What is STAR and why should I be a part of STAR? By James Connor, STAR President

STARtech21 is officially in the books. It was a great virtual conference. President of STAR, Jim Connor, shares with us the value of being a STAR member and participating in conferences/conventions.

First, by way of background, STAR stands for Stenograph, Technology, Agencies, and Reporters. STAR was formed as a Stenograph users group initially to support and learn about their product offerings. But STAR has evolved over the past 25-plus years to be so much more.

I first became a member 17 years ago. I had no idea what STAR was because I didn’t use the Stenograph software at the time, I only owned their steno machine. I was at another industry conference when a colleague said, “If you want to be at the top of your game professionally, you need to join STAR. That’s where all of the industry leaders meet to share ideas, discuss today’s challenges, and forge the future.”

So I joined, and I am so glad I did. I have met so many colleagues from all over the country who I now am able to call friends. But more than that, I have grown as a person and as a professional within our industry of court reporting. STAR opens doors for the individual freelance reporter,  official reporter, as well as the firm owner.

STAR in the past recent years has broadened its membership base to be more inclusive for persons who are working within our industry other than reporters. So far that has included videographers, scopists, and office staff in addition to our core membership. But now we are opening those doors even wider for reporters and related personnel utilizing other methods of capturing the verbatim record. Those would include voice writers, digital reporters, transcriptionists and personnel who support those various professions.

STAR provides so much bang for the buck when it comes to membership. We pride ourselves on providing educational opportunities, networking with colleagues, and training on Stenograph products for our members via our spring and fall conferences each year. And as a result of the pandemic, STAR has taken it a step further with monthly webinars with various content, whether that be product and software training, professional development, or motivational content. Members receive this at either no cost or nominal cost AND they receive CEUs in the process.

As STAR expands our membership, so too will the conferences be expanded to include content to the other constituent groups. As an example, we have just this year created a Firm Owner Liaison Committee in addition to our longstanding Technology Liaison Committee. Leaders from around the country who are involved in these committees meet periodically to discuss today’s obstacles, share and offer new ideas. We intend to build upon this strategy of inclusion by adding additional constituent-specific content and seminars going forward.

STAR wants to be a home for all within our industry of court reporting/record capture, whether they be steno, videography, digital, voice, or transcription; firm owner, scopist, freelance or official court reporter. We can all coexist in this industry and learn from each another. STAR strives to be that safe place where professionals of all kinds can gather to find inspiration/motivation and education to meet the challenges of the future. Please join us, won’t you?

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