My experience at Steno in the City: the Fearless Stenographers conference in April was no less than fantastic! Shaunise Day did an amazing job bringing together stenographers of all types to learn, grow, and have fun together. Having an inside look into where this skill can take me was invaluable as a student. I loved seeing all the different sides to this profession from freelancing, to officialships, to even working in federal court. If any students are thinking about going to conventions and wondering if they’re worth it, I can say without a doubt they are! Especially Steno in the City! The motivation and support you will receive from everyone is amazing. I have never met such a wonderful group of people. Thank you, Shaunise, for putting this together! You did a great job!

Rachel Franklin

My experience in joining my very first steno conference was at Shaunise Day’s Steno In The City Fearless Stenographers Conference in Atlanta.  As a student, I believe it takes a lot of courage to execute the decision to attend a conference alone, and I am so grateful that I did.  The SITC Conference brought me and my vision of becoming a stenographer so much closer to reality.  It provided me with the opportunity to network with some of the most highly noted stenographers and CART Captioners in the business. 

Although I had interacted with some professionals via Zoom by attending virtual symposiums with Plaza College, and on social media, nothing beats meeting the pros and gurus of the profession in person.  I was totally star struck!  I still am!  Nevertheless, my takeaways not only added followers on all social media platforms, I left my mark and an honorable impression on everyone I came in contact with and created what I believe to be a huge stepping stone in the wake of my future as a stenographer.  I am forever grateful and can’t wait to join the next one!!! 

Lydia Martinez

I went to my first Steno in the City Fearless Stenographers Conference in Atlanta this year, and all I can say is wow!  It was the breath of fresh air that I needed in my professional life.  I left there so encouraged, proud, and excited to be a steno court reporter.  And not only that, it has led me to set some GOALS for myself!  Being around so many other reporters (and students) of all ages with varying years of service and experience in our industry brought some great perspectives.  There was a strong emphasis on professional growth, networking, and striving to hone and perfect our steno gifts.  Each speaker was outstanding and I learned a lot about a variety of topics.

And the personal touches ~ the photo opportunities with the beautiful backdrops, and how cool was the 360 photo booth, professional headshots for all of us!  You could definitely feel that the intent of this conference is encouragement and setting each other up to WIN.

My takeaway is I’m now a lifelong attendee, and I would encourage anyone who’s curious about it to GO.  You will not be disappointed.  Whether you’ve been reporting a year or 40 years, the heart that went into creating this conference will benefit everyone.  Iron sharpens iron.  

Annie Grant

I attended Steno in the City for the second time this year. Just like last year, I was surrounded by highly skilled experienced court reporters, in addition to students and brand-new reporters. SITC is a wonderful opportunity to meet and spend time with reporters around the country who I have been lucky enough to work with over the years. The expo hall and seminars provide knowledge about what’s going on in the field and help me to grow in the industry while understanding the reporters’ experience. I will definitely be attending again next year!

Lauren Grupper

Wow, what a conference! I cannot express how much l enjoyed SITC! I have been to many conferences but this was the best! From the fabulous networking to the extraordinary conference content from Kim Xavier and all the other great speakers, l learned so much.  l hate to admit but there have been times I have skipped sessions and gone shopping, but not this time. Thank you Shaunise for your hard work in putting this together. l can only imagine all the work required.  l will be there for the next and the next event.

Laverne Reinhardt-Beard

I had an absolutely wonderful time at Steno in the City!  I loved the fact that it was a small, intimate gathering and so I got to really get to connect with people.   It was so much fun to meet several Facebook friends in person for the first time. The sessions were very enjoyable and relevant and I left energized and excited about my profession.  

I have to add, as a voice stenographer, I appreciated the session by the awesome Tori Pittman.  I feel that it was a highly appropriate, necessary, and informative session.  I was glad to see it well attended.  Machine and voice stenographers working together CAN stop the shortage! I am so glad I made the choice to attend Steno in the City 2023 and I can’t wait for next year’s event! 

