Leann Barrick Marks Nine Years of Devoted Service
When Leann Barrick signed on as office manager for Benchmark Reporting Agency nine years ago, she was ready for a change. She did not know then that the people at Benchmark would become family and that the personal tragedy she suffered years before would make her the valued and respected person she is today.
Leann deftly manages the office and acts as a liaison, balancing the scheduling and needs of owners, employees, clients and a staff of 20 court reporters, a complex task that involves using her attuned listening skills to solve issues and appease everyone.
Her people skills are well known and respected at the agency. Leann believes it was her family tragedy that shaped her communication and insight. “I have become more compassionate since my whole world changed,” she said. “I really care about people and people make the job. That’s what matters. Benchmark has become my family. It’s not just a job.”
These days assisting her court reporting family is an elaborate responsibility. Depositions make up a bulk of the assignments and she arranges over 50 a week, scheduling reporting and video services, as well as litigation support in a cost-effective manner. Autumn is an especially active time, as there is an influx of law firms scheduling depositions in order to close out their cases by the end of the year.
She finds the most challenging part of her work is trying not to become emotionally affected or personally involved in cases where an individual is hurting or made an unfortunate move. “I am passionate about what I do,” she says. “I have been through the worst and nothing else compares, so I try to resolve concerns in the best way for everyone. Some people may look at this connection as a downfall, but I look at it as a strength. Women are great problem solvers.”
Though Leann struggles personally with how she can effectively make a difference in a stressful industry, she also finds it the most fulfilling aspect of her work. Her co-workers say she makes an impact on the people she encounters—new clients who need help navigating the reporting process, office staff that needs to vent from time to time, and counseling where needed. “I am a sounding board for others,” says Leann. “I give them wings and watch them fly.”
And fly they do. Benchmark has made significant contributions to the court reporting community, Leann observes, both in technological savvy and in the trust they’ve earned from clients for their responsibility and integrity. “Aimee put us light years ahead of national corporations with her advances in technology, and Eric is good with people, the best schmoozer there is,” she said.
Benchmark has an investment in the future of court reporters, as a current shortage has left the industry seeking qualified applicants. The demand is high and the requirements are rigid. Some students struggle to cope, says Leann.
“Many people today seek instant gratification,” she said. “But to have the endurance to complete a task means you are committed. You can say, ‘I did this.’ You have something sustainable.”
How does Leann fortify her endurance? She goes to the casinos to release and forget about stress; she reads and walks and enjoys life through her grandchildren’s eyes.
“I’m blessed,” she says, “but every day I ask myself if I have made enough of an impact in what I do in order to achieve what I want.”