Sheila Wilson, TCRA President
This is the last President’s Message I will write. When I was initially asked to serve on TCRA’s board back in 2010, my first thought was it seemed utterly ridiculous to even consider accepting the nomination. After all, I’m much more comfortable on the sidelines than out front. That’s the attitude a great many of you may share. But with much encouragement from my colleagues, I jumped in with both feet, “with absolute determination to make the most of it.” So began this long journey. During my time on the board, TCRA has tackled tough issues, been in the forefront on addressing concerns facing our profession, obtained an Attorney General opinion, filed new legislation, and spent countless hours and energy educating our members and legal assistants throughout Tennessee on who we are and what we do. There’s now been six seminars and over 200 letters on the perils of gifting, three seminars to Tennessee’s paralegal and legal assistants, four seminars on legislative efforts. The legal assistants in our state now know better who TCRA is, the services our reporters provide, and where to go to locate a Licensed Reporter in our state. As a result of these and many, many more efforts of your board and its committees, you should “be filled with gratitude and humility for our present progress and prosperity.”
This year in particular has been extremely challenging, largely due to the introduction of new legislation. Differences of opinion on issues can be healthy; however, the smear campaigns and often personal attacks on this board and its committee members have been unwarranted, hurtful, disrespectful, and have had far-reaching effects. A prime example, in seeking board nominees this year, a member expressed she would be glad to serve on the board but didn’t want to be personally attacked. Folks, that’s a sad state of affairs. Many in opposition this year have a long-established practice of opposing TCRA’s legislative efforts. This didn’t just begin this year. Many of the same names, same arguments, same practices. I encourage you to take a moment and consider that.
This is a time “We should be filled with awe and joy at what lies over the horizon.” Instead, it seems, in my humble opinion, a movement is underway to tear down and/or take over this organization, thereby negating the hard work and efforts of you, its members. As I expressed to you in February 2012, and the same holds true today, “Far too many have worked far too hard for far too long to allow this association to fail. I don’t believe this organization has failed you. I ask you not to fail it.” How can you ensure this doesn’t happen? It’s simple: come to convention and show your support. TCRA is YOUR organization. Let me make it abundantly clear, TCRA’s future is now in your hands!
I end by thanking the board, committee members, website director, executive director, and each of you individually for the honor and privilege of serving you. I have done the very best I could, and more.