JCR Award for Deanna P. Baker, RMR

Service in a nonlegal setting

Deanna P. Baker, RMR, of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Deanna P. Baker, RMR, of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Deanna P. Baker, RMR
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Broadcast captioner Deanna P. Baker, RMR, worked with the World Institute on Disabilities, which is a leading force in 2016’s groundbreaking Conference Accessibility Initiative. For this effort, WID, in partnership with JPMorgan Chase & Co., strives to make community development and policy conferences more accessible to, and inclusive of, people with disabilities. At all 11 conferences, Baker and WID employees have introduced captioning remotely using 1Fuzion, a new technology by 1CapApp, that mimics the look of an encoder but is strictly Web based and can easily be configured in many different ways by the conference coordinator.

Before each of these conferences, Baker and WID would teleconference in the AV teams and conference coordinators to test out the technology to ensure everyone had a good grasp of how everything would work. At every conference, WID employees were onsite answering questions and receiving words of appreciation. Many expressed amazement that the captions were created by a “real” human being! Some participants took WID’s information and passed it along to other conferences they attend and requested captioning be made available there. Due to Baker’s collaboration with WID, thousands of people experienced open captioning for the first time this past year.

JCR Award for Doreen Sutton, RPR

Doreen Sutton, RPR, explains the letters of the alphabet during an A to Z training session.

Doreen Sutton, RPR, explains the letters of the alphabet during an A to Z training session.

Individual member of the year

Doreen Sutton, RPR
Scottsdale, Ariz.
Categories recognized:
Community outreach
Leadership, team-building, mentoring
Promoting the profession

In February 2016, Doreen Sutton, a freelancer and firm owner in Arizona, reached out to her local community by planning and conducting the NCRA’s A to Z program, at the time available through a colleague Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, of Worcester, Mass. Sutton offered this introductory program free of charge for people who were interested in exploring court reporting as a profession. (The A to Z program is a series of lessons by which people can learn the letters of the alphabet on a shorthand keyboard and thereby determine further interest as well as basic aptitude with the steno machine. The A to Z is now part of NCRA’s DiscoverSteno series.) Sutton conducted the program herself over eight weeks and inspired several other reporters throughout the country to offer the program.

“Half of those who enrolled in her program have gone on to enroll in court reporting school, and she has a wait list for her next program,” wrote Varallo in her nomination, noting that Sutton’s assistance built national recognition for the budding program. She also quoted Sutton on the importance of building the next generation of court reporters: “Getting young professionals into this profession is job number one. I have taught, I have mentored, it is part of what I do every day. To be deeply involved in our future generation of reporters, providing guidance and encouragement, and to see their progress and become professionals is the best legacy I can leave.”

In addition, Sutton has run an RPR Boot Camp in Arizona. The RPR Boot Camp helps court reporting students who are nearing graduation and recent graduates prepare for exams. Her encouragement and support has helped many people take those first steps into a fulfilling career.

“She has mentored numerous students since 2010 by providing them with hands-on guidance to help bridge the gap from graduation to obtaining their RPR,” wrote Jen Schuck, RDR, CRR, CRC, Scottsdale, Ariz., one of the many who nominated Sutton for recognition. Sutton has also been deeply involved with her state association. She has spearheaded activities on behalf of the Arizona Court Reporters Association that have included hosting a booth at the guidance counselors’ convention, where she provided promotional materials on court reporting as a profession for high school students.

NCRA announces nominees for 2017 JCR Awards

JCRawardsNCRA has announced the JCR Award nominees for 2017. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

The awards were conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members. Nominations overall were reviewed for components that included compelling stories that bring to life innovative, successful business strategies used to help overcome obstacles that have hindered professional growth. A new category was introduced for 2017 that recognized efforts associated with NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Awards will be given in the following categories: marketing and consumer service, leadership and team-building, use of technology, community outreach, and service in a nonlegal setting. Both individuals and organizations could be nominated. In addition to nominations for categories listed above, a firm or an individual who has displayed excellence in more than one category will be honored with an overall “best of the year” award.

Nominees for the 2017 JCR Awards are as follows:

Leadership, teambuilding, and mentoring:

  • Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, Portland, Ore.
  • Karen Ruud, CRI, Madison, Wis.
  • Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, San Antonio, Texas

This category focuses on those who have created programs that encouraged others to build skills or work together to complete a project. Providing a realtime program for employees to better place a firm as a realtime leader or a court reporting program that aids students in creating connections within a broader court reporting and captioning community would be two examples.

Use of technology: 

  • Jen Krueger, RMR, CRI, CPE, Parma, Ohio
  • Jay Vettickal, CRI, Hobart, Ind.

