Please note: General session and workshop access is included with all Full/One Day Convention and Exhibitor Badges. Simply show your badge to gain entry. Expo-only Badges are valid for the exhibit floor only. Visit registration to purchase general session/workshop badges. You must bring both your badge and event ticket for entry into ticketed events.
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Preconvention Seminar
Vernie Fountain, CFSP
Specialist, Fountain National Academy
New tried and tested techniques from master embalmer Vernie Fountain! This information-packed seminar will examine head and eye trauma, crushing injuries, autopsy cases, gunshot wounds, soft tissue repair and much more. Learn tips and discuss techniques for use by embalmers when preparing various types of challenging cases – from the non-traumatized to the most severely traumatized cases. Practice discussion of trauma injuries with families, improve the quality and appearance of the decedent for viewing and promote the value of embalming and visitation. (4 CE hours
Register for this session with your Convention registration.
Cost: $160 NFDA members by September 22; $180 after September 22; nonmember funeral directors $240 by September 22; $265 after September 22; $160 mortuary students.
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Shane A.S. Ritchie, CFSP
Huntington Mortuary Service
Are we our own worst enemy? What’s really behind the decline in viewings and open-casket funerals? Since the beginning, we have dealt with death by dealing with the object of death – the body. But there has been a rising trend that replaces traditional ceremonies with upbeat, ritualistically impoverished “celebrations of life” to which the dead are not invited. What are the effects of this phenomenon on individual mourners and on society as a whole? Ritchie will shed light on the innate human need for authentic funerals, the importance of the body as the essential death symbol, the need for skilled embalmers to make it possible and what the future holds for the embalming profession. And… why it matters! (1 CE Hour)
Founder and Certified Grief Management Specialist, The Laugh Academy
Funeral Director, Lakeside Funeral Home, and President, Order of the Golden Rule
Most funeral directors know they should have some type of aftercare but just don’t know how to get started, how to run it or how to find the time to do it. Weil will draw on her many years of running one of the most comprehensive grief support programs (it has reached more than 15,000 participants) to address aftercare content, financial considerations, business benefits, building community partnerships and getting positive publicity. (1 CE Hour)
Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Foundation Partners Group
Senior Director of Operations Integration, Foundation Partners Group
What’s your strategy for competing with value brands? Consumers want the best experience at the greatest value, and some providers are taking advantage of the opportunity. Today’s successful value providers are using traditional concepts with modern delivery methods and low-overhead operating controls to forcibly take market share. Some providers are discovering the cemetery connection, particularly as it relates to high-value options for families choosing cremation. Learn the principles that work for the value-brand pioneers and discover practical insights on applying those same principles to your existing business or startup. (1 CE Hour)
Senior Vice President, SESCO Management Consultants
Protecting yourself and your company from liability means being smart about hiring (and firing). Hasty will help you strengthen your screening practices to attract and retain qualified individuals and discuss the review of required employment documentation and personnel file management. She will explore various employee regulations to negate liability and focus on development and deployment of key HR systems. Learn practical tips on how to properly engage in performance management and termination conversations. This knowledge will assist you with daily compliance, as well as help you screen, hire and retain the right employees from the start! (1 CE Hour)
Co-founder, Funeral Innovations
As demographics in our communities change, the approaches a funeral home uses to reach their community must evolve as well. Over 70% of the US is on Facebook and almost 70% of the country owns a smartphone. In order to grow your funeral home and generate new leads, you must reach these people where they spend the majority of their time: online. In this session, Garbow will share proven techniques for funeral homes and cemeteries to reach and engage their community using Facebook – including real examples of how you can use Facebook to generate a pipeline of leads. By the end of this session, you will have actionable knowledge to deploy a social media strategy that increases your bottom line and keeps you ahead of your competition!
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
Jason Troyer, Ph.D.
