8 questions for the winner of the Kindle Fire 8

Amanda Marvin, RPR, CRC, from Tomahawk, Wis., won the drawing for a Kindle Fire 8 by renewing her membership in October. A new professional, Marvin graduated from court reporting school in 2015 and has been working as a captioner for nine months, currently doing remote CART work “for several different college classes including biology, statistics, psychology, criminal justice, and commercial irrigation.”

“CART captioning was always my ultimate goal, and I am so happy that with the help of the Certified Realtime Captioner certification, I was able to start my career helping others and doing what I wanted to do,” she says. “I continue my membership in NCRA because it has given me a big advantage in employment for companies who hire captioners. They consider the certification as a standard of professionalism and proof of the skills needed to do a quality job.”

The JCR reached out to Marvin with eight questions to get to know her a little better.

  1. What is your favorite thing about doing remote captioning?

My favorite thing about doing remote captioning is the fact that I can stay at home and have a flexible schedule that allows me to get my kids to school and their after-school activities.

  1. What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned while captioning for college classes?

I have learned that there are an enormous amount of biology terms that can be pronounced several different ways. I learn something new in that class every single day.

  1. What is your most memorable moment from court reporting school?

My most memorable moment from court reporting school was probably when I passed my first 225 test. School was a long, hard road, and that was a very exhilarating experience.

  1. What was the biggest challenge you’ve overcome so far as a working professional, and how did you do so?

One of my biggest challenges is numbers and fingerspelling. Practicing, along with writing a statistics course and fingerspelling pop-up biology terms, has made me a better overall writer.

  1. What do you always include in your “elevator pitch” when you tell people what you do for a living?

I tell them I do CART, which most people aren’t familiar with. So then I tell them that it’s captioning what the professor says for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I also make sure to tell them how there are many more people needed in the field, so if they know anyone who may be interested to let them know about it.

  1. What is your favorite benefit of being an NCRA member?

My favorite benefit of being an NCRA member is reading JCRs and the great wealth of information that is included in them as well as being able to list my certifications on my résumé.

  1. Before I became one, I never knew that captioners …

… had to put so much research and prep into doing a good job.

  1. What is your dream reporting or captioning assignment?

I would love to caption somewhere locally so people can see and understand what I do for a living.

 

Haven’t renewed yet? Members can take advantage of Black Friday discounts and giveaways, including purchase of membership renewals. Mark your calendars for Nov. 24.

NCRA Saving Center adds new benefits

NCRA’s Saving Center has expanded to include new personal benefits in addition to the current business discounts. The new benefits have been automatically added to NCRA’s program and will be featured on the Saving Center soon. New benefits include:

  • Savings up to 60 percent on tickets to top attractions, theme parks, shows, sporting events, movies, and more as well as discounts on dining and hotels
  • A downloadable RX discount card that can save users up to 75 percent on prescription drugs not covered by insurance; the card is accepted at more than 68,000 pharmacies nationwide and covers the cardholder, family members, and pets
  • Free membership in the Rewards Mall that offers cash back on online purchases from more than 1,200 stores along with stack coupons and store offers
  • Discounts on car rentals from Avis and Budget, including waived additional driver fees, airport surcharges, and late fees as well as Avis Preferred and Budget Fastbreak services for counter by-pass amenities

NCRA members can sign up for the Saving Center for free and save on an array of products and services provided by nationally recognized vendors. The Saving Center is administered by Windfall Savings.

To learn more about what the Saving Center offers NCRA members or to sign up, go to NCRA.SavingCenter.net. Alternately, contact the Windfall Savings member care team at 888-868-4030 or membercare@savingcenter.net.

New benefits for NCRA members now available

Photo by epSos .de

Photo by epSos .de

NCRA members are invited to take advantage of new benefits designed to save them money on a variety of products and services. These benefits are through the Association’s long-time partnership with Mercer and new participation in Windfall Savings’ Saving Center.

Mercer Health & Benefits Administration is now offering affordable cyber liability insurance through Edgewater Holdings. The insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and third-party lawsuits due to loss of privacy. Mercer has provided NCRA members with customized insurance plans for 50 years.

