President's Message:

 

Tracy Finan, RPR, FPR-C, CCR(GA)
2021-2022 Florida Court Reporters Association President

Hello, Fabulous Florida Reporters!  

It’s still hard to believe that I have been chosen as president of this amazing association that has advocated for Florida verbatim reporters for 60 years!   When I started this career 25 years ago (or more, but who’s counting!), I never envisioned this moment.  Court reporting was supposed to be a temporary stop after I gave birth to my daughter before going back to school to pursue a law degree.  

I am not comfortable in the spotlight -- I’m not a firm owner or a rockstar, nationally-renowned reporter/captioner, speed-contest winner – I am just a working freelance reporter who decided to quit being an armchair quarterback, get off the sidelines, and get in the game to volunteer my time with FCRA and help all Florida reporters. 

I think everyone who becomes president of FCRA wonders how we got here -- or RATHER, “Who’s to blame for this?” Lol!   In my case, I know who two of them are.  One nominated me and the other would never let me turn in my resignation.  They are both selfless advocates who gave their time and hearts to FCRA behind the scenes (Danielle Freeze Wall and Donna Kanabay).  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my entire FCRA board and committee family that educated and encouraged me along the way.   I am thankful for every one of you!

FCRA’s 2021 convention theme was Honoring Our Past; Dominating Our Future.  60 years ago, individual reporters decided to join voices and efforts to make a difference, and they laid the groundwork for this organization which strives to serve and advocate for the Florida verbatim reporter, steno and voice.  Today, the Florida Court Reporters Association is hard to rival in its ingenuity and promotion of this amazing profession.  

Nik Wallenda, famous acrobat, aerialist, daredevil, highwire artist, and author, was our keynote speaker at the convention, and it was very fitting because starting a presidency without Donna Kanabay and Jennifer Gaul, two of our greatest supporters who left us too soon in 2020, feels much like stepping out onto a highwire with no safety net.   

The last year before becoming president, I was reading back through the archives of our magazine, The Florida Reporter, which can be found by clicking here,  and, particularly, Donna Kanabay’s Diamond Vault and the presidents’ messages trying to absorb all their wisdom, and  I realized that our problems today are neither unique nor novel – what is old is new again, just in a new decade.  Together, if we rely on the sage wisdom of our past with the sensibilities and advances of today, there is no obstacle we can’t overcome – even the 2020-sized obstacles we’ve recently navigated.     

Never forget:  We are the Gold Standard of capturing the record and that will always dominate and secure our future.  Even though every job you do may feel like you are stepping out onto a highwire, don’t worry, you can do it -- you are a court reporter, and your superpower is unparalleled!

Today, more than ever, we need all of you and more of you --the individual reporters, our reporting firms, and all our colleagues who guard the record -- to join us to keep our voices strong in Florida.   Thank you to all who are current members!  Directly, because of your membership, our FCRA Government Relations Committee, through our lobbying team in Tallahassee, Corinne Mixon and Diana Ferguson of Rutledge Ecenia, were able to secure our fresh off-the-press success with making remote oath permanent.  It will become law January 1, 2022.   You can donate to the Legislative PAC by clicking here.

Additionally, FCRA, via the incredible Sheri Smargon, has rolled out a skills portion to accompany our Florida Professional Reporter™ certification.  Holding the FPR-C™ shows you have knowledge of Florida rules and laws AND demonstrates to clients you have the skills necessary to capture their record.   Our Schools Committee, through generous supporters, has several events planned this year to recruit and support our future reporters.   You can donate to students by clicking here.

These successes are tangible proof of what our collective voices can do, and what you, individual reporters, through your membership have accomplished.  FCRA has been working hard for Florida reporters but needs YOUR membership and support to continue to represent this profession in our state.    So, if you haven’t joined before or haven’t renewed, please consider becoming a member today.  There is so much talent, passion, and wisdom in our state among our reporters.  Help us help you!  

2020 reinforced a truth we all know:  Life is short.  Live it well.  So, in closing, I would ask you all to be good to yourselves.   Individual reporters started this association, and the individual reporter is the foundation, the cornerstone, that everything is built upon. You are the most important part of the dynamic.  Never forget your value or let anyone else minimize it.  Your skill and dedication cannot be replicated or rivaled.  Invest in yourself, both professionally and personally, so you can dominate your future!