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TechCon 2014 Welcoming remarks by NCRA President Nancy Varallo

April 12, 2014

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As NCRA’s President, it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the 2014 TechCon event. We’re thrilled to have you at our third annual TechCon, and I can tell you that each year’s buzz builds on the momentum of the previous year.

If you’ve never attended this event before, in the next few days you’ll come to understand why TechCon is already one of NCRA’s premier events. This is THE venue for you to learn about new technology in the legal services arena. If you want to grow your skills in realtime services, video depositions, streaming text, or videoconferencing, TechCon is the place to be.  Experts are here to help you master the technology. Whether you’re tech savvy or a tech beginner, you will leave this event with the confidence and tools you need to help expand your skills.

This is one of NCRA’s most anticipated events, and it wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers who help us plan it. Please join me in thanking these folks for all of their hard work in designing the exclusive events and seminars that you’ll be enjoying over the next few days.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the members of the NCRA Board of Directors who are with us this morning. Service on the NCRA board is one of the highest callings in our industry, and these individuals have dedicated countless hours and made immeasurable personal contributions to strengthening and advancing our profession. Please stand when your name is called:

President-Elect Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC

Director, Debbie Dibble, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP

Director, Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, FAPR

Director, Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP

Director, Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, FAPR

and our Executive Director and CEO, Jim Cudahy, CAE.

We’re thrilled to have an extraordinary show of support from our sponsors this year. It’s my pleasure to thank the following companies for their generous support, without which this conference would not be possible. If there are representatives from these companies in the ballroom, please stand when your company name is called so we can express our appreciation, and if you’ll remain standing, I’ll ask the audience to please hold your applause until the end. 

LiveDeposition: Ignite Session and Reception Co-Sponsor

Merrill Deposition Services: Ignite Session and Reception Co-Sponsor

And exhibitors…

Advantage Software

eDepo

eDepoze

Gigatron

LiveDeposition.com

Merrill Deposition Services

Premiere Binding

ProCAT

Realtime Learning Systems/Realtime Coach

Stenograph

Thomson Reuters

YesLaw

Please join me in thanking this year’s sponsors and exhibitors for their generosity.

You may be seated. These companies have table displays in the foyer, so please be sure to stop by and thank them personally. By the way, we also have an NCRA booth set up in the foyer. The booth is designed to showcase all the products and services that NCRA offers to help you stay ahead of the technology curve, so stop by and make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything NCRA has to offer. There’s also some merchandise that you’ll want to check out as well.

One other note for you:  The 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo is heading to San Francisco on July 31 to August 3, and I hope you will make note of the dates in your program.  Join us as we celebrate our profession and welcome Sarah Nageotte as our next president. The energy at a national convention is palpable; you can’t help but feel it. Seminars, social events, networking opportunities, vendor displays—it’s a great opportunity to mingle with your colleagues from around the country. You can share experiences, ideas, good stories, and best practices one on one, and strengthen your network and the wider network we all share as professionals.

Clearly, for those who are interested in cutting-edge technology and the specialized programs NCRA offers—programs like the Realtime Systems Administrator workshop and the Certified Legal Videography Specialist program—TechCon is the must-attend event of the year.

And what is unique about this particular event is the mingling of different TYPES of technology at one event. We have court reporters, we have legal videographers who support stenographic court reporters, and we have other legal professionals who have come here to broaden their technological horizons. Take advantage of this diverse audience! Learn from each other as much as you do the content leaders! You’ll be surprised about how we’re all working in locked-step to further advance the court reporting and captioning professions.

I’m so pleased to see so many of you here, and coming off of the news headlines we made last week as a profession, there has never been a better time to take our technological skills to the next level. There’s always change afoot in our marketplace and we need to keep pace, and how better to stay abreast of market trends than mingling with the technological leaders in our profession.

I don’t know that we can “manage” change, but we need to accept change and embrace the tools we need to succeed in the marketplace. We must recognize change, understand it, embrace it, and effectively communicate to our clients why it matters. That’s leadership! Once we own change, it becomes part of the solution and not part of the problem.  Once we own it, we can leverage change and the latest technologies as the solution for our clients’ needs today.  When you focus on the potentials and not the pitfalls, harnessing change and innovation will set you up for success and put you in the driver’s seat as we head into that great unknown—the future!

Competition is part of the DNA of our society. So is tolerance, which is simply respect for the other guy’s point of view.  In fighting to maintain our position as honored and well-paid professionals, we need to support each other and focus on what we do best.  As court reporters, our realtime skills are unique. Nobody else can do what we do, and that’s our competitive advantage. That’s what sets us apart. CLVSs have unique skills that allow them to create a superior video record and a proven ability to work with the reporter to build the strongest overall record. Trial presentation professionals have the unique skills to put the transcript, video, and evidence together to create compelling visual advocacy in the courtroom. When we all hone our indispensable skills and focus on what we do best, everyone wins.

So put your best foot forward. I urge you not to be distracted by the companies and technologies and people we compete with. There’s always competition. But the market value of our services is driven by our unique skills, which are in turn supported and enhanced by technology. The more we enhance our command of technology, the more we enhance our skills, and the more valuable we become.

Today we have every reason to celebrate our respective professions and the professionals who make them great. I hope you’ll take this opportunity not only to enhance your skills, but also to connect and share your passion for what you do. With that, I wish you a fantastic conference!