See how this CareerConnect mentee interested in Court Reporting took on the challenges from her mentor to go further, take risks, set new goals, and achieve at higher personal and professional standards. Feel the mentor’s satisfaction at helping an emerging professional develop her potential.

The Mentee:

Hi! My name is Heather Brenton and I currently teach braille to adults seeking certification in braille literacy. Although I graduated from St. Louis University with a degree in Spanish, I’m still in the midst of reaching my long term goals. About two years ago I decided on a career change. At that time a good friend of mine told me about CareerConnect and its mentoring program and when I went online to see all they had to offer, I was happy to find solid information on career exploration and planning in addition to the mentors. Looking through the mentoring section of the site I searched for court reporters and this is where I found Carrie’s mentor profile.

I was researching at the time and really wanted to talk to someone with firsthand experience in the field so decided to send her an email which contained a ton of questions. She promptly responded with a wealth of information, plus an offer to call her. I took her up on her friendly offer to converse by phone and the rest, as they say, is history.

Carrie not only provided me with information on a career that I was interested in pursuing, but she also helped me find a direction in my pursuit of that career. What I have learned from her though goes beyond just obtaining specific information to be successful on the job as a court reporter. Through her guidance and our discussions I also have learned much about myself. For example, talking with Carrie helped me realize that I have a lot of skills and talents that can be transferred from one job to the next and all help to prepare me for my “dream job,” if you will. It was also great to be reminded that without taking risks in our journey to get to where we want to be, we will never get there.

I’ve learned that having a mentor can mean the difference between a wealth of knowledge and a ton of headaches while trying to develop a career path. Having a wealth of knowledge about the pros and cons of a particular career and its unique twists and turns is great, but sorting the information out and organizing it can be very difficult, even overwhelming!; especially if you don’t know where to begin and are in a point of transition where much is uncertain anyway. Carrie helped me sort all of this out and gave me a sense of surety and direction that I would not have had without her assistance.

Being blind since shortly after birth I am very skilled at the use of many low and high tech devices and techniques that people with vision loss use to be independent and competitive at school and work. The major accommodations I have found necessary as a student and at work are JAWS and a Braille Display, as well as a scanner with Open Book Software. The other “must” for me has been excellence in reading and writing braille. In spite of having these skills, having Carrie’s confirmation in this area was good for me.

What did I like most about the mentoring process? There was nothing I disliked, really. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and work with Carrie and appreciate the opportunity of having had her as a mentor. To be honest, her assistance with my endeavor to find the career that is best for me, as well as in my own personal development has really been invaluable and kept me from making some decisions that might not have been best.

Making the connection is totally worth it. I have learned so incredibly much and feel better prepared for the journey ahead.

The Mentor:

I am Carrie Snodgrass and I have been a CareerConnect mentor for about ten years now. I’m a Court Reporter with many years of experience in this field. As of January 1, 2007, I have had the added bonus and responsibility of owning and operating a small court reporting business which, as challenging as it is, I’m also enjoying. Some of the job duties required in my position include taking down verbatim court proceedings, depositions and board meeting notes in shorthand. Then, when requested by my clients, who are usually attorneys, I must produce a transcript of the shorthand notes. To ensure accuracy of my transcripts, when requested to read back my notes, I use a Braille Display as well as JAWS. These are also the tools I use when editing and/or taking shorthand notes.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed the occasional interactions with people who have contacted me through CareerConnect with an interest in court reporting. Heather Brenton is one of the people I have mentored. Not only was working with Heather a pleasure because we got along so well, it was also a challenge in that it made me study my day-to-day activity more closely in order to share appropriate experiences that would assist her in getting started.

Although email is primarily the way mentors and mentees communicate, communicating over the phone seemed to work well for the both of us and one strategy that I found helpful in working with Heather was being on the phone with her while sitting at my computer. With her at her computer and me at mine, I could walk her step by step through our court reporting software, adjusting settings, etc. Having Jaws was helpful because she could hear Jaws on my end and I could hear Jaws on hers.

For anyone considering becoming a mentor I’d like to let them know that it is absolutely a gratifying experience. You’ll quickly realize how enlightening it is as you begin to remember things long forgotten about your earliest days in your particular field. It helps you to remember what a challenge some things were that you have long overcome and even helps to sharpen your current skills. And, chances are you’ll find a new and greater appreciation for having accomplished your own personal goal of having the job you worked so hard to have.