This category highlights innovative thinking by members who use technology to better market their skills or were able to effectively and efficiently use technology to create a better product for a client. For instance, an effective public relations plan using social media or the effective use of technology in the courthouse would fit this category.

Community outreach:

  • Aimee Goldberg, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.

This category offers members the chance to show their philanthropic work. Two examples include organizing a Veterans History Project Day or raising money for a charity.

Service in a nonlegal setting: 

  • Deanna Baker, RMR, Flagstaff, Ariz.

This category offers NCRA members the chance to offer best practices for a nonlegal setting, including remote CART, captioning, or another new initiative.

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (2016) initiative:

  • Cuyahoga Community College Captioning and Court Reporting Program, Parma, Ohio
  • Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, San Antonio, Texas

This category includes any event, promotion, or other activity that occurred during or in conjunction with NCRA’s 2016 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Feb. 14-20.

NCRA wishes each of the nominees the best of luck and thanks them or their nominators for their participation in the 2017 JCR Awards.

Recognize innovative business strategies with the JCR Awards

JCR Awards - TheJCR comThe JCR Awards are a way to tell compelling stories that bring to life innovative and successful business strategies from the past year. Originally conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members, the JCR Awards seek nominations for several subcategories, such as best-in-class stories for: Marketing and customer service; Leadership, teambuilding, and mentoring; Use of technology; Community outreach; Service in a nonlegal setting; and Court Reporting & Captioning Week (2016) initiative. In addition, NCRA is looking for a firm and an individual who show excellence in more than one category for an overall “Best of the Year” award.

Any current NCRA member in good standing, with the exception of students, may be nominated for these awards. Court reporters, captioners, videographers, scopists, teachers and school administrators, and court reporting managers are all eligible for nomination. Nominate a noteworthy court reporter, captioner, videographer, scopist, teacher, school administrator, or court reporting manager or a group, such as firms, courthouses, or court reporting programs. Self-nominations are accepted. More information about specific criteria for each of the categories is available on the JCR Awards Entry Form.

To enter, submit a written entry to the JCR between 300 and 1,000 words explaining the strategies implemented and why they were successful. Ancillary materials, such as photos, may also be submitted with the nomination. Nominations will be considered based on the best fact-based story. Please be prepared to offer documentation, verifiable sources, or other assistance as needed to be considered for these awards. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

Nominations are due by Oct. 31Read more about the JCR Awards.

See last year’s winners. 

JCR Awards nominations open through Oct. 31

Nominate yourself or a noteworthy court reporter, captioner, videographer, scopist, teacher, school administrator, or court reporting manager for recognition through the JCR Awards. Conceived as a way to recognize and highlight the exemplary professionalism, community service, and business practices of NCRA members, the JCR Awards is a way to tell compelling stories that bring to life innovative and successful business strategies from the past year. In addition to nominations for several subcategories, NCRA is looking for a firm and an individual who show excellence in more than one category for an overall “Best of the Year” award.

Any current NCRA member in good standing, with the exception of students, may be nominated for these awards. Court reporters, captioners, videographers, scopists, teachers and school administrators, and court reporting managers are all eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are accepted. Firms, courthouses, or court reporting programs may be nominated as a group as long as they meet the criteria for membership for one of the definitions in the JCR Awards Entry Form.

To nominate yourself or someone else, submit a written entry to the JCR between 300 and 1,000 words explaining the strategies you implemented and why they were successful. Ancillary materials, such as photos, may also be submitted with the nomination. Nominations will be considered by the JCR editorial team based on the best fact-based story. Please be prepared to offer documentation, verifiable sources, or other assistance as needed to be considered for these awards. The stories of the finalists will be published as featured articles in the March JCR.

Nominations are due by Oct. 31. Read more about the JCR Awards.

Announcing the winners of the JCR Awards

The JCR Awards were created as a way to highlight the innovative and forward-thinking practices of NCRA members and to recognize how court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers are leading the profession.

These individuals and organizations are being recognized as being the best-in-class for the noted categories.

Wendy Evangelista, Claudia Booton, Judy Stevens, Rachel Fox and Chandra Monis.

From left to right: Wendy Evangelista, Claudia Booton (sitting), Judy Stevens, Rachel Fox, and Chandra Monis.

Leadership and team-building

Judy Stevens, RPR, CMRS, CPE

Lakewood, Colo.

Judy Stevens, who owns Stevens-Koenig Reporting, was nominated by several reporters and staff members, who shared stories of her leadership and drive. “I’m one of four reporters who are tag-teaming an unusual trial case. Judy’s help in guiding me through what is outside of my comfort zone is quite reassuring,” wrote Becky Collings, RPR. “I recently passed the Colorado Realtime Certification test, and Judy is getting me ready to start that next journey of my career.” Several of the nominations also spoke about the meetings, often held at her home, where reporters can get together to socialize and ex- change steno briefs. Stevens has also brought in realtime trainers or motivational speakers for her staff and reporters for these gatherings, which have built a strong support network for everyone.

