Hello. For those of you who may not know me personally, I look forward to meeting you. For those I have had the privilege of working with and becoming acquainted with, thank you for your friendship. Sharing with you a few thoughts today is a privilege, although it’s very different than I ever imagined. A virtual speech? Very different than in the past.
Thank you, Tracy Johnston, for your service as President this past year and congratulations on a job well done. Since we are virtual today, Kim Portik is going to present Tracy with her plaque, so again, thank you, Tracy.
ACRA is 70 years old this year! What a tremendous milestone! ACRA was formed in 1950 when court reporters from around the state felt the need to have their own association. It was initially called ASRA, the Arizona Shorthand Reporters Association. A few years later the name was changed to ACRA, as it has remained ever since. The ACRA has a rich history of many notable court reporters that have served on the board of directors, chaired committees, served on the national level, and much more.
The issues that court reporters faced 70 years ago are very different from the issues that we are facing today, but what remains the same is the need for an association to advocate for the court reporters of Arizona. What still remains is the perseverance, dedication, expertise, and wealth of knowledge we bring to the art of capturing the spoken word. The Arizona Court Reporters Association has been the largest professional association of court reporters in the state of Arizona, advocating for the integrity of the profession of “Keeping the Record.”
Our mission is to educate and inform the public, reporters, and related legal professions about all facets of court reporting. ACRA has enjoyed a respected history of being a leader in pursuing and supporting all appropriate measures that preserve and promote Arizona certified reporters.
As guardians of the record, we are “essential.”
Thank you for joining us today even though it’s virtual. I learned long ago that you can tell what is important to a person by how they spend their time and how they spend their money, so it is evident that you hold your career in high regard, as you are spending your time and money to participate with us today. To you, I say thank you for choosing to be the best you can be, and thank you for supporting ACRA. Without member support, ACRA would cease to exist. If you have colleagues who are not members of ACRA, please invite them to join with us. With the perceived shortage of reporters, it is more important than ever that we work together to promote the profession of court reporting.
If someone had told us a year ago that most of us would be doing depos and holding court hearings remotely and virtually, it would have been hard to believe, yet we are doing it, and as always, have adapted to our current environment and are thriving. Time and time again, we have shown that we can rise to the occasion and provide the expertise and skill to ensure an accurate record. We support each other and learn from each other and will continue to do so. We still CONTINUE to be the gold standard for a verbatim record.
When I joined the ACRA board many years ago, it was an eye opening experience to get a glimpse of how much work goes on behind the scenes. It takes a lot of time and energy to provide members with current updates in technology, changes in local code, changes in the marketplace, watch the legislation and court rules that are proposed, attend meetings, produce the ArizoNotes newsletter, organize seminars, monitor the Request a Reporter program, and much more, as well as providing an open and friendly environment to network and collaborate with the top professionals in the state.
There have been so many dedicated and skilled reporters throughout my career that have mentored and encouraged me. They range from firm owners and school instructors to colleagues at the courthouse, as well as members of the board from past and present from all over the state who have contributed so much of their time and talent. They have each taught me what it means to give back to the court reporting community, and I am thankful for their examples.
There are many of you who also have much to give to the court reporting community. We need you. We need your ideas and your participation to preserve our profession far into the future. If you would like to play a more active role and become involved, I invite you to do so. Our organization is strong because we have always had strong members that rise to the occasion when called upon.
You are the future of this association. As we continue to face the challenges that come our way, ACRA will continue to be a strong supporter and ally for ALL court reporters of Arizona; freelance, official, CART, captioners, or any other role that we fill. If we continue to work together for the good of our “essential” profession, we will continue to succeed and continue to serve the citizens of Arizona as “Guardians of the Record.”
Thank you, and remember to take care of yourself and your family in this unique and challenging time.