The latest benefit for NCRA members is a new Saving Center, administered by Windfall Savings. The Saving Center includes 16 suppliers such as Office Depot, FedEx, payroll services, and more. There is no cost for NCRA members to sign up.

NCRA members can easily buy in-store or online from Office Depot by using a personalized purchase card. Discounts include:

  • up to 80 percent off Office Depot’s business-select catalog
  • 15 percent off retail Web prices on 3,000 of its most popular products
  • additional savings on 93,000 products discounted below retail cost

Other Office Depot products and services include emailed monthly specials, access to coupons online, and discounts on photocopy services.

The Saving Center also includes FedEx services, such as:

  • ground parcel service with no minimum shipping requirements
  • up to 54 percent off the list rate on select priority overnight and standard overnight deliveries within the United States

Other discounts are also available on the Express Saver, select ground services, and international services offered by FedEx.

The Saving Center also includes USPAY, which provides credit card processing services, software, and equipment; Hotel Engine, which provides savings on more than 40,000 hotels worldwide with rates not available to the public; and more:

  • ADP payroll services
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • WellCloudMD
  • com
  • YRC freight shipping services
  • Merchology
  • EarthLink
  • CDW computers, components, software, and electronics
  • Backblaze
  • Transworld collection services
  • 4imprint
  • Lifelock identity theft protection services

To learn more about what the Saving Center offers NCRA members or to register to sign up, go to NCRA.SavingCenter.net. Alternately, contact the Windfall Savings member care team at 888-868-4030 or membercare@savingcenter.net.

NCRA announces new benefits for members

computer keyboard

Photo by: Anonymous Account

2017 is an exciting time to be a member of NCRA. The Association has announced a plethora of new benefits designed to save members money on a variety of products and services through a long-time partnership with Mercer and a newly established relationship with Windfall Savings.

As of Jan. 1, 2017, Mercer Health & Benefits Administration will offer cyber liability insurance through Edgewater Holdings. The insurance is designed to mitigate losses from a variety of cyber incidents, including data breaches, network damage, and third-party lawsuits due to loss of privacy. Mercer has provided NCRA members with customized insurance plans for 50 years.

Also new to the member benefits basket beginning Jan. 1 is access to savings on dozens of products and services through a new partnership between NCRA and Windfall Savings. Windfall is one program that administers discounts for 16 suppliers with no cost to sign up.

NCRA members can easily buy in-store or online from Office Depot by using a personalized purchase card provided by Windfall Savings. Discounts include:

  • up to 80 percent off Office Depot’s business select catalog
  • 15 percent off retail Web prices on 3,000 of its most popular products
  • additional savings on 93,000 products discounted below retail cost

Other Office Depot products and services include emailed monthly specials, access to coupons online, and discounts on photocopy services.

“There is nothing more valuable than the benefits a professional organization can provide its members,” said NCRA’s Executive Director and CEO Mike Nelson, CAE. “NCRA’s new partnership with Windfall Savings and the addition of cyber insurance through Mercer reflects the Association’s strong commitment to helping its members grow their businesses, and we are excited about the savings that both of these companies offer.”

The Windfall Savings partnership also includes savings on FedEx services, including:

  • ground parcel service with no minimum shipping requirements
  • up to 54 percent off the list rate on select priority overnight and standard overnight deliveries within the United States

Other discounts are also available on the Express Saver, select ground services, and international services offered by FedEx.

The Windfall Savings partnership with NCRA also includes USPAY, which provides credit card processing services, software, and equipment; Hotel Engine, which provides savings on more than 40,000 hotels worldwide with rates not available to the general public; and more:

  • ADP payroll services
  • Sterling Talent Solutions
  • WellCloudMD
  • AccountingDepartment.com
  • YRC
  • Merchology
  • EarthLink
  • CDW
  • Backblaze
  • Transworld collection services
  • 4imprint
  • Lifelock identity theft protection services

Finally, as part of NCRA’s continued commitment to provide resources to help members build stronger businesses, classified advertisements are being accepted for inclusion in the JCR monthly print magazine. With special member pricing, the print classifieds further complement NCRA’s online classified advertising opportunities. Both the online and print classified advertising opportunities provide a convenient, cost-effective way for members to sell products and professional services. Members can rely on NCRA’s classified ads as an optimal way to connect with their targeted marketplace when they want to advertise their services, sell equipment, or place recruiting ads for professional opportunities.

