Irene Nakamura is the founder and CEO of iDepo Reporters, a full-service, nationally certified court reporting, and litigation support company with offices in three states. Irene has built a nationwide team of more than 1,000 court reporters by offering a personal and professional work environment that values the individual first. iDepo Reporters is empowered to personalize and customize services for each client. “We treat each case, no matter the size as if it were our only one.”
Unwilling to be complacent with the status quo, Irene defied the suppressive conventions of her traditional Japanese upbringing and its relegation of women to the background to pursue her dreams. While providing financial support for her parents and brother and funding her brother’s Ivy League education, Irene bootstrapped her way through court reporting school. In the ten years that followed, she garnered a reputation that put her in high demand and allowed her to generate a six-figure income. She overcame racial biases by becoming the first Japanese American Official Court Reporter for the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Irene Nakamura: I help attorneys capture and certify their clients’ stories that make history in order to change the future. I also help minority businesswomen break free from the suppressive parts of their cultural traditions so that they may thrive personally and professionally. I love to help empower someone to reach their goals and dreams.
BACKGROUND: Although I was raised in America, Japanese culture was prevalent in my life. Its cultural and societal norms set strict rules and conventions on both my behavior and my choices. My future was chosen for me. My husband was chosen for me. My role and destiny were chosen for me. I was expected to put my career, dreams, and future on hold and support my brother. As the male in the family, his education, career, and future were not only more important than mine, they were a prerequisite for mine.
This subservient role had been hard-wired into my brain from a young age by my mother. She had, after all, done the same for her brother in Japan. In the male-dominated Japanese society, there was only one place for women – behind men. The term my mother used to explain her expectation of me was “Gaman,” which means endure, tolerate, “don’t make any waves” – or more directly, “suck it up.” “Gaman shinasai. Enryo. Meiwaku kakenaide” is something many Japanese children and even adults have heard countless times throughout their lives.
I was forbidden to pursue my college aspiration until my brother completed his, meaning graduating from a university. Once he graduated, then I was allowed to apply to college. My brother is 5 years younger than me. Since my brother did not complete his double Master’s degree from Yale until I was about 37, luckily, I pursued court reporting at age 18 however against my mother’s desires. I now hold certifications in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, and Washington State, and am a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR – National license), and a Certified LiveNote Reporter (CLR-Realtime Reporting license).
ABOUT THE COMPANY: iDepo Reporers and iDepo Hawaii, LLC are full-service litigation support and court reporting firms. We provide nationwide service for all litigation needs.
MAINLAND: Located in California and Washington State, our dedicated iDepo Team is here to provide you with outstanding, quality, personalized service that you can count on, with more than three decades of industry experience, our clients. You have our total support to help you meet the needs of your pressing litigation demands. iDepo Reporters is headquartered in Los Angeles County in California, but we provide services nationwide and internationally. iDepo will assign hand-picked court reporters to your deposition who are best suited and understand the unique terminology and procedures of your case. Despite the pandemic, we have also opened up an office in Washington State.
Our iDepo Team values the importance of details, timeliness, and professionalism. We understand and are committed to serving you.
HAWAII OFFICE: ALOHA! Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, our team here at iDepo Hawaii LLC specializes in “Service with Aloha.” Our certified court reporters and litigation support team are ready to assist you on the Islands and across the Mainland. Experience iDepo Hawaii where you will receive the most value and the best service. We are a one-stop-shop, with one phone call, we can happily assist with your litigation support and court reporting needs. If unfortunately you end up in a lawsuit, have your attorney give iDepo a call to make sure your case is taken care of with care. We treat each case as if it were our only case.
FUTURE VISION: To do our part so that litigants can trust that losing on a technicality will be a thing of the past: Whether it be a late filing or inaccurately reported testimony, trial presentation inadequacies, our vision is to help provide ways to ensure your story is told the way it should be told.
OUR GOAL: Whether it is a simple case or a complex case, the judge and jury will hear and understand your story.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Irene Nakamura: As a child, I wanted to be a dancer and a typist. I became a stenographer and have been typing away in the judicial system. I still dance when I can and am always wanting to learn new types of dancing. Since I was not allowed to pursue traditional college, I went against my mother’s wishes and desires, enrolled myself into a trade school of court reporting, and began my journey. My first step was breaking free from the first suppressive tradition that my mother had instilled which was, as a woman, to realize my dreams mattered, my life mattered, my future mattered. So I decided to learn a trade that would catapult me financially to provide for me the means to do what I want and how I want.
The first step was to break free from toxicity. It is a life-long journey. Just because you break free from one toxicity, you may need to break free from yet another and another. Once you surround yourself with positive and supportive people, you will find yourself wanting to succeed and get to the next level. Turns out, I love court reporting! Being a stenographer has given me opportunities to learn and gain so much knowledge in so many areas of life. And since it is a profession where you can travel anywhere and work from just about any state, it is not only interesting, it is flexible as well.
One of my passions is to help minority women learn skills to be empowered, face their fears, and go after their goals and dreams.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Irene Nakamura: I danced on a show called Party Machine with Nia Peeples back in the day. I believe it was 4 episodes.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Irene Nakamura: What is an entrepreneur? Someone who helps to provide solutions to people’s problems and shares it with the world. Entrepreneurs bring HOPE by Helping One Person Every day.
What is a successful entrepreneur? Someone who can pivot with the times and reinvent herself if needed, always improving and learning.
To become a successful entrepreneur is not just luck. Luck does help, but more importantly, for sustainability, it is strategic habits that are done consistently. Persistence in reaching goals, bossing up, and a great attitude. Entrepreneurs provide products or services, those products or services help people solve problems, making for a better life for the end-user.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Irene Nakamura: Massively important. Like the phrase “Teamwork makes the dream work”, you must empower your team. An entrepreneur is successful when their team is successful. Teach them skills, teach them mindset, teach them to think outside the box, and pivot when necessary.
Without them, you could lose clients, your business can be impacted negatively. With them, your business will grow and prosper and so will your team. Include your team in some decisions. You will be happily surprised at some of the amazing ideas that come from them. Help them grow and you will grow. You are stronger with a stronger team. So cultivate a positive culture for your company and everyone can reap the rewards. Don’t allow those toxic influencers to influence you. Don’t give them permission to steal your dreams.
It’s true what the real entrepreneurs say about surrounding yourself with successful people or positive people: You will have more opportunities to become successful in business, in family life, spiritual life, and in health. Overall, it is the key to success.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Irene Nakamura: Positive disruption is providing empowerment coaching to your team, uplift them. Disrupt the negativity cycle that people have spiraled into. As a circle is infinite, disrupting a negative circle is powerful. One can actually save a life by disrupting a negative circle. Helping someone without expecting anything in return is a huge disruption. Acts of kindness are not as common as they used to be so to be kind to someone can help disrupt the negative and toxic world they may be in, and help to effect change, to bring about more positivity. Positive thought leaders can very very powerful.
Disruption can be synonymous with water. Like water, it can be powerful, strong, unrelenting, damaging, but can also be nourishing, calming, peaceful, and fun.
Disruption can be a bad thing and a good thing.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Irene Nakamura: I am a stenographic court reporter and entrepreneur.
I help tell people’s stories. Do you have a story you want to tell? I can type it up for you word for word. Just start talking. Now, what story do you want to tell? I help people get stronger minds and help them with their superpowers.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Irene Nakamura: Procrastination and caving into my fears.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Irene Nakamura: “Mindset Matters – Believe to Achieve.”
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Irene Nakamura for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Irene Nakamura or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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