leaders. He has also been recognized as one of the Top 100 Small Business Influencers in America, one of the Top 50 Small Business Experts in America, and one of the top 500 Leadership Development Experts in the World. In addition, the American Management Association named him one of America’s Top 50 Leaders to Watch. He has been a guest lecturer at more than 90 colleges and universities, including MIT, Stanford, Cornell, and the Wharton School of Business.

“The Firm Owners Executive Conference is designed to help you grow your business. The topics this year address the new challenges we’re all facing with a head-on approach with frank discussion on how to embrace the changes so that we are not left behind. By the end of the conference, you will return home with a renewed strength and business strategy for 2018. You will be more aware of the changes in technology and how they will impact law firms, corporations, insurance companies, and legal support services, with an emphasis on court reporters,” said Christa Walton, CMRS, CEO of Florida-based Orange Legal, who has attended numerous Firm Owner events.

“When our firm was smaller, the benefit was attending the classes and learning from the speakers. Now that our firm has grown and we know more, the biggest benefit of attending is getting the opportunity to network and spend time with great friends. Most of the time, at one point during the event, the owner and I will look at each other and say, ‘That just paid for the entire conference,’ whether it be getting the opportunity to speak with a firm owner who needs help in our area or just hearing how another agency does something we’ve been struggling with,” she added.

In addition to enjoying ample networking receptions and opportunities, participants in the 2018 event can expect to connect, learn, and get energized through a number of insightful educational sessions.

Among the guest speakers on the bill this year will be Steve Scott, SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy. 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.

Since August 2006, Scott has worked with individuals and corporate clients to use internet-marketing strategies like SEO, local search, social media, pay-per-click, and more. His clients have included IBM, American Express, Reader’s Digest, and Revlon.

“During my career, I’ve developed websites and search engine optimization programs for clients, both large and small. Helping business owners worldwide create a powerful online presence for their brands is my life’s work,” Scott said. “As an SEO industry veteran with a history in computer training dating back to 1990, I’ve trained and consulted with Fortune 1000 companies and have logged nearly 4,000+ hours in a hands-on training environment.”

For more information and to register for the host hotel and conference, visit NCRA.org/FirmOwners.

Court reporting firm Depo International gives back during breast cancer awareness month

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyIn a press release issued Oct.31, Depo International, Las Vegas, Nev., announced that it is donating $5 to the Komen Foundation for every deposition booked in October. A representative for the women-owned firm noted that the company is acutely aware of the impact breast cancer can have on a woman’s life, her family, her workplace, and her community.

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