Watch for more information about the Windfall Savings partnership and the products and services available to NCRA members who sign up for it. Information about Mercer and the various insurance plans offered to NCRA members can be found at NCRA.org\membership. For more information about classified advertising in the JCR, visit NCRA.org\classifieds.

NCRA Kindle Fire winner announced

By Jennifer Late

More prizes available for membership renewal

A record number of members have renewed their 2017 membership in October. These renewals were driven in part by a chance to win a Kindle Fire.

NCRA membership renewal Kindle Fire winner

The lucky winner for October 2016 is Karla Jagusch, RPR, of Overland Park, Kan. She has been a court reporter for over 38 years, 36 of which she has been an official court reporter for the First and Tenth Judicial Districts of the State of Kansas. Karla explains why she renewed her membership: “I feel it is important and my obligation to support the association that supports me as a court reporter.”

Click here to renew now!

Photo by: Erik Araujo. Used and adapted with permission via Creative Commons

Renew before Dec. 1 and be entered to win

Members still have a chance to be rewarded for renewing before Dec. 1. NCRA will give away an upgraded Premium Plus listing on the online NCRA Sourcebook. Any Registered, Participating, or Associate member who has renewed before Dec. 1 will have their name entered into a drawing for this upgraded listing for January through December 2017.

NCRA continues to work for its members

  • Online skills testing: Whether you are just starting testing for your RPR or going for your CRC or another advanced certification, you can now complete your skills tests from the comfort of your own home. With more opportunities to test, you will be able to achieve your certification goals faster and increase your earning potential.
  • CRC Workshop & Certification: Based on member demand for more training in the field, NCRA created the new Certified Realtime Captioner program designed just for captioners.
  • FCC Captioning Quality Standards: NCRA’s Government Relations team has been working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance and the Federal Communications Commission to develop new captioning quality standards.
  • Increased online education opportunities: NCRA has expanded its first-class educational programming via webinars and e-seminars vetted to ensure they meet the needs of the marketplace. New online webinars and e-seminars are added each month for members to purchase, view, and earn CEUs.
  • Exhibiting at the ABA TechShow: NCRA has been advocating for you with judges, attorneys, paralegals, clerks, and other legal professionals. With a focus on what your certifications mean and the value of realtime, NCRA is raising the overall awareness of the profession with the people who matter.
  • For CLVS members: A stronger CLVS emphasis was added to the NCRA Convention & Expo, helping videographers network directly with the court reporting membership. By popular demand, new seminars and webinars were created to help CLVSs stay on the cutting edge of technology.

NCRA membership cards

In an effort to embrace technology, NCRA will continue our practice of sending only electronic membership cards to members via email. Members can expect to receive their membership card within approximately four weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Jennifer Late is NCRA’s Membership & Marketing Manager. She can be reached at jlate@ncra.org.

NCRA partnership with Excelsior College provides members education opportunities at reduced cost

JCR publications share buttonNCRA has announced a new partnership with Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y., an accredited, nonprofit educational institution, to offer members and their spouses or domestic partners the opportunity to pursue higher learning education at a reduced tuition rate. The agreement is part of NCRA’s continuing efforts to build the industry and business skills of current and future members by supporting member career development.

“The partnership with Excelsior is the latest in the growing number of benefits NCRA is committed to providing its members,” said Mike Nelson, CAE, the Association’s CEO and Executive Director. “We recognize that education is important to NCRA members, and we are very excited about this opportunity to provide access to higher education that is accessible, affordable, and recognizes professional experience.”

Read more.

