Narrator: 00:00 Hello and thank you for listening to Subject to Interpretation, hosted by Agustin de la Mora. My name is Claudia. And my name’s Kayla, and we are the producers of this program. Before we get into today’s interview with special guest Robert Cruz, who is the executive director at the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, also known as NAJIT, we wanted to bring you the latest announcements from de la Mora Interpreter Training. If you found this on Facebook, we’d like to remind you that you may download this directly to your phone wherever podcasts are available. Now onto some more exciting news. If you’re a medical interpreter, be sure to check out our medical assignment prep course beginning November 1st. This course will help prepare you for medical assignments, no matter what the subject may be. Learn research strategies and get hands on practice in various topics and helpful terminology. Also, Finding the Parallels Summit is being held here in Orlando, Florida, November 9th, 10th, and 11th. And great news, you can actually take advantage of our early bird registration price for one more week. Florida interpreters can earn their 16 cie credits all in one weekend. So don’t miss out on this rewarding educational opportunity. And for more information, please visit the links in the description. Stay tuned for next week’s podcast, featuring Natalia Ferreira, who is the conference interpreter recently elected as the new AIIC USA regional secretary. And last week we asked you guys to send in your questions so we can answer them on air. And here are the three most frequently asked questions from you guys. “So when will your next 40-hour medical and legal courses begin?” Well, good news. That will begin next year, early January. So make sure to go on our website. Those dates have already been published. But if you are needing an oral exam prep, we are offering a language neutral option this December. So if you’re taking the test early January or you would like to prepare now, make sure to sign up. Okay. And “what is the best way to keep up with my continuing education credits?” Well, the best way is to join our de la Mora Membership. We offer a monthly webinars. We also offer a ceu video library where you’ll have a library of courses that can offer you continued education credits. So join us today! “And does that membership include medical training options?” Unfortunately, not right now, but if you join our free membership, you will be updated the moment we do. We hope to have medical options early next year. So stay tuned. Exciting. Well, we appreciate you all for listening in. We do pride ourselves in being one of the very few podcasts for professional interpreters out there, so please share us with all of your colleagues. We would love to hear more of your feedback and questions and we’ll continue answering the frequently asked questions here on the podcast. So please feel free to contact our office and you will most likely speak to one of us. Until next week! Now enjoy the interview with Robert. Bye!
Agustin: 03:18 Hello everyone, and welcome to Subject to Interpretation, our podcast for de la Mora Interpreter Training where we always have very interesting guests to share with you stories about interpretation, translation, and our business and community of interpreters. So today we’re honored and very happy to have Robert Cruz with us. Rob Cruz is the executive director of NAJIT, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, and I consider him a very good friend of mine and uh, I had the pleasure to meet him when he was probably nine years old, and he started in this business very young, and he was just starting to get serious about court interpretation and we met in Tennessee a long, long time ago. So I’ll let him introduce himself, so, how are you doing Rob?
Robert: 04:09 I’m doing great Agustin, thanks for sending out this invitation. I’m glad to be here.
Agustin: 04:15 Okay. So, uh, tell us a little bit about how you ended up getting into interpretation, Rob, because that’s not, that’s not what you wanted to do when you were five years old, right? You probably wanted to be a fireman or something?
Robert: 04:29 An astronaut of course. But, uh, interestingly enough though, when I do interpreter trainings, one of the, there’s two, the, one of the main questions that I get right away is people asked me when, when did I first become an interpreter? And it’s funny you say five years old, because that’s the answer that I always give. And that’s because I grew up in little Havana in Miami, in the early seventies, and it truly was little Havana, and none of the teachers in our school system actually spoke Spanish and my mother did not speak English. So my first interpreter assignment was the first parent teacher conference, which I think was when I was in kindergarten. And it’s a very valuable lesson to any stakeholders out there listening that you never want the interpreter to have a interest in the outcome of the interpretation, because the teacher told my mom that although I seem to be fairly intelligent, I was quite the class clown. And so of course I told my mom in my best Spanish that the teacher says that you should be very proud. And uh, and as it turns out, I received an increase in my allowance and the teacher thought that she had gotten me in trouble. But in all seriousness though, I really have always been in love with the law. But to be perfectly frank, uh, just not patient enough or willing to do some of the things that need to be done to be an attorney. So I felt that being involved in the law was something that was going to, you know, not be in the cards for me, and it was by choice, and so I’ve had several iterations of careers, but at the time I had, uh, worked for many years for a marketing company, a sales position. I was a sales trainer and, and I had been able to have had the fortune of walking away from it and having some time off for a year and I was bored. And so I decided to do something crazy and buy a, uh, an independent mom and pop grocery store. And it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done. And it did not turn out very well. It was a very long one year. But I could not sell it fast enough. But interestingly enough, uh, there was a judge that would come into the grocery store, because it had a deli, kind of like a fresh market kind of thing. And so when I was closing the store, he, he told me, he said, well, what are you going to do next? You’re going to go back to being retired? And I said, no, I can’t afford it. I lost my shirt with this grocery store, so I do have to find something to do. And he knew that I was bilingual and as most monolingual people may think, you know, they think that, that’s enough. But he put me, uh, put the interpreter program in Tennessee on the radar for me, which had started just three years before.