Jennifer Murphy

Some say in order to grow a seed must first be planted under the best conditions, be that space or time. Shaunise Day, the founder of Steno in the City, is the seed. She planted herself in local, state and national organizations. Here she gained exposure and experience, which gave her the tools necessary to launch Steno in the City.  In just a few short years, her brainchild has become an industry leader and disruptor in what conferences should be — inclusive, forward-thinking and modern.  

At Steno in the City, it is common to see students, new professionals and working reporters equally celebrated. It is common to see reporters who have not been recognized for their leadership in the past recognized for their contributions to our industry. At Steno in the City, it is common to see teary-eyed speeches with no Oscars’ play-off music because everyone deserves their unlimited time to shine.

At Steno in the City, it is common to have hard conversations about how we can move this industry forward. It is common for reporters to discuss things that are no longer serving our industry well while offering solutions for the future. At Steno in the City, it is common to see industry leaders embracing technology by working smarter and not harder. It is common to see social media influencers sharing modern ways to promote our profession.

Steno in the City encapsulates all of the above and so much more, which was only made possible by Shaunise Day putting in endless hours to bring us together. Shaunise Day is a change agent wrapping up what people used to consider a daunting day of seminar sessions into a beautiful purple bow and adding music, cocktail hours, dancing and connection. 

Kensie Benoit

My first experience attending Steno In The City was absolutely “ahhhh-mazing!”  I am definitely hooked and looking forward to my next opportunity to attend a SITC event.  If you have not taken the opportunity to attend a SITC event, I highly encourage you to do so.  You will not be disappointed.  The wealth of knowledge and positive energy is phenomenal.  SITC exudes passion to the nth degree for our profession. If you attended this event in Atlanta and left without being moved by the love for this profession, you better check your pulse.

Kudos to Shaunise Day for her continued vision of keeping stenographers relevant and arming us with the necessary tools to get the job done.  Her commitment to this adventure is unstoppable and heartwarming.  Thank you, Shaunise, for inviting me to participate as a panel member.   I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity.

Judy Bellinger

This was my first time attending a Steno in The City conference.  Having attended many conferences and seminars throughout my 30 years as a court reporter, I must say this conference was by far the best!  The myriad of speakers at the conference and what each of them shared was invaluable.  Reminiscing with former colleagues and meeting new fellow court reporters from all over the U.S. was inspiring!  I am looking forward to attending another Steno in The City conference in the future!

Monica Bailey

This convention junkie says, “Mark your calendars for next year”! I’ve been to a few professional conventions – software, state, national, international – and some excellent ones too. The 2023 Steno in the City Fearless Stenographer conference in Buckhead (Atlanta) was top tier, y’all.  Shaunise poured her heart into this event and you could see it in so many details.

The location was fantastic – walkable to restaurants, across from shopping, not too hard to get to with public transport (though I must say, the parking per night was OUCH!). The sessions were timely and relevant. The speakers were dynamic and engaging, full of inspiring tips, tricks, and positive energy. The social events were over the top – from guest speakers, DJs, and photo ops, to mocktails, jazz saxophone, and specialty sweets, to the final group photo on the stairs: Every little thing was simply fabulous. The awards luncheon brought a tear to a few eyes, I’m sure, with scholarships and a special award to a deserving new reporter. Our influencers got a chance to shine, our speed demons were able to make magic, and our leaders showed exactly why they are considered leaders. When the 2024 event gets announced, do everything in your power to arrange your schedule to accommodate this empowering, enlightening, and invigorating professional event.  You won’t be disappointed. 

Tori Pittman

This was my first SITC conference, and it definitely will not be my last!  Networking is so important in this industry, and this event was perfect for that! Of course, there were wonderful seminars to earn my CEUs at as well! But Shaunice went above and beyond to make sure the networking part of the conference was amazing.  I loved having vendors there as well as the free headshots.  We could always use a new headshot once in a while!  I loved meeting new people, and soaking up all the positivity this convention brought to my life!

Regina DeMoville

Steno in the City 2023: It’s Good to be Back!

