Carrie Pumnea

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Carrie Pumnea. I am the President/Owner of a freelance court reporting business that is primarily run out of Seattle, Washington. I have been in business for 22 years. We have independent contractors that work for our business, i.e. administrative staff, scopists, proofreaders, and other freelance court reporters. I cover multiple states within the United States, and I often take assignments outside of the United States.

My job is take down (write) proceedings in a pretrial setting, verbatim, and produce the written transcript for impeachment purposes and other future proceedings needed in a court setting. Court reporters are guardians of the record because of our impartiality and role within the justice process.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

Failure and rejection is part of the growth in business. Persistence and tenacity can get you far. If you want to be successful in business, you’re going to have to accept rejection. If you run away from things because of the fear of rejection, you will have many, many regrets. Rejection should be interpreted as, “I am just not there yet,” and try again. Let rejection teach you to look at other opportunities, and when the time is right go for it again.

What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.

I made the decision I didn’t like not being in control of my own business, and I decided I wanted to dip my toe into being a solo business owner. I wanted to take baby steps while I learned how to own and operate and manage a business. Instead of baby steps, I jumped off the ledge and prayed I would be able to fly. There was a lot of stress and anxiety in learning what I learned in a short time; in retrospect, had I known how difficult it would be, I likely never would have done it. I told myself over and over again, “I shouldn’t have done it,” but I am extremely happy I had the courage and tenacity to launch on my own, as my business continues to grow.

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

The supply of court reporters is currently balanced with overall demand in the United States; however, the demand for court reporters will exceed supply within five years. New technologies will continue to impact all aspects of court reporting. The stenographic court reporting profession must act quickly to maximize opportunities and prove its long-term viability to the markets it serves. Court reporters will need to embrace technologies, especially since certain aspects of court reporting have changed temporarily with the Pandemic.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

New technologies have been developed to assist the court reporting in producing an accurate record with better equipment and better software, but competing technologies are making headway. Increased emphasis on improving artificial intelligence and digital recording procedures and voice recognition software accuracy will occur when forecasted shortage of court reporters takes hold.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

Trying to “do it all.”

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

Great by Choice. This book outlines the myths and reality of what it takes to create lasting success in a fast-changing world based on three principles. Every business has to face external forces that it cannot predict nor control, and this book outlines key ideas of why some businesses are successful in the midst of uncertainty and chaos and why some are not.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

Discover yourself and be open to change. Nobody starts at the top. It takes hard work and dedication and persistence. And do not be afraid to take risks.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

“Be positive, principled, proactive, and productive.