NCRA offers members information on issues, state requirements

Members can find information on the certification, notary, and read-and-sign requirements of various states through the National Court Reporters Association website. This section of the website, which members must sign in to access, was compiled through NCRA’s Government Relations department and the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA). Dubbed the “State of the Nation Activities Report,” or SONAR, the data bank provides state leaders the information they need when dealing with state or national issues. In addition, SONAR can give members a way to compare various pieces of information across the states. These include certification requirements, certification boards, official fee schedule, firm registration, notary requirements, pay rates for officials, read-and-sign requirements, and state tax rules. It also allows members to look up information by state, so that members who are considering a move to a different state can research the requirements. If any of the information on your state is out of date, contact Adam Finkel at afinkel@ncra.org. Information on this can be found at NCRA.org/SONAR.

The value of membership

ValueofmembershipWhat are the primary reasons that court reporters and captioners become and stay members of NCRA? In many surveys, members have listed the JCR and the JCR Weekly, which keep them informed of the latest news in the profession; their hard-earned national certifications, which offer them ways to highlight their skills and professionalism; the many continuing education and networking opportunities available through NCRA; and many other benefits as reasons they join and renew their membership.

But for a more personal take, the JCR reached out to a few members who told us why they think belonging to NCRA is so important, not only for them, but for others as well.

“There is no better way to stay informed about reporting than through the JCR and attending conventions. Being a dues-paying member means you belong to the association that represents one of the great professions, ours, and interacts with another, the law,” said Patric Martin of Bethesda, Md., who joined when he first started reporting in 1978.

“I have always liked seeing what is going on in the profession and being able to read about issues and new things on the horizon. The best benefit, I believe, is the equipment and liability insurance. I have also started using Amplify for deep discounts at Staples. I’ve already saved more than $100 this year on paper, toner, and my regular office supplies,” said Elsa Jorgensen of Birmingham, Mich., who has been a participating member of NCRA since 2002 when she transitioned from student membership.

“It’s good to be aware of issues affecting reporters,” continues Jorgensen. “Even though there may be disagreement on certain things, we’re still stronger as a group than as individuals.”

“I’ve held membership with NCRA since the moment I found about it,” said Katherine Schilling, a student member who is based in San Jose, Calif. “When I first started my membership, I only had my eye on getting the monthly JCR magazine as part of it. The JCR has always held a special place in my heart because it was integral to my falling in love with the profession. I’ll never forget the first article I read, ‘A Day in the Life,’ when I found a stack of magazines in the classroom. After that, I was hooked. Just a year later, the annual NCRA Convention & Expo was coming to my backyard, San Francisco, and I learned what a benefit it is to be a student member so that I could get the student member registration rate.”

“The professional tips, ideas, and information are vital to keeping your career interesting and moving forward. Through the NCRA, we can learn from the best of the best,” said Jorgensen. “I look up to so many reporters and, because of them, I aspire to always be a better writer, a better professional, and a better representative of this amazing career.”

Martin, who works at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., recently paid for a number of student memberships so that financially conscious students who were interested in being part of NCRA could be involved.

“When a student gets out of school and is ready to become a working reporter, having a couple years of NCRA membership under their belt gives them a head start,” Martin says. “NCRA has ways to help, and unless you are a member you won’t be able to take advantage of them, the least of which is just reading the JCR and what working reporters and new reporters have to say. More than likely, you will encounter the same issues you will read about.”

“Nowadays, the value of my membership is most evident in the RPR tests,” says Schilling. “I am currently striving to pass the final leg of the RPR, and I now see my membership as giving me access to these tests several times a year. Looking back on it, it’s interesting to see how the value I’ve placed on my NCRA membership has evolved as I’ve progressed through my school career. I guess I could say that my NCRA membership has evolved with me.”

“Over my 38 years in the profession, I’ve let my membership and my certifications lapse. I’ve passed the RMR twice, as well as the CRR, but currently don’t hold those certifications,” said Martin. “There is no excuse, really, and I can only say life intervened. But, as you go forward, become a member, strive for certifications, and don’t let them go. They are golden, as is NCRA. I encountered a reporter from Boston, Mass., in New York City last year, who happened to be in town, but not for our fantastic convention. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t support the profession by simply being a member. And she was quite open on how well she was doing. So, why can’t you support the profession by being a member, I wondered. Her answer was, ‘They don’t need my support.’ That is one of the greatest fallacies ever uttered. Now more than ever, every single member counts.”

