President’s Message:

My Clue, My Legacy, My Passion

(Lori L. Bundy, RMR, CRR, FPR)

I am truly humbled to be FCRA’s newly-installed president. Thank you for entrusting me with this honor.

This year’s convention theme was “Get A Clue.” I want to take you on a quick journey of my career as a reporter and highlight some of the clues that I gathered along the way. I hope to encourage you while you are on your journey, and try not to scare our students who are about to embark on theirs.
When I graduated court reporting school in 1995from Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, with my Georgia court reporting certificate, I told my parents that I would probably “do” this career for a couple of years and that was it. I didn’t have a clue!

I got fired from my first reporting job ON VALENTINE’S DAY because I wasn’t taught how to be a court reporter in school, but I had the speed. After that, I thought starting my own company would be a great idea. Again, not a clue! But out of that, I started to gain experience.
It wasn’t until I moved to Florida and began working with Barb Frank that I understood what it takes to be a professional reporter. She mentored me about the importance of certification and having a knowledge of the industry, so I pursued and obtained my RPR and later my CRR. The clues were starting to come together.

In 2006, Allen Benowitz hired me to work for Veritext. I loved to get the calls from Michael Benowitz saying,“I have this job with this client. It’s got a lot of challenges, and, oh, it’s at the other end of the state and starts tomorrow.I’ll send the paperwork over. Okay?”I am one of those reporters that actually enjoyed getting those calls. The pieces and clues to my professional puzzle were forming me into the reporter that I am today, and out of those experiences, I put those clues together and became an RMR, and today I am an official federal reporter.

Along the way, I joined FCRA and learned about things that were happening around Florida that affected me and my profession, and I wanted to get involved. So I told Rick Levy that if he would let me sing karaoke at his President’s Party that I would serve on a committee for him. Talk about not having a clue about what I was doing! We’ve made it easier to join committees now. Just go to the basket room and sign up.

Somehow mysteriously after that I was asked to serve on the board.I was scared to death when I had my first Nomination Committee Skype call. I had never served on a board before. NOT A CLUE! I had my suit on, with the perfect background setting, and I was so nervous, and I made it on the board!

At the first board meeting, I was sitting in a room with the greats: Rick Levy, Sandy Estevez, Janet McKinney, and Holly Kapacinskas, just to name a few. I was also mentored by Jennifer Gaul about convention planning. We really have some great talent in this organization.

Over the next four years, I began to serve on committees, continued my board service, then chaired committees, and I learned more about FCRA, the hardworking people, and the challenges that we have in this state.

While on the convention committee, I noticed that as presidents were coming in, they were involved in picking the theme of the conference, and each one of them had a different passion about different aspects of reporting, and they worked hard to convey that position to the membership. That got me thinking. If I do make it to president, what’s my passion? I need to get a clue!!

And now here I am as incoming president with a dedicated and passionate board. What do I want to leave as my legacy? What do I want to focus my time on as president? It’s you, the membership, the students, and the board. I want this year to be about coming together and standing together for this great profession of which we have all chosen to be apart.

I would like to see mentorship be at the forefront of our minds. For the people that have been in this business for years, I ask you to give back to the generation that is starting out. I ask the students to reach out to the association or reporter friends to find a mentor. We all can play a part in this.
Cathy Carpenter was one of my mentees. My husband and I even moved her into our home while she was in court reporting school. I’m not saying you have to do that, but reach out and help the students. They are the future of this profession, and they need someone to go to when they have questions. They have the speed after graduating school. Let’s give them the knowledge to be successful in this career.

I love this quote by Martin Luther King: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? But the Good Samaritan reversed the question. If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

It is so rewarding to get calls from Cathy now, who is a working reporter, and just get to chat about jobs and about life. For those of you who have mentored in the past, I’m sure you know that feeling of pride when your mentee has their first overnight expedite or appeal and they come through with a smile on their face and success. It’s an awesome feeling.

Has anyone ever wondered what it would be like to serve on the FCRA board? How much time does it take to volunteer? How do I get on a committee? Will they even want me? If you have ever had these thoughts, yes, we want you! We need you! Board and committee service is voluntary, and it waxes and wanes with time commitments. It’s not overly burdensome, and it is very gratifying.

We are blessed to have a management company that helps us and lobbyiststhat serve as a watchdog and look out for our best interest with things that come up in government that affect our profession. We help each other and work together for the good of the association and the profession.

Court reporting is a marvelous mystery. If we all join our clues together that we have collected over the years, just think how we could strengthen this association. I encourage you to join us.

I will leave you with a quote from John F. Kennedy. “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” Thank you.