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Cyndi Tumlin, CCR, RPR
President Alabama Court Reporters Association

Make Your Mark -- Empower Yourself

(If you won’t, who will?)

The Most Wonderful Time of Year is upon us – Thank Heaven!!  I’m seriously considering leaving a lighted tree up for the foreseeable future.  There’s just something so peaceful and uplifting about looking at a lighted Christmas tree.  It brings a smile to the face and a little joy to the heart, and everyone can use all the smiles and joy we can string together after the crazy, pandemic-filled year we’ve just experienced.  

Speaking of “wonderful” -- has everyone seen the conference information regarding ACRA going virtual for conference in January 2021?  President-Elect Jennifer Kissic – guru to the virtual conference planning – has grabbed that tiger by the tail, reached down deep into her tech-geared and creative brain, put it all on the line, empowered herself, and is “Making her Mark”!!  Yes, folks, we are officially virtual – for the time being, anyway.

The same can be said of every year and every conference planner, but 2020 has brought about its own version of difficult decisions no one necessarily wanted to make.  I feel like everyone is in the same boat in wanting and needing personal contact, laughs, hugs, and to see folks and interact personally.  Your ACRA Board is a team, a family.  One of my favorite parts of Board service is when a topic is discussed.  Thoughts and opinions and facts are presented.  Some agree; some have a different idea or a different view.  Sometimes it’s that different view that we wind up pursuing.  One person with one “half-baked idea,” as I heard it called recently, can turn into a flurry of ideas and a new focus or new direction ACRA needs to pursue.  The decision to go virtual with CEUs for 2021 was a difficult one that had us all scratching our heads and peering into those crystal balls trying to predict the future.  In the end, virtual was the best decision for ACRA for 2021, given all the financial factors at play that no one could guarantee and the fact that, as predicted, the COVID-19 positive numbers keep hitting record highs every day.  

But talk about opportunity!!!  What an excellent time to “Make our Mark” to add an additional option in obtaining NCRA pre-approved CEUs through ACRA!  The Board always strives to present a balanced conference and make it accessible for freelance reporters, as well as officials; adding a virtual conference option is a little bit of icing on the 2020 cake.  Who’s ready for cake??  (Me, Me, Me!!)  In-person conferences are not gone, they’re not forgotten, and they will be back better than ever.  

I’ve always told my family “I miss your face.”  This year has made that phrase living words for me.  Jen has some virtual tricks up her sleeve to bring everyone’s face a little closer.  Join us on Friday evening for a little time to unwind, enjoy your choice of beverage (or not), and catch up with all those faces we have missed over the year.  A special treat is in the works, complete with giveaways, games, and maybe even a few surprises during the Friday night event.  Watch your email, Facebook and Instagram pages, and the ACRA website for all the details and particulars and how to win, win, win.  

During this edition of For the Record, the nominees for the Board and Committees for the upcoming year are published for the membership to review prior to the Annual Business Meeting.  This should be my last article as your president of ACRA.  Well, 2020 and ACRA’s Constitution & Bylaws had a different thought on that subject.  (Shocker, I know.)  Specifically, the Constitution & Bylaws speak directly to in-person meetings and voting.  With that in mind, your current Board has graciously agreed to remain in place and continue serving in their current positions until an in-person conference can be scheduled and held.  Who would have imagined there would EVER be a global pandemic in our future?  I know I was pretty distracted with the whole conference-planning thing in January, but corona virus never crossed my radar.  I want to thank every member and every person serving on a committee and a heart-felt thanks to the Board for their willingness to stick this thing out and do what’s best for ACRA.  It is an honor to serve as your president, and I think I speak for the Board in saying we look forward to 2021 – Court reporters have got it under control, and we are “Making our Mark”!

One final plea – Sponsor a Student and/or make mentoring a student a New Year’s resolution!  Contact Gadsden State, NCRA, or any ACRA Board member to get matched up with a student to mentor.  Our students are invited to attend the conference virtually, and they need our support in their efforts to expand their education.  These students are our future.  Click the box on your registration form for conference to allow a student to attend conference.  Contact Jennifer Kissic, Sabrina Lewis, or Karen Strickland-Planz for information on how you can “Make your Mark” and be a blessing to a student.  

Okay – one last final plea – Register for conference!  Empower yourself through expanding your experience and expertise in the world of court reporting that we are all faced with these days.  Reconnect with your fellow reporters and see what’s going on in their circuits or freelance market areas.  We can all benefit from the blessing of staying connected and making an effort to make sure that Alabama’s Court Reporters are all prepared, all moving forward, and all making it through this time.  There’s power in numbers, and Alabama has the numbers to be Mighty Powerful and be a Mighty Blessing.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

 


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