PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS by KATE ROUNDY
First of all, thank you all for being here today, every
one of you. I'm surrounded by so many friends and my
family, and I'm honored to be ACRA's President this year.
I'm truly, truly blessed. And standing up here today, I
say to myself, "Look at how far I've come."
Before I was a court reporter, I sold cosmetics at Macy's department store. I was in the retail field, and I was doing well.
I had gone to college for a couple years and didn't know what I wanted to do. Got married young; had two beautiful daughters.
And then at the age of 26 I found myself in one of those life situations -- a divorce -- and I really needed to figure out what I was
going to do. I did not want to continue in the retail field. So a dear friend of mine -- her name is Sara Wood -- talked to me about court
reporting. She was a court reporter in Washington, D.C., and she seriously sat me down and said, "You need to give this a try.
Court reporting's exciting. It's a respectable field. It will give you flexibility being a single mom." And most importantly at the time, "It's
lucrative." Well, she had me hooked.
So I went into Phoenix and I checked out a couple schools, and I enrolled at Metropolitan College of Court Reporting. And I'm happy
to say there's a bunch of us in the room, including one of my first teachers, my dear friend Marlo.
I got through school in about two and a half years and leaped into the freelance world, and I've been there for 18 years. And I
love being a court reporter. Anybody who knows me knows that I say that on a regular basis. I truly love the art of steno writing,
improving it, and I love being an integral part of the legal system. So it really, truly only seems natural to give back. In my vision, in
my feelings, that makes a true professional.
Back to how far I've come. One big misconception I had when I became a court reporter was I thought that this was a career that I
can succeed all on my own. I'm going to show up to a job, dress nicely, present myself well to the clients, turn in a really nice
product, and that's going to make me a professional. How wrong I was. Over the last 18 years, and especially since being involved
in ACRA and being on this ACRA board, I realized that's wrong. My success and my being afforded this opportunity to stand before
you as ACRA's President is because of all of you. Again, my teacher, Marlo, I look around the room, and I see firm owners who I
have worked with, who have taught me, who have been patient, who've explained to me how the rules work and over the years
have given me the opportunity to build my kill set to what it is today. I thank you. I also look around the room, and I'm surrounded
by past ACRA board members, past ACRA presidents who still to this day are offering their support to support ACRA and who
are supporting me standing up here today. I thank you.
Then there's my family. They're the foundation, and I definitely wouldn't be here without them.
Just as I clearly see that my success is a reflection of many, I also recognize that the success of our association and our profession is
a group effort. I participated and attended this year's NCRA Legislative Boot Camp in Washington, and I also attended the National
Committee of State Associations meeting in New Orleans this year and got to know leaders from across the country. I have a clear
view of the issues facing court reporting today. Here in Arizona, we have big issues that we need to continue working on, things
such as our court reporting shortage, building steno awareness in the public eye, making sure everyone understands captioning,
CART writing, what it is, that it's the same skill. We need to continue to strengthen our relationship with the legal community.
That's important. And also fighting electronic reporting. These are big feats, and these are just a few, and it takes all of us. It takes
a group effort. We need to keep this profession strong, and we are stronger together than we are alone.
So you're looking at me, and you're thinking, "How I can help Kate? She seems friendly." Well, first of all, continue to be an advocate
for court reporting and captioning. We all heard Doreen talk this morning about the A to Z Program and Project Steno. I hope you
were all listening. But take it to heart. Talk to everyone about it. We've all talked to you about joining committees for the
ACRA association, and I highly recommend that. We have lots of committees. We have mentoring, membership, fundraising, the
bar and bench committee, legislative. There's all sorts of committees, and we'll find you a spot. Also, throughout the year ACRA
puts on different events. For instance, on November 3, we're doing our third participation in the Walk4Hearing, and we would love
to see you out there. Not only is it a fun time to go out and be there with your friends and family, bring your pets, but it's a
wonderful opportunity for us to get out there as an association to the hard-of-hearing community and informing them who we
are, what we can do for them. We do our court reporting and captioning week events. That's another opportunity to let the public
know who we are. Career days all over the state. Nobody's out of it. Takes about two, three hours of your time, and it is so
enjoyable to go and explain court reporting to youngsters. It's rewarding, and half the time you talk to some of the teachers, so
that's a hook.
Lastly, how many of you who haven't served on the board have a little interest, a little "hmm"? Well, think about it. Come speak to
me or any of the board members. As we've heard already today, serving is so rewarding. It feels so good to give back, again, to a
profession that's been a gift to me as I'm sure it has been to you.
As your President this coming year, I pledge to you to be an advocate to you as members, of course our association as a whole, but
of our profession. I will keep ACRA's voice strong, not only in Arizona but nationally. I urge you to join me, step forward, play a
part. We are stronger together than we are apart. And next year when I stand up here and I hand Tracy the gavel,
I know that I will be looking back and seeing how far we've come.
I thank you all again for being here and for this opportunity. Thank you.