Robert: 07:23 And so I started to look into that and I immediately fell in love with, with the process and, and thought this might, you know, from the, everything that happens for a reason category, this might be what I’ve always wanted because it would allow me to work in the judiciary without having to have gone to law school and all of those things. So that’s, that’s essentially how I got into it. And, uh, I think that I attended one of your prep workshops in, in Nashville. And, uh, thanks to your suggestion to record yourself as you are preparing for the exam, I realized exactly how awful I was and how much, uh, work it really was going to take. And make a long story short, I did pass the written test and, you know, on the first try and, um, I did pass the oral exam in the first try, and I did receive a 92 in these simultaneous portion, which at the time, I’m not sure at this point, but at the time it was the highest score in the history of the Tennessee program, which like I said, was a nascent program at that time.
Robert: 08:36 Um, so that, that actually prompted the AOC in Tennessee to invite me to a TAPIT conference, which is where I learned about NAJIT and, uh, to, to actually present on how I was able to pass the test. And based on recording my first session, as you suggested Agustin, my, my presentation was entitled, uh, From Atrocious to Ninety-Two, because that’s really where, you know, where I went. And so, um, you really, you know, played an instrumental role and pointed me in the right direction. And a lot of hard work and you know, 14 years later, here I am still interpreting in Tennessee. And still involved with NAJIT.
Agustin: 09:14 Yeah, that’s a very interesting story. I didn’t know the whole story. I do remember you being in my class because uh, I went to the next NAJIT and I can’t remember where it was– and there you are, you know, and you are already being very active. I remember you being one of the people asking questions of the board at the time. So I was like, oh, I remember that kid, he was in one of my classes in Tennessee. So. And now that you are an interpreter and–are you, do you still interpret every now and then in court?
Robert: 09:47 Actually, I interpret pretty much Monday through Thursday, I normally only, I’m only able to interpret about a half a day because of my NAJIT responsibilities. As you know, Agustin, you know, the, a lot of the day to day, behind the scenes of NAJIT is done by Susan, by my spouse and, but of course, you know, I do have a lot of responsibilities as the executive director, so I really don’t have the ability to interpret, you know, all day every day like I used to, but to be fair and in the area of Tennessee that I live, it’s a, it, you know, it’s not a high-volume caseload area, like you would be in a border town or something like that.
Robert: 10:25 And also because I’ve been doing it for about 14 years, I, I have a good relationship with the courts and they are very flexible where constitutional issues aren’t, aren’t at stake to accommodate my schedule. Uh, and so, um, I’m fortunate I’m, I’m able to interpret usually Monday through Thursday at least a couple of hours, sometimes four hours a day. So I, I really wouldn’t want to give that up and I don’t think that I would’ve taken my new role if I would have had to fully give up interpreting. I just love it too much.
Agustin: 10:56 Yeah. It’s kind of addictive and I, I know what you’re saying because I remember I fell into interpreting kind of the same way, and because somebody thought, hey, you’re a teacher, you should interpret, and I went to the courts and a guy hired me because I worked for Berlitz and that was a good school.
Robert: 11:14 So there you go now, and probably like it, the first time I went to a courtroom, I had very little idea of what to do, but here we are, a few years later, for me a lot more than 14, for me it’s more like 30, but yeah, you’re right. Every time I can I still catch some assignments because it’s really cool and I tell people, it was so interesting for me because the first time I did a trial, I was amazed that they actually paid me to do it. It was so interesting. I go like, I felt like a voyeur and getting paid for it. So it was really cool. And here we are many years– so then you go to NAJIT, first as a member, and you climbed the stairs, and for awhile you were actually a member of the board, right?
