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President's Message -- Fall 2019

24 Oct 2019 9:55 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” I recently came across this quote by motivational speaker Les Brown. So why do we let our fears hold us back?

For more years than I would care to admit, I knew I should focus more of my time towards improving my writing skills. While I would write realtime for myself every day, until recently I would become very anxious when sharing my screen with attorneys. At present, I dedicate a portion of every day towards learning new brief forms and adding them to my dictionary. It is astonishing how many words I continue to add to my CAT dictionary, but there is great satisfaction in setting a goal and getting closer and closer to reaching it.

Perhaps your goal is to write at faster speeds with a higher translation rate? Our March 2020 convention keynote speaker will be Mark Kislingbury, who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest court reporter by writing 360 words per minute with a 97.23 percent accuracy. Mark founded the Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting in Houston, Texas, in 2011; and, in addition to teaching, he also captions for a national political radio program. During his hands-on presentation, Mark will share his short-writing methods and speed-building techniques.

Have you ever considered entering a speed contest or realtime contest? VCRA will be holding our first-ever speed contest during the convention and will be offering two separate tests, one consisting of a 280 WPM Q&A selection and a 225 WPM realtime selection.

There is no better time than now to start planning your flapper dress or zoot suit from the Roaring ‘20s for our convention’s welcome reception extravaganza.

But before we get to March and our next convention, VCRA has scheduled several software training events and town halls. The town halls will focus on the highlights of the bill for licensure, which includes a provision for apprenticeship licensure, and we are inviting the audience to ask questions and share your views. The Virginia General Assembly will begin their next legislative session on January 8, 2020. Times and locations of these events may be found on our VCRA website and Facebook page.

Do you have an older steno machine sitting in your closet? Consider donating it to the VCRA loaner program. At present, there are two introduction to steno machine programs being offered, one by NCRA’s A to Z and one by Project Steno’s Basic Training. Over the past few months, numerous people have submitted applications to begin these programs, and there are waiting lists due to the shortage of available machines.

Our strength remains in our numbers. The membership of VCRA has continued to grow over the past several years, and membership has almost doubled over the past five years. As your Board of Directors, we continue to explore the best ways we may serve you, our members, and we thank you for your continued support.

VCRA offers programs such as mentorship and pro bono, and we encourage all members to become involved in your association. Don’t let you fears hold you back. The benefits of volunteering are enormous and very rewarding!

With warm regards,


Leslie Etheredge, RMR, CCR

President, Virginia Court Reporters Association


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