WCRA honors NCRA President Chris Willette through NCRF donation

In August, the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association (WCRA) honored Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, on becoming NCRA’s 2017-2018 President through a generous Thoughtful Tribute donation to the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). Willette, who was installed as NCRA President in August during the Association’s Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., is from Wausau, Wis., and is a past president of WCRA.

“WCRA made a donation in honor of Chris Willette’s NCRA presidency to help promote all the wonderful things that NCRF does for our national association, such as the Corrine Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, the Oral Histories Program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, and the Angels Program,” said Sheri L. Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Green Bay and current president of WCRA.

“Chris Willette has a longstanding history of giving back to our profession on both the state and national levels. WCRA wanted to acknowledge those accomplishments in a way that will continue those efforts as Chris has demonstrated countless times,” she added.

NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes program provides donors the opportunity to honor important people in their lives, whether personal or professional.

For all donations received, no matter the amount, NCRF sends an acknowledgment of each gift to the honoree(s) directly or to the person’s family, as appropriate. For donations of $250 or more, the names of both the donor and the honoree are listed on NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes website and appear on a plaque displayed at NCRA headquarters. All donations to the fund are 100 percent tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

For more information or to donate, contact B. J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director, at bjshorak@ncra.org, or call 800-272-6272.

What can you do in a month to earn CEUs?

A middle-aged white woman listens attentively during a workshop while taking notes.The Sept. 30 deadline for this year’s CEU cycle is coming up quickly, but there’s still time to earn a few more last-minute credits, both in person and online. Even if your CEU cycle isn’t ending this year, these ideas can help you stay on track and possibly even get that requirement done early.

Attend a webinar or e-seminar

Webinars and e-seminars are a great way to learn some new skills in the comfort of your own home and, in terms of e-seminars, on your own schedule. There are three 90-minute live webinars scheduled for this September:

If none of these webinars fit your schedule, check out the NCRA e-seminar library for 60- and 90-minute sessions on topics that include business, CART and captioning, ethics, grammar and language, history, official reporting, personal development, realtime, technology, and more.

Attend a pre-approved event, including state association conferences

Many state associations and other court reporter–related organizations are hosting conferences and seminars in September. In-person events give you the opportunity to network with other reporters and captioners while earning CEUs. Most events are one to three days, and several of them are in the first half of the month. Events are scheduled in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana/Wyoming/Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as Alberta, Canada, this month. Check out the full calendar of pre-approved events here, which includes the dates, location (geographic or online), and number of CEUs.

Learn CPR or first aid

The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and other organizations often host seminars on CPR or first aid. Perhaps you can organize a few colleagues from your firm, court, or even your local area to team up for an event nearby. Court reporters and captioners have to be prepared for anything, so why not add safety to your list of skills? Learn more about the requirements for earning CEUs by learning CPR or first aid on NCRA.org/WaysToEarn.

Transcribe oral histories

Members who participate in the Oral Histories Program through the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) may earn Professional Development Credits for their time. Members can apply up to 1.0 PDC to their CEU requirement per cycle. Transcribe a 30- to 90-minute pre-recorded interview of an American veteran, Holocaust survivor, or attorney who has provided pro bono services through Legal Aid. Many people find participating in the Oral Histories Program to be especially rewarding. “As court reporters, we sometimes are too focused on the financial side of what we do, but (volunteering) is giving back. Anyone thinking of participating in one of these events should just jump right in and do it. It’s well worth it,” said Kimberly Xavier, RDR, CRR, CRC, CMRS, CRI, an official court reporter from Arlington, Texas, and a U.S. Air Force veteran, who recently volunteered at NCRF’s third Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project initiative at the 86th Military Order of the Purple Heart 2017 Convention held in Dallas. Learn more at NCRA.org/NCRF/OralHistories.

Get credit for past events

You may have already participated in activities that have helped you earn CEUs or PDCs during the last year, and the only thing you need to do is fill out the proper form to get credit. If you promoted the profession at a career fair, law school, or other event; provided pro bono services; served on a state association board or committee (including the United States Court Reporting Association); or participated in a formal mentoring program, you may qualify for credit for your volunteerism. You can submit these CEUs and PDCs here.

Cycle extensions

If you need a four-month cycle extension (to Jan. 31) to finish those last CEUs, you can fill out the CEU extension request form by Sept. 30. Note that the deadline to complete CEUs or to request an extension is the same date.

View the full list of qualified continuing education activities at NCRA.org/WaysToEarn. View other continuing education forms here or view your current transcript here. If you have any questions, please contact the NCRA credentialing coordinator.

NCRA member sworn in as state association director

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Victoria Advocate reported on Aug. 20 that Sonia G. Trevino has been sworn in for a two-year term as area director, seat 5, for the Texas Court Reporters Association.

Read more.