Speaker 3: 11:59 Yeah, actually I was on the board of directors of NAJIT for six years, which is the maximum before you are politely asked to leave by the bylaws. And I was, I was the chair for the last three of those six, which is also the longest that you can be the chair. So I kind of felt like I maximized my, my NAJIT time on, on the board and in volunteering.
Speaker 2: 12:21 And I really admire that because I myself have never served on the board. I’ve been invited, but I, I guess I’m a little, uh, uh, less a giving than you are, because I had never served, but I know that it’s a labor of love to be involved with NAJIT and I really keep on doing what I can from the outside, uh, for the institution that I guess we both love. And then how did you turn around and now you work for NAJIT again?
Speaker 3: 12:49 Well, this is a very interesting thing. It’s, it’s very serendipitous, um, you know, prior to being–prior to and then also at the same time that I was on the board for at least one year, I was on the, the tap at the Tennessee Association board of directors. Um, so I, I had experienced being on nonprofit boards. I was also on the board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee. I was on the board of directors of the, uh, Athens Arts Council in a small town in Tennessee. So I had quite a bit of experience with nonprofits from the volunteering point of view. I also, as, as, as a result, had a lot of experience with the folks that actually get paid to manage the nonprofits. And one of the things that I found was that you really are at a, at a disadvantage as, as a volunteer on a board of directors when there’s so much more that can be done from the management perspective. Because a lot of times the people that volunteer for these different types of boards are subject matter experts. They’re experts in their industry or their profession or whatever that might be, but just like with interpreters, I find that they don’t necessarily come to the profession or to serve with a whole lot of business experience. And that’s something that I had done for many, many years before I had my career. Semi retirement for lack of a better word. And then the grocery store and then going into interpreting is–I was doing a lot of work with chambers of commerce and with helping, uh, individuals to create their own business, organize their business, incorporate their own businesses. I did a lot of motivational seminars and sales seminars and management seminars and effective communication and things of that nature and reading spreadsheets and reading balance sheets. And so when I was on the last year of my natural term as a, as a director and as the chair, uh, my wife and I sat down and she was, you know, in Corporate America, her background was, is in financial planning, and she’d been doing that for over 20 years. And so we felt that with, with my collective experience in the volunteering world, also in the business world, in her business planning, event planning, uh, those types of things, taxes, it really seemed like we could have a very, a good management company that would manage nonprofits. And so that is what we decided to do. And so towards the end of my term, we actually began the process of incorporating our own business with the goal of over time building it up and over time, you know, getting enough contracts or, or one major contract, however that might turn out so that she could then leave the corporate world and just strictly work for our company. And uh, as luck would have it, you can imagine it’s very common conversation when you’re leaving a board when you’ve been around for six years. I felt like I had done, and I don’t mean this in a bad way, I think everyone should do it. But I felt like I had done my share of volunteering. And so I really didn’t view myself going onto like the next organization to volunteer on that board. And so I told the people that were on the board exactly what my plans were and it never really dawned on me, it was never even in my mind a possibility that I would end up, you know, actually, you know, having the management company that managed budget, that was never my intention, that was never even a plan. Um, as, as luck would have it, the board that, that succeeded the board that I was on, and I was not in touch with NAJIT at all at that point, I went to the Atlanta conference because it was relatively close to where I, to where we, you know, we live, we can commute back and forth from and to Atlanta. So we did that. And in talking to some of the board members, they, uh, you know, intimated that there might be some changes with the management company, uh, at NAJIT. And I was asked if, if Susan and I were still entertaining that possibility and we said yes. And we started the process of incorporating. And it was just a few months after that that we were approached and asked, you know, would you be interested in, you know, in essence, submitting a bid to the board for how much, you know, you all would charge to do this for, for NAJIT. So, uh, that’s in essence how, you know, how it came to be. And I think it’s a unique situation because I don’t know that you can always expect an executive director to actually also be a subject matter expert for the organization that they’re managing. I figured, I figured, you know, my, my first track, you know, it might’ve been for a cosmetology association of which I wouldn’t know the first thing, um, but with here it turned out well because I think that, uh, we bring a little bit of added value to the association because we, you know, we, I feel very comfortable speaking on the issues when asked by the board. And so I think the board gets a little bit extra bang for their buck and so does the association. And we’re happy to do it.