 My last court reporting convention was NCRA in 2015 held in New York City.  I left it worn out from that weekend.  I had my fill of the big crowds, too many seminars to choose from, and felt like there was not a whole lot of content that interested me.   I had a wonderful time seeing my colleagues from all over the country as well as the students I mentored at the time, but overall, I felt empty from the whole experience.  I got to spend time with my mentor and frequent article co-author, Monette Benoit.  But still something was missing for me, and I decided to attend my state convention to support my state association as I always have since 1993 when I was a student.

Then Shaunise Day and Steno in the City came into my life.  I was impressed with what she was doing and her first few events looked awesome.  The timing, however, did not work for me and I could not make them.  Then in late 2022, Shaunise messaged me and asked to speak to me on the telephone one night.  I agreed and it took one phone conversation to convince me that Shaunise was authentic, and I was agreeing to present a Case CATalyst seminar as well as speak about some of the high-profile trials I have reported in my courthouse over the years.  Trust me, it did not take too much convincing.  And I am willing to give an up-and-comer with an amazing amount of positive energy a chance to make it big!

Then SITC 2023 in Atlanta arrived.  I was pumped to go to a new city as well as see my friends from all over the country.  The seminar lineup was packed with great content just from reading the descriptions, and I could not wait to be part of this.  I arrived late Thursday morning and was greeted by some friends who were in the lobby.  The smiling faces and the hugs breathed new life into me.  I could feel the positive energy in the house immediately.  I got to see all my favorite steno-influencers like Denee Vadell (@stenofluencer)and McKalie Bellew (@macnugget_meal), and a whole host of others! I was starstruck to see them in person!

I gave my Case CATalyst seminar that afternoon, and all I could see were smiling faces in the audience.  We had lots of laughs, and a wonderful time of learning was had by all.  The networking reception was amazing.  The speakers, the entertainment, the food!  All high quality!  The view of the Buckhead section of Atlanta at night was the perfect backdrop for this event.  The sky’s the limit for Shaunise and Steno in the City!

Over the course of the next two full days, I was treated to fun and educational seminars.  Kim Xavier was funny and uplifting.  Tori Pittman changed my mind about voice writing.  Regina DeMoville sharing her captioning experiences gave me insight into an area of the profession I have limited experience in and nothing like Regina’s experience.  To see my friend, Charisse Kitt, receive her award was a highlight and a well-deserved honor for one of the hardest working reporters and advocates for the profession I know.  Every seminar was in one room, so I did not have to navigate a giant hotel, find seminar rooms, and run late to a seminar which helped me save my energy that I could devote to other things like networking and talking and staying up late with friends talking about reporting and our families.

Another highlight was to see the winners of the Speed in the City contest, some of whom I count as friends and some I made their acquaintance in that weekend.   I got to share a dais with Judy Bellinger, the reporter from the Johnny Depp trial.   It was so cool to share the dais with Judy.  My long-time Facebook friend, Kensie Benoit, was the moderator, and it was great seeing a fellow steno-pro who I’ve been following since she was in school and finally get to meet her.  Michelle Kirkpatrick and Kayla Lotstein’s seminar was thought-provoking and prompted lively discussion amongst the audience members.  

The time spent with long-time friends as well as new friends was precious, and the information shared at dinner and at the hotel lounge was just as valuable as the seminars that I attended.  The cupcake reception was such an original idea and was a perfect end to a perfect day of seminars.

I am certain I am leaving out other memorable moments, but Shaunise asked me to keep this to four paragraphs which I am way over my limit now.   In conclusion, when you see Steno in the City 2024 advertised, make plans to attend and have a great time!  

Anthony D. Frisolone

This phenomenal event was created and presented by the dedicated and steadfast visionary, Shaunise Day.  Shaunise will be the first to tell you that it couldn’t have happened without the many hands and minds of those who have attended in the past and who have a lot of love, faith, and support for Shaunise.  What words can I use to describe the Steno In The City Conference that I attended in Atlanta in March of 2023?  The words that come to mind are exuberant, awe‐inspiring, ebullient, jubilant, and the list goes on.  From the moment I entered the hotel, I could feel the energy and excitement in the air.  You could almost cut it with a knife.  And the event did not disappoint.  In fact, that same level of energy, effervescence, joy, and excitement carried through to the very last day when everyone was invited to join in on the color‐themed group picture on a palace‐style staircase.  But don’t be fooled. 