Founder, Mt. Hope Grief Services
How can funeral directors aid grieving families as they navigate the transitions between funeral rituals? As funeral service professionals, you form the front line in assisting the bereaved as they process the emotions associated with a loss. But you don’t have to be a mental health professional to benefit the families you serve. Troyer will review contemporary grief models and provide practical advice that will help you support families at every step of service. (1 CE Hour)
Dr. Katharine Lewis
Task Lead, MITRE Corporation, CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare
Robert C. Moore IV
NFDA Past President, Moore's Home for Funerals
Meet the MITRE task force team working to modernize the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). The panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of the existing death registry, along with future improvements. States that have already implemented EDRS will need to know about these changes and those that will adopt EDRS will greatly benefit from weighing in with their thoughts on the project. Developed by the National Center for Health Statistics, the next-generation EDRS will modernize the National Vital Statistics System. In this groundbreaking effort, the team is working with funeral directors to raise the standard of EDRS in a way that advances jurisdictions’ capability and capacity associated with their respective mortality systems. (1 CE Hour)
James “Jimmy” Olson
Owner, Olson Funeral Home and Cremation Service
Green funeral options are a growing interest among client families. Be prepared to provide the information that today’s consumers want and need about green product and service choices, as well as take steps toward meaningful green alterations of your business. Olson will examine current trends in green funerals, and explore practical interventions when working with families asking for green options. You’ll also discover how easy it is to implement green funeral and burial options for operations and management, products, and eco-friendly modifications to funeral services. Get started with NFDA’s Green Funeral Practices™ recognition program. (1 CE Hour)
Vice President of Operations and Compliance, The Signature Group
Wieting Family Funeral Home, Chilton, Wisconsin
Wieting Family Funeral Home, Chilton, Wisconsin
Learn how a simple deck of Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards can help families begin to have the most important conversations of their lives. Your firm can share them with families as a thank-you for their business, invite preneed families to use them as part of the planning process or partner with local organizations and businesses to distribute the cards in the community. Hands-on exercises and brainstorming activities will give you the tools and knowledge to get started so you can easily coordinate a unique event in your community. (1 CE Hour)
President, Lending USA
Director of Relationship Management, TSYS
The funeral business is changing because your customers are changing. People expect access to credit and the ease of credit card payments. With the rise in funeral costs, families look for payment options. Point-of-sale financing is a technology-driven approach that makes the process quick and simple for funeral directors and families. Learn how NFDA Endorsed Providers LendingUSA and credit processor TSYS can solve your challenge of getting paid. (1 CE Hour)
Karl Wenzel, CFSP, MBIE
Coordinator of Technical Education and Training, The Dodge Company
No embalmer should ever voice the need for a closed casket. Learn how two very different perspectives – law enforcement and funeral service – can meld to share skills and resources to help identify decedents. From the completely unknown decedent to those tragically killed and cases suffering trauma and decomposition, identification is the first step for law enforcement. Wenzel will illustrate the importance of identification and what is possible in recreating lost features that make identification possible. Learn how forensic skills can enhance your own skills in the prep room and help you employ an “open-casket policy” at your firm. (2 CE Hours)
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Agudath Sholom
How do you make the person you are today more closely resemble the person you hope your family and friends will remember? Discover how to begin living your life now for how you want to be remembered later. A popular inspirational speaker, Rabbi Cohen will guide you through a unique blend of storytelling, practical exercises and profound wisdom and will teach seven transformative principles to reverse-engineer your life so that you are living with purpose and passion, that the person you are today more closely aligns with the person you aspire to be and that you are leading a life of legacy. (1 CE Hour)
President, Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy
Participants will learn how to use Have the Talk of a Lifetime to get consumers engaged with the program and plan even more meaningful memorialization. The Funeral and Memorial Information Council launched the nationwide consumer education campaign to call attention to the importance of memorialization. A panel of funeral directors will discuss how they are using the campaign to help families make important decisions about honoring the lives of their loved ones and understand the important role funeral professionals play in the memorialization process. A variety of easy-to-use, customizable campaign materials are available to help drive consumers to a funeral business. Participants will discover how the campaign is going above and beyond using digital media and innovative marketing tactics. (1 CE Hour)
Carol Lynn Green
NFDA Environmental Compliance Counsel, Law Offices of Carol Lynn Green
After a 40-year hiatus, Congress enacted legislation in June 2016 requiring the EPA to evaluate the risks posed by chemicals, including formaldehyde, and how to regulate those risks. Formaldehyde has long been on the EPA watch list. Former OSHA administrator Dr. David Michaels says the formaldehyde personal exposure limit is outdated, not protective and requires change. The actions that the EPA and/or OSHA take will have important implications for funeral directors. Green will focus on what funeral directors should expect from the EPA/OSHA, how the EPA/OSHA action could affect their business and how to prepare for the future. (1 CE Hour)
Dr. Janet S. McCord
Associate Professor and Chair of Thanatology, Marian University
“Suicide, like a volcano’s lava flow, changes everything in its path.” Funeral professionals often provide the first care to families that encounter suicide and can offer understanding and nonjudgmental support that can go a long way toward helping families find healing. After a suicide, family and friends are often shocked, confused and overwhelmed by a wide scope of emotions. Survivors of suicide loss frequently focus on a single question: Why? McCord will explore risk factors and warning signs, review current theories of suicidal behavior (in plain language) and discuss practical strategies for supporting survivors of suicide loss. (1 CE Hour)
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Welcome Party
Boston is a mecca of colleges and universities, providing higher education to students from around the world. Celebrate the education you'll gain this week while reconnecting with old friends (and making new ones!) at NFDA's collegiate-inspired Welcome Party. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar, and represent your alma mater by wearing your favorite college apparel!
Simultaneous interpretation in Spanish available.
Continuing Education: Sessions and workshops at the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo are approved for continuing education by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP), most state boards, and by many Canadian provinces. State and province CE approval varies, and it is the individual participant's responsibility to verify approval for CE in the state(s) in which the individual is licensed. Schedule subject to change.