Agustin: 18:01 No question. And I have told you in person and, and I will reiterate that, uh, you guys have been a very good team for NAJIT. I see how the cohesive efforts have paid off. I think the conferences are getting stronger and the next step is for all of us to join forces and just grow NAJIT. So now, you and I know a lot about NAJIT. I’ve been going to the conferences for over 20 years, but a lot of people might not know a lot about NAJIT. So why don’t you tell us a little bit what, what is that first of all?
Robert: 18:38 Well, as you said, the acronym is, it stands for the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. Uh, it is, um, I believe probably the largest association of judiciary interpreters, uh, possibly, uh, internationally. I know certainly in the United States NAJIT has over 1,100 members. One of the things that I always like to point out when I speak about NAJIT is that even though the “J” is very prominent in our name, the judiciary, the reality is that many, many, many of our members are freelance interpreters and many freelance interpreters don’t have the luxury or sometimes the desire to only interpret in one type of setting. So many, many of our members interpret in the judiciary, they interpret the medical field, they interpret in conferences. They do State Department work. Uh, so we, we have, uh, we boast quite a few members that, that work in many different fields besides the judiciary. And I think that one of the things that NAJIT is, uh, is really important as an association, one of the reasons it’s so important is because it is so respected. It’s respected by the stakeholders. Uh, it’s respected by the administrative office of the courts. Uh, it’s respected by people that are writing about interpreting. So we have a lot of information that we, that we give to practitioners. NAJIT is renowned for their position papers, which are always a great tool because one of the things that, one of the reasons that I’m so adamant on the importance of a professional association is because it allows, number one, it gives credibility to the profession that we’re talking about, but it also allows you to use that association to advocate for yourself and for the profession without it, without making it seem as if self-serving. So when a judge says, I have an audio file here of a DUI Stop Dashboard Cam, I’d like you to site translated here, uh, you know, in the courtroom on the spot. When the interpreter says, your honor, I, I really can’t do that. It’s not considered a best practice. It’s really some of those things that, it almost sounds like the interpreters trying to be lazy. So it makes it much more believable and credible. If you can show the judge Nadia’s Position Paper on why it’s not advisable to do an audio file on the spot and that it should be transcribed and translated. So it really empowers the individual. Uh, and as a result, the profession by really giving you some of that, I hate to say it, but almost like that backup that you need because interpreters tend to work very isolated and so anytime that you’re advocating, because this is the best thing to do, a lot of times people never see that. What they see is, “oh you’re saying is because you want more money,” or, “because you are too lazy” or for all these different reasons. So really NAJIT gives you an ability to, to be able to advocate for yourself without having that stigma of why you’re doing it. It also is probably the largest repository of institutional knowledge on, on interpreting a, I would say interpreting specifically because of some of our members, we have members that have literally written the book on judiciary interpreting and, and other types of interpreting. We have all different kinds of professors and we have people that are really the, the, the ones that have laid the foundation for a lot of the interpreting things. And so when you talked about, when I went to my first NAJIT conference, I was fortunate enough to have a mentor, and Judith Candies and Christie and she walked me to the table and there was Peter Linquist and I’m just going to mention some names that some of the listeners may not know, but these are luminaries in our profession, you know, Peter Linquist and Janice Palma, and, and, uh, Dr Rinoff, and Holly Mikkelson who, like I said, literally wrote the book, and she introduced me to these folks and I was like, wow, you know, um, I mean I was kind of like, you know, just awestruck in the sense that I could pick these people’s brains and that they were willing to share information with me, which I thought was really unique. So a NAJIT is a very, very important association, not just for judiciary interpreters, but just interpreting in general. And I think that’s a reason why it’s important that interpreters really support an association like NAJIT. Uh, although most people will join an association with the thought, well, why should I join? What can that association do for me? And I think NAJIT has an obligation to provide those services because we do want to offer a services and expertise, which I think we do, but I think that all of us that are professional interpreters do have an obligation to support the associations because in turn, we’re really supporting our own profession.