This was not just a social event for those fun‐loving people who love and respect the court reporting profession.  The number of seminars and presentations was by far the most varied and interesting of all the conventions and conferences I have ever attended and by star‐quality presenters.  There was something for everybody, the official, the freelancer, the student, the voice writer, the captioner, the videographer, the Internet influencer, the tech‐savvy enthusiast, the speed contest dream chaser, those looking to learn something new from software training, and even those interested in high profile court cases and TV shows.  There was something for everybody, and I have no doubt that this year’s event was only a prelude to the magnificent things to come in the future. How much better can it get?  I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out.

Scott Wallace

As professionals, we attend conferences to build up our network and community, but sometimes that can be more daunting than rewarding.  You might have the goal of trying to talk to one new person over a conference weekend, and you hype yourself up to do just that, only to end up hiding in the corner with your drink observing the room because the whole idea of approaching someone new just seems bigger than you.  We’ve all been there. I’m still working on my approach. I recently attended my first Fearless Stenographers Conference in Atlanta, the first conference
I’ve attended since Covid, and I have to say, it was very impressive.  Founded by Shaunise Day, this was her second annual Fearless conference, and her hard work did not go unnoticed by those of us in attendance.  Shaunise is the embodiment of “fearless,” and after a weekend of observation, here are my top three reasons why stenographers – whether you’re an aspiring student, new reporter, or veteran reporter – needs to attend this conference:

Outstanding presentations/presenters.  There were your learning seminars, which ranged from learning new briefs and phrases to a look into the captioning world to learning what a certified voice writer actually does.  All were very insightful and fun and put on well by the presenters.

Then there were a couple of items on the agenda that made me personally sit up and pay attention: showing up for yourself and deconstructing old industry beliefs.  You know, the things we don’t really talk about, like self-care and boundaries and burnout and turning down work when you’re overloaded and making rest a priority (who needs sleep anyway) and not being afraid to ask for help or advice…  I could go on and on, but here are three reminders I took away
for myself:

1) Don’t be ashamed to charge for your services communicate your needs having boundaries is good,
healthy, and serves everyone, including the client. Can I get an amen?  Personally, I live for
this kind of real-talk. If you’re all about a fresh perspective on industry standards, then this conference is for you.

2) Authenticity. Stenographers, do you love your job?  I mean like really, really love your job?  Like, thanking your lucky stars that you found this profession and all of the opportunity it’s brought to you?Everyone at Fearless loved their jobs and loved the industry, and it didn’t matter what part of the  industry they were in: freelance, official, captioner, CART, voice writer…  They all loved it, and their passion for their careers and this industry was for sure palpable throughout the weekend. However, I have to say, authenticity is contagious.  Shaunise, at the helm of this conference, showed up as her authentic self all weekend, and her love for stenographers and this industry just radiated off of her.  When leaders show up as their authentic selves, people usually gravitate towards that.  And that’s exactly what happened during this conference.  What a breath of fresh air to observe! If you’re looking for authenticity, then this conference is for you.

3) Community:

We all need community, and community is usually formed from shared values.  A brief excerpt from the Fearless conference mission statement:  “We are coming together to unite, celebrate, empower, educate, and advocate for the court reporting and captioning profession. Together, we are stronger.  The goal of this conference is to empower you to be the best court reporter that you can be.” Stenographers, you know you are something special and that you have a very unique skill not many can obtain.  This conference celebrates that, celebrates you, and those who were in attendance celebrated each other, their accomplishments, talked of how they call each other for support when trying to obtain their next certification, cried for each other, loved each other.  I teared up over the weekend many times just watching and listening to these stories.  This was a great reminder that stenographers are not just people who sit behind machines, but humans who need this kind of community to keep going.  This profession needs this.   Students in court reporting school and new professionals need to see this and be a part of this, and this conference welcomes that. If you’re looking for your community, then this conference is for you.

This conference is a fresh perspective to an industry that’s been around a long time, and it brings everyone to the table.   I plan to return to Fearless next year, and I hope that you’ll join me.

Donna Urlaub & Associates