Small group, big learning at the NCRA State Leadership Conference

Group shot of the NCRA Leadership Conference attendees

Photo by Lindsay DeWaide, RMR, CRR

NCRA’s State Leadership Conference, held in late May in St. Louis, Mo., was the first to bring to bear the full weight of the national association to a regional event.

“Beyond a doubt awesome,” said Linda M. Dattilo, RPR, executive director for the Missouri Court Reporters Association, of the new regional focus. “I attended the [national-level] NCRA State Leadership Conference many years ago and NCRA Legislative Boot Camp, and I got far more out of this conference. Perhaps it was the smaller number of attendees or the terrific leaders who put the conference on. All I know is I have a lot of ideas now for the Missouri Court Reporters Association that I can’t wait to get working on.”

The smaller group size was cited as being conducive for greater learning and better camaraderie by many of the participants. The conference included presentations by NCRA President Tiva Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS; President-Elect Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC; Interim CEO & Executive Director Dave Wenhold; and Manager of State Government Relations Matt Barusch.

“I was presented with so much information, such as learning how to run an effective board meeting, understanding budgets, the nuts and bolts of association work, and how to communicate effectively with our members,” said Dana Webb, president-elect of the Tennessee Court Reporters Association. “The knowledge I derived from this conference will truly be invaluable as I embark on becoming president of the Tennessee Court Reporters Association, and it will help me to make the most of my leadership role to better our association and our profession.”

“They taught us so many helpful tools in leading an effective board meeting, recruiting new association members, ideas about promoting our careers to high school students, and so much more,” agreed Jill Pilkington, RMR, who is president-elect of the Nebraska Court Reporters Association.

“The regional leadership conference in St. Louis was, in my opinion, time and money well spent,” said Lance Boardman, RDR, CRR, who is a director for the Ohio Court Reporters Association. “It was gratifying to know that much of what is recommended by NCRA as to how to run a state organization the Ohio Court Reporters Association has already implemented. On the other hand, there was much that I, as an individual, did not know about processes and procedures. I think there is generally a fairly large knowledge gap between people’s perception of how things are run and the reality, and that gap, for me at least, has now been mostly filled.”

The conference was designed to provide state leaders with information about working as an association that is often not easily found elsewhere, including how to fulfill their roles as state leaders in line with industry best practices. In addition, state leaders exchanged information about what is going on in their states to build connections between organizations and individual state leaders.

“As a newer member to our State Board, I met some great leaders in our profession,” said Jackie Rupnow, RPR, CRI, who is part of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association board. “I loved that Tiva and Chris played an integral part of this training. Their insight was invaluable. I left this conference having made some lifelong friends, but, best of all, it reenergized me in wanting to do more for our profession and be a better leader. I would recommend this conference to anyone interested in gaining more insight into how to become a more effective leader.”

As Boardman summed up: “The best part of all: I got to finally meet some longtime online friends and made a lot of new ones from around the country.”

MCRA invests in NCRA presentation on protecting the profession

MCRA_2017Matthew Barusch, NCRA’s Manager of State Government Relations, attended the Mississippi Court Reporters Association Annual Conference on April 27 in Biloxi to give a presentation on Protecting the Profession. In his presentation, Barusch outlined some of the issues facing court reporters in the states and discussed how to address these issues in a changing political climate.

“Giving this presentation to the Mississippi Court Reporters Association was truly a wonderful experience,” said Barusch. “This subject is critically important to the future of the profession, and I was honored and grateful to have the opportunity to teach reporters in Mississippi how to build their coalition and act as one to confront the challenges facing them.”

NCRA’s Government Relations staff is available to make presentations on this and other topics at your state convention. Email GovRelations@ncra.org to ask about getting a speaker.

VHP event hosted by ICRA in the news

JCR logoOn May 1, The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa, posted an article showcasing a Veterans History Project event hosted by members of the Iowa Court Reporters Association and the 2nd Judicial District.

Read more.

ICRA seeks veterans to share their stories

JCR logoThe Iowa Court Reporters Association has invited veterans to share their stories for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project via an article posted on dailyiowegian.com on April 12. ICRA plans to hold the VHP Day during its annual convention in June.

Read more.

Consider a new career in court reporting

jcr-publications_high-resGood Day Wisconsin on FOX News 11, Green Bay, aired a story on Feb. 16 about court reporting that featured NCRA member Sheri Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC. Piontek is president of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association.

See more.

Salute to court reporters — the silent witnesses to history

jcr-publications_high-resOn Feb. 18, the Rapid City [S.D.] Journal posted a feature article about the court reporting profession. The article quotes NCRA member Teresa Fink RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Rapid City, S.D., and president of the South Dakota Court Reporters Association.

Read more.

Court reporters serve vital role in judicial system

jcr-publications_high-resThe Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Ala., posted a story on Feb. 16 highlighting the vital role court reporters play in the judicial system. The article includes an interview with NCRA member Karen Strickland Planz, an official court reporter for a local circuit judge and president of the Alabama Court Reporters Association.

Read more.