Agustin: 23:32 Right and you were talking about a point that I wanted to make sure we talk about it. And that is, uh, the famous WIIFM, right? What does it mean for me? What do I gain? What, you know, what do I get out of this? And uh, when I go around the country talking about interpretation, I do think, and maybe you agree with me that people don’t understand or don’t seem to understand that belonging to NAJIT, it’s not something that you give. It’s actually immediately something that you get. I tell them, if you get a lot more than $105 or $110, how much is the membership right now? If you’re an active member, and for us an active member means that you actually earn some, some amount of money interpreting or translating, it’s $105 for 12 months.
Agustin: 24:19 Right, so, you know, that’s less than $10 a month, which people spend more than that on coffee, and I tell them just for that investment, you get a lot more out of it. So you already mentioned some of the things. It gives you some standing. It’s no longer– say me, Johnny, the interpreter, saying the National Association has already written a paper on this, and we have the backup of all these people. I remember you said in one of the conferences, we do have a lot of people that have tremendous amount of knowledge and degrees and you’ve mentioned something about having, that happens to me too, is that having this PhD envy, because we have so and so, Dr. So and so, and Doctor so and so on, and it turns out everybody’s a doctor, and we’re not even a hospital. But because people really, uh, that are in the business and know about the business are there. So that gives you a lot of standing. You’re not standing alone as an interpreter saying “I say this,” but we’re saying all of my colleagues, these prominent people, are saying the same thing. So what else? Tell us a little bit about what NAJIT does that interpreters, would be, you know, would benefit from, by just belonging to NAJIT other than what we already said.
Robert: 25:34 Well, I think, just to add a couple of things that, you know, one of the things that I had the privilege of doing and you know, when I was chair and now when I’m the executive director as well, um, is I have an ability–NAJIT is invited to speak at different events. For example, at the end of this month, there’s a continuing legal education summit that’s being held in Georgia, where NAJIT is headquartered in Atlanta, and NAJIT has been invited to speak on a panel, which I’ll be the representative of NAJIT, and it’s a panel on technology, how technology will impact the work of interpreters. And I think it’s so crucial that when you have a room full of attorneys and judges and court administrators that are going to be drafting the policies of how technology is used, the voice of the interpreter, the practitioner’s voice, is actually represented. And so I think one of the fundamental things that we do, is, we insert ourselves in these conversations. We insert ourselves in conversations that we think impact the profession, and because NAJIT has the standing, the recognition of who we’ve been for many, many years, it’s not only, not only do we speak at those events, but we also are invited to those events. And I know that the current board of NAJIT with the, uh, the great leadership of the new chair, uh, Amy Benavidez, uh, you know, one of the main, you know, uh, I would say emphasis going forward, is to get ourselves involved more in those types of organizations too, that aren’t necessarily interpreter associations, but that impact the work of interpreters, so the interpreter’s voice can be heard as these policies are being, are being written, because as you know, a lot of times policies are written in a vacuum without the input of the people that they ultimately are going to effect.
Robert: 27:29 So I think that’s one fundamental thing that’s important. And that’s one of the ways that membership dues and a membership in NAJIT supports the association in a way that’s going to give back to the practitioner. And of course, I mean there’s, there’s a lot of other benefits. NAJIT has, uh, just last year kicked off, inaugurated something called The NAJIT Academy, where we will be putting together webinars, uh, on different things we’ve done. Our inaugural webinar was on a, you know, more on the business of interpreting and we will be, we’ll be putting out a series of different webinars. Some of them are going to be skills, skill building specific, but a lot of them are going to be things that interpreters need to have that maybe they don’t think about in terms of, you know, business planning, taxes, retirement, but also, but also obviously terminology and all the things that interpreters also need. And as a member, those, those webinars will either be free or at a discount in comparison to a person who is not a member. We have all of our active members appear in our, on our member directory. Our member directory is accessed somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 times a month, and so when you talk about $105 to join, all it takes is one interpreter assignment from that to more than pay for itself, and that’s if you discount all of these other intrinsic values that that NAJIT brings to the profession that are not necessarily something that you can quantify in a, in a dollar amount. So I don’t want to take much time, believe me, I think you and I feel the same way. We could sit here and sing the praises of NAJIT for, for, for hours.
Agustin: 29:11 Right, but I really think it’s important for people to know, and people ask me, do you have to be certified to be a NAJIT member? No, we don’t.