Debbie Weaver receiving the 2015 Spirit of Justice Award

Debbie Weaver receiving the 2015 Spirit of Justice Award

Community outreach

Midwest Litigation Services

St. Louis, Mo.

Debbie Weaver of Midwest Litigation Services has been actively involved in supporting equal access to justice through a number of pro bono organizations in St. Louis. One of the organizations the company supports is Let’s Start, a program dedicated to assisting women and their children in the transition from prison life to society. The company supports this group by volunteering at annual fundraisers and supplying packed lunches for a bus ride to take the children to the local prison to visit their mothers. In addition, the company has participated with the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis in Read Across America, a literacy program; Motion for Kids, a party thrown for children who have parents affected by the criminal justice system; and other events.

White Coat Captioning screen from !!Con  2015.

White Coat Captioning screen from !!Con 2015.

Service in a nonlegal setting

White Coat Captioning

Saint Albans, Vt.

White Coat Captioning has been expanding its business to captioning several technical conferences, including a last-minute conference where the company replaced a group that was providing “nonsensical captions.” “People were very unhappy with the captions,” wrote Mirabai

Knight, RDR, CRR, CRC, who nominated the company (for which she works). Knight said that the company was able to completely turn around the comments. “As soon as we came on board, the entire social media reception to the captioning had completely changed. People started talking about how helpful the captions were and how impressed they were with the quality and accuracy of the captions, even saying that they wanted captioning at all their conferences in the future! It was a total reversal of the previous reception.”

Knight went on to explain that the company has been focused on the conference captioning work because it hopes to change the status quo, where the only way to get captioning was for a person who was deaf or hard of hearing to invoke their ADA rights. “One in seven people has hearing loss,” notes Knight, “so in an audience of 100 people, at least 14 will benefit from captioning.” White Coat Captioning seeks to make captioned conferences the new standard for conferences.

Christine Phipps caught in a relaxed moment during the workday.

Christine Phipps caught in a relaxed moment during the workday.

Individual member

Christine Phipps, RDR

North Palm Beach, Fla.

Categories recognized: Leadership and team-building, marketing and customer service, use of technology, community outreach

Dedicated. Hard-working. Determined. Tech- savvy. These are the words used to describe Christine Phipps by those who nominated her. “Christine Phipps is the type of person who will go out of her way,” wrote Jacqueline Andujar in her nomination. It was what inspired Andujar to go into business with Phipps, back when the company was run out of a bedroom in Phipps’ house. “Christine’s main goal is always to make her clients happy. She takes the time to listen and care.”

“Her passion is so contagious!” wrote Sherry Laurino in her nomination of Phipps. Laurino went on to say that it was Phipps who inspired her own entrepreneurial skills. “No one has more passion and love for court reporting and is committed to the growth and longevity of this industry,” Laurino said.

When she is preparing to meet a new client and show what her company has to offer, Phipps will go above and beyond to make sure the client understands and is satisfied. Even with other reporters, Phipps takes the time to update them with anything new and explains it. In addition, she has taken the time to write several articles on technology for the profession to make sure that everyone is aware of the latest trends and news.

“She is dedicated to teaching while not forgetting where she came from,” wrote Laurino. One of Phipps’ passions has been to help students of the profession and new profession. She led a charge to provide a number of students with memberships to NCRA in 2015 with posts about “Paying it forward” to the next generation, as well as donating several of the memberships herself.

“As her employee now, I have nothing but admiration and respect for her. She has been nothing but supportive, respectful, loyal, open-minded, and just an amazing person to work for,” said Andujar.

Honorable mentions

The Varallo Group

Worcester, Mass.

Categories recognized: Leadership and team-building

During 2015, the Varallo Group offered its employees a fitness program, which gave them the opportunity to establish health goals and meet and work with a personal trainer. The program was a huge success and produced immediate results that were clearly measurable, including weight loss and decreased absenteeism. An added benefit was that the employees grew closer through their shared experiences; for example, several employees ran together in their first-ever 5k race.

Cuyahoga Community College

Cuyahoga, Ohio

Categories recognized: Use of technology

The nomination for Cuyahoga Community College noted its use of technology to enhance students’ academic success, realtime writing achievement, and program satisfaction. From attending an introductory webinar before deciding to sign up for the program to its Blackboard Learning Management System, from using computer-compatible steno machines from the first day of class to accessing drills through Realtime Coach, the court reporting and captioning program uses technology to increase student satisfaction and eventual success.

