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President's Message -- Spring 2024 -- Charting the Path Forward

14 May 2024 7:48 PM | Elizabeth Whitlock (Administrator)

Our new Board officially took office at MAR Ed Day on March 16, 2024, but before I introduce that new Board, let me say thank you to the Board of 2023-2024 for your dedication and hard work this past year. You are the backbone of this Association and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, Christopher Reho, Past President; Kim Ribaric, Vice President; Rachel Cramer, Treasurer; Tasiana Basdekis, Secretary; and Directors Stephanie Barnes, Sindie Bragg, Terri Ferris, Paula Maddern, Dana Pon, and Ziyacdah Atkinson; and Natalie Jones, student liaison.

I am thrilled to introduce our new Board members: Christopher Reho, Past President; Dana Pon, Vice President; Rachel Cramer, Treasurer; Paula Maddern, Secretary, and Directors Stephanie Barnes, Terri Ferris, Ruth Levy, Kim Ribaric, and Taylor Smith; and Natalie Jones and Kate Flora, student liaisons.

A significant portion of the Board convened in Moseley on April 14, 2024, for a retreat. During this gathering, we delved into the MAR Ed Day Questionnaire, the online survey, VCRA Policies and Procedures, and VCRA Bylaws. We also engaged in fruitful discussions about committee initiatives, fostered team cohesion, and enjoyed a delightful potluck lunch.

The input from our MAR Ed Day attendees underscored their interest in VCRA's focus areas, which include student recruitment, educating legal professionals about the court reporter shortage and our profession's value, and concern about artificial intelligence. Rest assured, we are committed to keeping you informed about the impact of artificial intelligence on our profession and what we can do about it.

Our Board team collaborated and generated some innovative ideas surrounding these important topics. So, as we navigate the upcoming year, expect a plethora of opportunities for member engagement as our Board continues to generate and develop ways to further these areas of interest. Keep an eye on your inbox for updates and where we will need your help.

Following our fruitful discussion, the Board collectively prioritized student recruitment. We will continue to collect and maintain an inventory of steno machines to loan to students for the A to Z program across the Commonwealth. If you have a machine you’re no longer using and want to donate it to the A to Z program, please reach out to me. (We have had three loaner requests from potential students in Northern Virginia alone this past week). The word is getting out there!

We will aim to inspire high school students and career seekers to join our profession by creating events to showcase our profession, as well as engage with schools and vocational institutions. This includes our participation in the Virginia School Counselor Association event in Hampton from October 19-21, 2025. Vice President Dana Pon will spearhead our efforts at the VSCA event and will seek assistance from local members. We've secured a vendor table already in a great location at the Embassy Suites, and we foresee very meaningful interactions with school counselors across the Commonwealth.

Last but not least, mark your calendars. During the last few months, the Convention Committee has met several times, and with Board consultation, and based on feedback from MAR Ed Day and the online survey, we have decided to host the 2025 3-day Convention in Washington, D.C. Stay tuned for further details about booking your stay at the Yotel Washington D.C. from March 21-23, 2025. We've secured an exceptional room rate and timed the event perfectly for the cherry blossom season.

The journey ahead is filled with promise, and we are eager to embark on it together with you.

Michele Eddy, RPR, CRR, CRI, CCR


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