Robert: 29:18 Absolutely not. That’s another thing that I find so neat about this particular association, is we talked about the luminaries. We’ve talked about the professors, we’ve talked about the doctors, we’ve talked about the writers, but what’s cool is we also have student membership. If somebody is a student of interpreting. I don’t mean just the math student or a literature student, but if you’re, if you’re studying at, at a degree program at a university or a junior college to become an interpreter or translator, you know, NAJIT will take you in and give you great, great exposure at a much reduced rate. So what’s really neat about our main conference, which we have once a year and this upcoming one will be in Nashville, uh, May 17th through the 19th of 2019, is that in that conference, in one room, you have someone who just learned about interpreting a month ago and has, really has no clue, like we all did at some point in our lives, and then you have in the same room, someone who has literally written a book on judiciary interpreting and, and, and the amount of comradery, and the networking, and the support, and the friendships that you build are really invaluable as you go from like you and I did, Agustin, you know when I came to NAJIT, I was, you know, just a fledgling. Just gotten certified. And now 14 years later, here we are. I think that that’s something that’s really neat and one of the things that I really appreciate about NAJIT is it, you know, it welcomed me in when really I was quote unquote, you know, uh, a nobody in the, in the field, but I think that I was able to become better at my profession and also become a better advocate for the profession because of NAJIT. I will never forget when I first became certified, complaining to my administrative office of the courts in Tennessee that judges were circumventing the supreme court rule that said that they had to appoint certified interpreters.
Robert: 31:15 They were still using the bilingual person from, you know, across the street or the Spanish teacher. And when I called the AOC and I said, this is Rob Cruz, I’m a certified interpreter in Tennessee, and here’s what’s going on, they told me, well, you know, Rob Cruz, the judge rules the roost. That was the exact quote. The judge rules the roost. So there’s not really much that we can do. We really don’t have any teeth to enforce the Supreme Court rules. Um, interestingly enough, when I became involved with NAJIT, one of my first involvements was I joined the advocacy committee of NAJIT, and I, one of the initiatives around the country, because that problem wasn’t only inherent to Tennessee, was inherent all over the country, was how do we, how do we put the weight of NAJIT to try to fix this problem? Because as you know, Agustin, we pushed so hard and so long for certification, we got it, and judges, we’re not requiring it, which frustrates the person that went through all of the hoops to get there. And here’s an example of exactly why NAJIT is important, because when I was able to call the same administrative office of the courts, speak to the same coordinator, and now I was calling as a person from the National Associations Advocacy Committee, and I’d like to, I’d like to be able to send you this letter from the National Association of why it’s crucial that certified interpreters take precedence. They listened. I mean they– but again, it’s because it wasn’t Rob Cruz, the interpreter who’s certified, who wants them to follow the rules so that he can make more money. It was actually the National Association saying this is the best thing because if you don’t do this, the certified interpreter, they’re gonna find something else to do, and you’ve spent all this time and all this money with all certification schemes, and you’re not going to have any certified interpreters when you need them because they can’t find any work. And so that’s just one example of how, you know, important an association like NAJIT is.
Agustin: 33:07 Yeah. And I agree with you and I think that all of us that have been in this business have had that frustration of trying to go as an individual and say, and talk to judges and public defenders. And I remember when I first, uh, when we had a new public defender and, uh, he decided that he was no longer going to hire interpreters because, uh, he had bilingual staff and that means that he doesn’t need any interpreters. And I went and talked to a judge about it and the judge says, well, we can have a meeting with him. And he was very mad because he says, you’re not going to tell me– when you run for office and you win my position, then you can modify the policy again. But then a few months later when there was the same presentation that I would have done for him in person, but it was the statewide training for administrators and judges, then all of a sudden we had the floor, and all of a sudden everybody listened, because we had access and NAJIT definitely gives us an access that we otherwise don’t get. So I think it’s important. I keep on telling our colleagues, if you want to be treated as a professional, and get paid better than you do, because we all would like to see that happen, we need to have a strong association that can be our voice because individually you’re absolutely right. I mean if I just go to the courts and say, can you pay me more? They’re going to say no because Johnny does it for less. Billy does it for less, or whatever. So, uh, I think it is important to keep on pushing, uh, our membership, and I, you know, I’m, I’m very glad to hear that you guys are going to be doing more webinars and please count us in if we can in any way participate and, and offer one of our webinars to you guys, we’ll be happy to, um, at least will chip in that way. And also know with our invitations, every time we do a seminar, we always invite people to become members of NAJIT. I actually tell them all, if you go to NAJIT, to the NAJIT convention, you’ll find me on Saturday, and we’ll take you salsa dancing too. And that’s included in the price! Because, I don’t know, but we’ve been doing this for years now and I think that it’s, it’s becoming a part of the tradition of going to NAJIT to go dancing at least one of the nights.
