By Jan Ballman, FAPR, RPR, CMRS – STAR Conference Co-Chair
The Veritext team had a great time at STARcon19!
STARcon19, the annual conference of the association that supports “Stenograph-Technology-Agencies & Reporters” was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 17th, 18th and 19th at the Loews Hotel, located just blocks from Paradigm Reporting & Captioning, Veritext’s Minneapolis campus.
The three-day event focused content on hot industry topics, professional development, the latest and greatest from Stenograph, as well as new-and-cool court reporter-related technologies.
The conference kicked off with training on implicit bias and how that shows itself… even specific examples of how our unintended biases can show up at work as court reporters. Fascinating.
Next, Conference Attendees were treated to training on how to think on the spot and communicate more effectively, presented by a true expert—a Minneapolis attorney who has become famous for her legal satire (she wrote an award-winning musical entitled “Soulless Bloodsucking Lawyers”). There were many take-aways, but my top one was to stay present in the moment, and listen with your undivided attention. This is impossible to do if you’re checking your phone, thinking about what you’re going to say next, or just thinking about something else. We all know there are hundreds of scenarios where we could set ourselves apart by simply being fully in the moment and giving someone or something our undivided attention.
Closing out Day 1 was a session entitled “Minne-Talks,” where 10 industry notables presented five-minute segments on their perspectives on today’s hottest topics: The consolidation in the freelance industry, the court reporter shortage and solutions around it, and the status of three differing methods of capturing the record—steno, voice and digital. The session was teed up with this video clip from a Heineken beer commercial entitled “Worlds Apart.” The next 90 minutes were filled with Minne-Talks from Mark Renzi, Christine Randall, Rick Levy, Jennifer Sati, Donna and Dayna Urlaub, Mike Miller, Tori Pittman, Janet Harris and Debbie Dibble.
Friday kicked off with a panel of high-test litigators who prolifically use court reporting services. They were asked questions like, who makes the decisions to hire the court reporter? What sorts of things influence that decision? What technologies are you using… or afraid to use? What sorts of problems have you encountered with court reporters? What things do we do that really bother you? Much insight was provided, and we were all duly enlightened.
Have you ever felt like you weren’t quite good enough or ready enough for an assignment, or to take a certification test, or to take on a particular responsibility, or to hold an office in an organization to which you belong? When people compliment you, do you tend to deflect or diminish the compliment instead of smiling and simply saying, “Thank you!”? If any of these things sound familiar, chances are, you are suffering from a form of Imposter Syndrome, and our speaker explained to the audience how to identify it… and overcome it!
STAR isn’t STAR without lots of technical content, and many Attendees go specifically to learn more about the software that drives their career from the folks who write it and train reporters on it. Veritext was pleased and proud to sponsor the “Ask A Stenograph Trainer” booth, which paid for the trainers’ time to train reporters on their software, at no cost to the reporter. As well, many classes were held by Stenograph relative to their software. There was also a hugely popular “Techy Tips & Tricks for Windows 10 and Cell Phones” presentation by a software engineer who has written code for companies such as BMW and Sears.
As is the STAR tradition, Attendees are treated to local food fare on breaks, and the days always close out at “Irv’s Place,” an iconic hospitality suite hosted by the legendary Irv Starkman, RPR, a former firm owner from Philly.
Mother Nature gratefully held the snow and sleet from the previous weekend at bay and turned on the bright sunlight in order to put on a fall colors show for the many STAR-Goers visiting Minneapolis for the first time.
Watch The Veritext Reporter for details on the spring conference, STARtech20, which will be held in Chicago in April, as well as STARcon20, which will be held in San Diego October 15-17, 2020.