2012 in Review
By Tami Smith
I often get asked, “What has NCRA accomplished?” The end of the year seems to be a great time to review. Here are some highlights:
* New CEO: In May, the Board hired Jim Cudahy as the new Executive Director and CEO for the Association. He’s been a breath of fresh air, full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas.
* Successful convention: The 2012 Annual Convention was a smashing success, full of networking opportunities, education, and tons of fun.
* TechCon: Speaking of educational opportunities, NCRA’s TechCon, a new learning opportunity focused on technology, was launched to rave reviews. The conference also brought together our Realtime Systems Administrator, Certified Legal Videographer Specialist, and Trial Presentation programs for the first time for a networking session that increased interaction among several groups within the legal arena.
* Courthouse Security Act: NCRA’s Government Relations Department worked with legislators to improve safety and security for employees and the public in all courthouses across the country by lobbying for the Local Courthouse Safety Act.
* Updated website: Our website is continually being updated with new and better information that enables our members to be the absolute best professionals at capturing the spoken word.
* Courting Disaster: We unveiled our new interactive game that is fun and educational. So far, nearly 1,800 people have played the game.
* TRAIN: The TRAIN Task Force started in January and launched a program that has continually grown and improved. More and more members are hopping on the TRAIN to solve realtime setbacks, big and small. And based on the feedback I get from NCRA members on a regular basis, more and more members are providing realtime reporting services to their clients and consumers.
* VEETF: The Vision for Educational Excellence Task Force, which started its work in November, has taken on the challenge of looking at our current methods of educating court reporting students to see what can be done to get more students in our programs and what works to increase graduation rates. This process won’t be completed overnight, but the Task Force is full of bright, energetic, enthusiastic members who truly want to accomplish this goal.
* New and improved staff configuration: Many of you wouldn’t be aware of this but there’s been a lot of changes in staff at headquarters – not changes in employees, but revamping and reworking of the various departments within NCRA to offer fresh perspectives and more efficiency in running NCRA.
* New Board meeting configuration: In November, the NCRA Board tried a new way to conduct Board meetings. The Board is now divided into three subcommittees: Finance and Planning, Education and Training, and Communications and Outreach. Each committee first meets to discuss their various assignments in depth, and later reports summarized information to the entire Board. We have found this process to be incredibly efficient as we’re able to cover more ground in a shorter time frame.
* Continued dedication to relationships with state affiliates: Over the past few years, we’ve made a dedicated and focused effort on bridging the activities of NCRA members and state affiliates, and this year has truly been a banner year for that. Our new CEO, Jim Cudahy, has been a presence at as many affiliate conventions as he possibly can and they have noticed. It’s all about communication and coordinated efforts to promote the profession; Jim and the board are committed to that at all times.
* Online testing challenges: Yes, there’s been some glitches and bumps in this road. But the NCRA Board of Directors remains committed to being able to offer online skills testing to our members, something that has been requested often over the years. We hold ourselves out as technology experts and it’s vital that we strive to offer this service.
* The return of Legislative Boot Camp: In February, more than 60 state leaders from around the country came to Washington, D.C., for a three-day program that trains court reporters on the issues facing the profession and effectively lobbying Congress and state legislatures to positively promote policies favorable to court reporters.
* “SAVE” vote: Recently we learned about a vote that would have affected stenographic reporters in the federal system. Our Government Relations department sprung to action and with the outpouring of support of our members and their friends and family through the use of email and social media, our grassroots helped to impact this vote.
We hope that you were a part of our accomplishments this past year, and we look forward to your continued involvement in 2013. We have great things planned!
Tami Smith, RPR, CPE