Robert: 35:32 It is. Absolutely. I completely agree. It’s one of the things that a lot of people look forward to. And now for the last couple of years that we have been organizing the conference, we’ve actually done a Zumba in the morning, a Zumba class, and that’s now taken off, and people are– so yes, it’s a fun thing, and it’s not all work. That’s another great thing about NAJIT is, uh, we, we have a lot of fun members and we have a lot of comradery and like I said, everybody’s so welcoming and inviting and that’s one of the things that I really enjoy. I’ve been to other conferences for big associations where I, where it’s very easy to feel like an outsider and I think with NAJIT, it doesn’t feel that way at all. And I’m so thrilled with this new board of directors. The last board of directors did a great job. Uh, they know many of them termed– some of them termed out, some of them had to move on to different things, but we have a new board that was a seated in June, and they have a tremendous amount of energy and I think it’s going to be a fantastic year.
Agustin: 36:35 I’m sure it will be. And if you could please repeat when the dates for the NAJIT conference are, because we want everybody to go, and as you know, we are going to sponsor again as we do every year, a person to become a member of NAJIT, and hopefully attend the conference this year. So please tell us the dates again. I know it’s in Nashville, and it’s going to be a big party, right? 40 years?
Robert: 36:58 Yes. It’s, it’s actually NAJIT’s 40th annual conference, and so it is, it is a big deal. It’s going to be at the Gaylord Opryland, which is its own self contained city. If someone does not wish to leave the property, they can, they’d never have to leave the property, but it’s also about 10, maybe a 10 minute, 15 minute cab ride from downtown Nashville for anybody who wants to do the, uh, you know, the wild horse saloon and tootsies and all the things that, that Nashville is famous for, that’s going to be very close. And that’ll be May 17th, which will be our preconference. That’s a Friday. And then the main conference will be the 18th and 19th of May of 2019. And so we hope, we hope to have a, a huge turnout. And you know, like I said, it is our 40th anniversary. So, uh, I think on our website at najit.org, I think our conference page, our save the date pages are up. Our call for proposals as a matter of fact, uh, went out just today, uh, as we speak. Uh, and so, uh, I think people can go online and they can start seeing where it’s going to be. And, and even if there’s folks out there listening that would like to participate in by, by presenting at NAJIT, uh, they’ll be able to do that, too, by submitting a proposal.
Agustin: 38:16 Okay. Well, yeah, and do that, and take it from me because I’ve participated as a presenter many times. If you don’t join in and you don’t send your paperwork on time, you might not even be considered, so absolutely. Um, make sure that you go to the website and if their call for papers is out, started thinking about what you are going to submit. All right. Well, Rob, I don’t know if you have anything else to share with us. I really appreciate your time. I know that, uh, I know it’s a cliche, but I know you are busy, so, uh, uh, if you have anything else to share with us, please do so and, uh, again, thank you very much for sharing your time with us and please say hi to all the members of the board and your wife for running such a great organization, and we’ll see you, if nothing else, May of next year.
Robert: 39:07 Exactly, Augstin, and I just want to thank you for the invitation and thank you for being such a good personal friend, uh, and, and also for all that you give back to the, to the profession, uh, you know, you are considered a luminary by many, many people, myself included, but you are very selfless, uh, in what you give for the profession, not just for NAJIT, but for the profession in general and anybody that’s, that’s coming up in the profession, you always are willing and able to give them a hand up. And, uh, that’s one of the reasons, like I told you before we got started that, uh, there’s very few things you could ask me to do that I wouldn’t do because I have that much, uh, admiration, respect, and fondness for you as a friend and a colleague and a, anytime you need me, you can count on me and, uh, thank you for being such a great friend of NAJIT. And i certainly will extend all of your, a wondrous offers including a potential for a webinar, uh, to the board and the training and education committee. And I’m sure that even if we don’t see each other before May, I’m sure that we’ll be in touch.
Agustin: 40:05 All right. Okay. Well thanks a lot, Rob.
Robert: 40:07 Thanks, Agustin. Bye Bye.
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