It is very hard to believe that this will be my last president’s message to you. Thinking back over the last two years, I became your president just as COVID restrictions were upon us. We have all been through a lot together from getting our electronic notary license, trying to figure out the PPP, learning or strengthening our remote talents, to attending virtual seminars and conventions, to playing games remotely at our socials, to getting back out there in person and learning how to be hybrid. We have had great moments of success. We have all worked together, sharing information, uplifting each other. I couldn’t have asked for two better boards and members to work with and for.
As many of you know, this was not my first rodeo with board service, or even being president. Back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s I served. When I was approached by Carol Naughton in 2017 to see if I could help be on the board of directors, there was a spot to be filled, I thought, well, okay, sure. It would be nice to help out. My daughter was going to school down where most of the meetings were, so I’d get to have an excuse to see her. I had no idea at the first board meeting when they said the secretary couldn’t come, could someone take the minutes, and I’m raising my hand, “I always loved taking the minutes. I’ll take the minutes,” that I was going to become “the secretary.”
My focus over the last two years has been about building relationships through our paralegal and lawyer liaison committee. The committee chair, Michele Eddy, and members Kim Riberick, Sindie Bragg, Matt Ridge, and Linda Kia have done fabulous work with attending paralegal conventions, reaching out to the different chapters to ask what reporters can do for them and letting them know what helps us do the best job we can for them. On December 3rd we thought it prudent to attend the Virginia Attorneys Defense Association Young Lawyers Boot Camp. There VCRA was able to get the word out about our CCRs and how we also, like them, earn continuing education credits; let them know about VCRA’s Pro Bono Program; and shared with them NCRA’s How to Make the Record. What better way to help us by helping them know how it makes a better record when they speak one at a time, not read too fast from documents, and the like.
Also my focus has been the notary license under which we are commissioned. I still am going to collaborate with the legislative committee on trying to get us under the Courts of Justice. The notary rules are just too structured for a notary performing actual notarizations of documents and not towards giving the oath/affirmation for testimony. We have Court Reporting & Captioning Week coming up February 6, 2022. By now you would have received an email asking if you could help out with a two-minute video for us to share information to the legal community and the public about our profession. I hope you have participated and will have fun doing it. We are planning a one-hour virtual social and having a giveaway every 15 minutes during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Keep an eye out on social media and email blasts for the date and time as well as a new screen background to commemorate the celebration of our profession.
We all are really looking forward to seeing you in person March 25-27, 2022, at the Virginian in Lynchburg. It is going to be amazing to see each other face to face. And though I will see many of you there, I know some I will not. I want to have my last message be to encourage you all to be involved whether on the board or on a committee. I cannot tell you how rewarding board service has been. Yes, sometimes there can be disagreements on how to best proceed with, let’s say, a bylaw change, or perhaps what speakers our members would like to see at a virtual convention, and there are busier times than others for what work needs to be done. What outweighs all of that is the friendships made and what we learn from each other. While the pandemic hit, I decided to finally get my notary signing agent certification and supplemented the lack of income by doing notary signings. I found out board member Rachel had been doing notary signing for years, and I called upon her when I first got started with my questions and flubs, and she always was there and patiently helped me. Then there was sharing remote work in covering our calendars when we got busy. There are a lot of laughs when collaborating on fundraising and door prizes. There is sharing in sad news of the passing of a family member, a beloved pet, the need for a medication run when you’re too sick to get it yourself, sharing in happy news of an expectant parent or grandparent, celebration of a college graduation, shipping off a tripod to someone in need. Personally, I know I have had several board members and members pick up where I left off because I could not. That is the bond that lasts forever.
We have a highly active state association that we are all a part of. You have a board that is working on things as of this writing that are going to help our association as well as the legal community and consumers of court reporting services when Christopher Reho becomes president.
I profusely thank all the board members I’ve worked with the last two years; the sponsors and those that have donated over the last two years that keep our association’s education opportunities supported; and I thank the members for your kindness and patience during unparalleled times.
Donna Linton, RDR,CCR,CLR