This is the final message that I will write as VCRA President. Though my tenure is not over quite yet, I must say that time has flown by. Then again, when you become VCRA President and a new father in the same year, you don’t have much time to stop and smell the roses!
My time on the Board started in 2018. I distinctly remember my first board meeting when committee assignments were being handed out. There were committees for legislation, PR, student relations, so many topics that I, frankly, didn’t know anything about. As we went around the room discussing what each person’s interests were, I kept hoping no one said technology because that’s something I knew well. Finally, it was my turn, and I was asked what committee I thought was right for me. “Technology,” I said, and the room burst into applause. What had I done!? It turns out the committee I worried would get taken from me was the one no one else wanted!
Though I have served on many committees since that time, Technology is still “my thing.” My first major push after joining the Board was replacing our old, inefficient website. It started out as a simple redesign, making information more accessible and updates easier, but I soon found myself going down the membership management platform rabbit hole. Before I knew it, my redesign had become an overhaul of how VCRA does business. The new website has allowed us to go almost fully paperless, streamline our processes and even conduct elections online when we were unable to gather in person. I’m glad I could use my skills to leave this mark on the association.
My time on the VCRA Board has led me to meet some of the top talents in our field, both in Virginia and across the country. After several years working, it’s easy to grow complacent, and I admit I was guilty of this. Having the opportunity to meet and interact with these giants in our industry has given me the renewed drive I needed to set new goals for myself and strive to achieve them. I know you hear all the time about how rewarding board service is, but this unintended consequence is worth it in its own right. You don’t need to be a rockstar to serve; I’m certainly not. But board service has done a lot to improve my skills and my confidence.
As usual, VCRA has been busy over the last few months. In October, we participated in the Virginia School Counselors Association Annual Meeting in Hampton Roads. We’ve attended in the past and have found it to be a great opportunity to show off our profession to the people advising Virginia’s youth on career opportunities. You can learn more about the event in the newsletter. Thank you to all the volunteers who made our participation possible!
VCRA Day was November 5th, 2022, and I’m happy to report it was a great success. We had over 70 registrants, comprised of members, non-members and students. Our speakers, Bryce Hall and Jean Hammond, were fantastic. We’re so grateful for them taking the time to speak to us. And we can’t forget about the socials! It was wonderful seeing reporters gather across our Commonwealth for some much-needed camaraderie. I also want to thank everyone who donated, both individuals and sponsors. This was a free event for members, and there was no obligation to donate. But you gave so generously. Truly inspirational.
We are now in full swing preparing for the Mario A. Rodriguez Education Day, which will be held on March 18th, 2023, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. We’re excited about the new venue, a beautiful botanical garden just a few days before the official start of spring, but the lineup of speakers is just as enticing! Be sure to register (and register early to get that Early Bird discount!). You can earn CEUs, catch up with friends and enjoy a beautiful stroll through the garden. It’s a win-win-win!
The Virginia Court Reporters Foundation (VCRF) will be holding their second online silent auction at this year’s Education Day. All proceeds benefit their Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund. The online silent auction at the convention in Lynchburg was an unprecedented success, bringing in over $1,400 despite launching only shortly before the event. We’re starting earlier this time, so start searching those attics and getting crafty. Let’s beat last year’s record!
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you as President of VCRA. Especially when paired with the significant changes in my personal life, this has been a crazy year for me -- hugely rewarding, but crazy. When elections are held in March, I will transition to Immediate Past President. Though this is an important role in its own right – and I will serve dutifully – it does come with a shorter list of responsibilities. Maybe I’ll finally have time to smell those roses – or the daffodils, because apparently the roses don’t bloom until May.
Christopher Reho, RPR, CCR