Paradigm Reporting & Captioning

Minneapolis, Minn.

Categories recognized: Community outreach

Paradigm Reporting & Captioning donates to many local organizations, particularly legal associations and nonprofits that support the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The Paradigm CART Captioning division provides many hours of pro bono services, including, in September, the captioning for the local Walk4Hearing that benefited the Hearing Loss Association of America. In addition, the company assembled 22 walkers to participate as “Team Paradigm.”

Caption First

Monument, Colo.

Categories recognized: Service in a nonlegal setting

Caption First, a company that offers remote and on-site captioning in a secure environment, established a call center that would offer stenographic relay services to people with hearing loss. The company used this as both a way to hire new stenographic professionals to hone their skills and a way to demonstrate stenographic skills to a broad audience. “It was a ‘court reporting continuum’ as it allowed new folks to work and provided relief to those who are winding down and don’t want to produce transcripts,” wrote Lesia Mervin, RMR, CRR, in her nomination. “And it, of course, highlighted realtime skills — always realtime skills.”

Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio

Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio

Schools: Leadership and team-building

Kelly Moranz, CRI

Cleveland, Ohio

At the Cuyahoga Community College in Parma, Ohio, Kelly Moranz spearheaded a mentoring program among all of the students, as well as with professionals. In addition, Moranz has supported the students in creating a new Captioning & Court Reporting Club. The club organized a Write-A-Thon (where all students had sponsors donate money as they wrote for five hours) and a bake sale. As Kristina Carmody wrote in her nomination, Moranz “generously donated and contributed time, money, and service to our fundraiser and even stayed the entire time and helped sell the baked goods while we wrote.”

Moranz is also in charge of recruiting new students for the program. Among the places that the school presents is a program called Women in Transition, which addresses women changing occupations or getting second careers later in life.

Dr. Mary Entz, Provost, DMACC-Newton holds a press conference to announce new court reporting program

Dr. Mary Entz, Provost, DMACC-Newton holds a press conference to announce new court reporting program

Special collaboration

DMACC and the Iowa Court Reporters Association

When Iowa court reporters received the news that AIB College of Business, which had been in place since the 1930s, would phase out the court reporting and captioning programs, the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA) immediately went to work. The ICRA Board of Directors engaged Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, to investigate the matter, compile a report on successful court reporting schools throughout the country, and suggest a school in Iowa that could teach court reporting.

Penniston recommended contacting Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), a well-established Iowa community college, to determine if it could create a court reporting program. When Stephanie Early, RDR, ICRA’s president at the time, and Bill Wimmer, its legislative representative, approached the school’s officials, they assured the school that ICRA was fully committed to assisting with the implementation of a court reporting program at DMACC.

DMACC's 2015 incoming theory students

DMACC’s 2015 incoming theory students

The DMACC school was interested in the concept and contacted other community colleges that offered court reporting programs. They also gathered more information about the curriculum and endorsements that would be needed to put such a program in place. In February 2014, the DMACC Board of Directors and the Iowa Department of Education approved the court reporting program. Then, in March, the DMACC Newton campus hosted a press conference to make the announcement about the new program: “DMACC has been working with the Iowa Court Reporters Association for more than a year to develop the curriculum, hire the faculty, and work out other details related to starting a new program.”

In 2014, Dr. Patricia Ziegler, CRI, CPE, was hired as a professor and program chair for DMACC’s new court reporting program, and in September of that year, eight students began classes at the Newton campus.

Through 2014-15, Iowa court reporters and AIB’s former vice president of admissions actively promoted the new program. More than 300 visits were made to Iowa high schools, career fairs, libraries, mock trials, and the Iowa State Fair. Through the Adopt-a- County project, Iowa court reporters marketed the profession and this new program in 26 of 99 Iowa counties. In addition, ICRA sponsored a student scholarship, and individual ICRA members mentored individual students. And in September 2015, a new class of 27 students enrolled.

The program is a success story stemming from the commitment and dedication of many, from the Iowa Court Reporters Association to the new DMACC court reporting program staff. As Penniston wrote in her nomination, “Because of the efforts of the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the hard work of everyone involved, court reporting education is alive and well in Iowa!”

Next JCR Awards

DMACC court reporting program nominated for several awards

The Newton Daily News reported on March 3 that the Realtime Court Reporting Program at Des Moines Area Community College Newton Campus, Newton, Iowa, has been nominated for several awards by the Journal of Court Reporting. “We are honored to be recognized by our peers at the NCRA. This award demonstrates the vision and collaboration of DMACC administration and the Iowa Court Reporters Association to keep court reporting education alive in Iowa,” said Dr. Patti Ziegler, the chair of the court reporting program at DMACC.

Read more.