NCRA member wins Kindle Fire for early membership renewal

In October 2015, members renewed their NCRA memberships in droves, driven in part by the chance to win a Kindle Fire. The lucky winner is David E. Preston, a participating member  and freelance reporter from Seattle, Wash. NCRA will continue the early membership renewal drive in November with one Amazon gift card winner announced after Nov. 30.

Preston, who has been a court reporter since 1978, said his career has taken him to a number of states to cover a wide range of depositions covering matters related to maritime personal injury cases, workers’ compensation, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

“During the majority of my 37 years as a court reporter, there has been constant pressure to move to newer technologies and to eliminate the court reporter. Membership in NCRA has always been important to me as a freelance reporter because the association fights for our profession in ways I, as a sole proprietor, cannot,” said Preston. “The all-around support I receive from NCRA has been an underpinning of my business, and the association keeps us relevant as a profession.”

Preston noted that he also enjoys the benefits of membership such as the savings offered for insurance programs and the discount offers through the Staples and FedEx affinity partnerships.

According to Preston, his son thinks the Kindle is “cool” and is reportedly having fun trying to teach Preston and his wife, Freda, how to use it.

NCRA members who renew their 2016 memberships in November will be eligible to win a $100 Amazon gift card. The winner will also be announced in an upcoming issue of the JCR Weekly newsletter.

Renewing is easy and available online at NCRA.org/renew. Members can expect to receive their membership card via email within approximately two weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Renewing your NCRA membership is also the perfect time to support the work and programs of NCRF, the philanthropic arm of NCRA. NCRF programs include the Veterans History Project, student scholarships and new professionals’ grants, and many other efforts that directly support and benefit the court reporting and captioning professions.

Rising number of members sign on to reap benefits of Amplify partnership savings

Office supplies_Ginny

Photo by: Ginny

An increasing number of NCRA members are signing up to earn hefty savings on office supplies and other items with Staples and significant savings on shipping costs through FedEx.

The programs are available to members through a recently launched partnership between NCRA and Amplify. Participation in the programs requires no minimums and no contracts.

NCRA worked with Amplify to develop the partnership programs specifically for members, recognizing that they spend a large portion of their budgets on office supplies and shipping fees. Through the partnership, members can save up to 40 percent on shipping and up to 72 percent on office supplies and other items.

“I signed up for the Amplify benefit program after seeing a blast email about it from NCRA,” said Michele Balmer, RPR, a firm owner from Yuma, Ariz. “I placed my first order for office supplies recently, which included three-hole punch paper and manila envelopes, and the price for the box of paper was about $10 less and the box of envelopes was about $12 less than on the Staples regular website! So it’s definitely worth checking into.”

The programs are part of NCRA’s continued focus on delivering value to all members.

“The recent addition of Staples and FedEx to the Association’s list of affinity programs has received very positive feedback from members who have signed up to take advantage of these cost-saving benefits,” said Jeanne Leonard, CAE, NCRA’s Senior Director of Communications, Marketing & Membership. “The Association is dedicated to identifying and providing additional services such as these to aid its members in supporting their businesses, whether large or small. The partnership with Amplify is just one of the many benefits NCRA offers that makes membership in the Association so valuable.”

Members simply need to sign up with Amplify to start receiving these savings. Find more information about the Staples program here and the FedEx program here. Not a member? Join now to take advantage of these members-only benefits.

NCRA also offers members customized insurance plans administered by Mercer Affinity Group Services, a partner for 50 years. Plans include coverage ranging from accidental death and dismemberment to equipment insurance, as well as dental plans, pet insurance, and more. NCRA also offers a credit card affinity program through UMB Financial Corp.

Learn more about all of the benefits NCRA membership has to offer by visiting NCRA.org.