May 16-19, 2023
Loews Kansas City Hotel & Kansas City Convention Center
Kansas City, MO

Thank You!

Thank you for attending the 2023 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition in Kansas City! We had an amazing week of learning, networking, and growing together. We can’t wait to see you all again in 2024!

Schedule of Events

*Exhibitors only*

  • 2:30 – 3:45 pm
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm


  • 8:30 – 10:30 AM 
  • 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM  
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
  • 12:30 – 2:00 PM  
  • 2:00 – 4:00 PM  
  • 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM 
  • 12:00 – 2:00 PM  
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM  
  • 1:00 – 2:00 PM  
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM  
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM  
    BREAKOUT SESSIONIt’s Not “If” It’s Going to Happen, It’s “When”: Converting from Gas to Electric
    Andrew Bray, National Association of Landscape Professionals 
    Don Winsett, Davey Tree

    Roger Phelps, Stihl Inc. 
    Gas. Have you seen the price of it lately!? It’s no secret that many states and local businesses are making strong moves to transition their operations from an aging gas-powered system to an ever-improving electric one. States like California are even beginning to require 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the state by 2026 to be powered by batteries or hydrogen. As we come to terms with this new reality, business owners are faced with a great deal of questions.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM 
    BREAKOUT SESSION – “Look What I Inherited” 
    Nina Perry, Park Lawn Corporation 
    New generations are requiring funeral professionals to think outside the box more now than ever before. Cremation is between 50 and 60% with several states being above 60%. So, I ask you – where are all those urns going to end up in 10 – 20 years? We are losing generations when we don’t place loved ones or at least place a memorial plaque with names and dates.  Every option, Every time, to Every family because they just don’t know what they don’t know and that sums up our responsibility to our families.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM 
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Leveraging Social Channels and Strategies for Cemetery Pre-Con Sales 
    Tim Fish, Ring Ring Marketing/Coldspring
    The post-Covid world has inventory depleted across the industry.  Work with Tim Fish and Mike Harens to learn how to leverage your marketing and social media strategies to capture sales BEFORE you’ve even begun building and developing your next cemetery inventory project. By changing your mindset, leveraging technology, utilizing vendor relationships, 3D modeling, and marketing, Tim and Mike will provide you with an action plan for effective development and pre-construction sales growth.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Create World-Class Sales Teams through World Class Training 
    Sammy Villanueva, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
    A stable, tenured, confident sales team is critical to your location’s reputation and long-term success. In this session, we will outline a roadmap for creating and maintaining a successful sales team and will discuss techniques for preparing a sales counselor for a successful career and management. Attendees will receive tips for onboarding, new-hire training, and ongoing training that they can take back to their locations for confident hiring.
  • 4:00 – 7:00 PM  
  • 7:00 – 8:30 PM 
    The ICCFA is pleased to close out the first day of exhibits with a concert featuring 7 Bridges: The Ultimate EAGLES Experience! Using no backing tracks or harmonizers, they faithfully recreate the experience of an Eagles concert from the band’s most prolific period. All registrants are invited to attend to enjoy music, food, and drink with fellow attendees. 


  • 8:00 – 9:30 AM 
  • 9:00 – 10:00 AM  
  • 9:00 – 10:00 AM  
  • 10:00 – 11:00 AM  
    KEYNOTE: Mindset Matters: The Art and Science of Peak Performance
    Mark Panciera
    What if you woke up every morning full of genuine confidence to achieve your biggest goals? Have you given any thought to the one thing that may be holding you back from doing exactly that in all areas of your life and business? The mindset in which you approach each day to take on challenges will determine how you crush them, or they crush you. Your mindset anchored in your beliefs – limiting or liberating – determine how big you dream, or if you dream at all. The good news is that YOU are in control of your beliefs and in turn your results. Your mindset is the foundation for success in business, life, and the impact you have on others as you build your future legacy.
  • 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM 
  • 2:30 – 3:30 PM 
    KEYNOTE: Embracing Each Phase of Life
    Andre Dawson
    Andre Dawson discusses growing up along with Who and What influenced him during his formative years. He will then elaborate on his stellar baseball career, including the various teams and teammates he experienced. In addition, he will discuss the pride he enjoys and what it means to be a Hall of Famer. Lastly, he will discuss his post baseball indoctrination into the funeral business.
  • 3:30 – 5:00 PM  
  • 4:30 –5:00 PM  
  • 5:00 – 6:00 PM  
  • 5:00 – 6:00 PM
    Come enjoy light refreshments with members of the Green Burial Council, learn more about green burial, the GBC, and their mission to inspire and advocate for environmentally sustainable, natural death through education and certification.
  • 6:00 – 7:00 PM 
    Join us as we thank the generosity of donors, recognize scholarship recipients, and toast the 2023 Last Impact awardee Doug Gober at the Educational Foundation Reception.
    Doug is receiving this award in recognition of his commitment and contributions to the deathcare profession over his 44-year career. During this time, he has logged hundreds of hours as a speaker and educator at deathcare events across the globe and has presented at many ICCFA events. Doug has earned numerous national awards and has served as a consultant for marketing and merchandising projects on an international scale.


  • 7:00 – 8:00 AM
    Join fellow worshippers for a morning of breakfast and fellowship. Thanks to generous sponsorships, the annual ICCFA prayer breakfast is free to the first 60 individuals who arrive on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • 7:45 – 9:30 AM
  • 8:00 – 8:30 AM
  • 8:30 – 9:15 AM
    KEYNOTE: Diversity and Inclusion
    Chief Carmen Best
    As the first African American Chief of Police at the Seattle Police Department, Carmen Best began her position by quickly recruiting more than 40 officers of color recognizing the problem that the police force was significantly less diverse than the demographic makeup of the city. In this talk, she shares her lessons learned on how to create a more diverse workforce and demonstrates the importance of including multiple viewpoints and backgrounds at any organization. According to Chief Best, “in many ways, I represent what the future can hold, so I’m very proud of that.Currently, Best is the director of global security risk operations at Microsoft where she is responsible for the global virtual security operations team, intelligence, executive threat intel, special asset security risk operations, and security program management. 
  • 9:15 – 10:00 AM
    KEYNOTE: 50+ Women: The Rising Power of the Consumer Force to be Reckoned With 
    Maddy Dychtwald
    The growing strength and empowerment of 50+ women have been hiding in plain sight for far too long. That is about to change. Bolstered by unprecedented levels of education and workforce participation, escalating income and wealth, tech savvy and consumer know-how, and most importantly, rising longevity and vitality, 50+ women are fast becoming the consumer force to be reckoned with. Yet they often feel ignored, misunderstood, and even disrespected by brands and marketers.
  • 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
  • 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM
  • 1:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • 1:00 – 1:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Finding and Retaining Top Talent: Lessons Learned from Recruiting Over 250 Million Dollar Producers
    Tyler Anderson, Precoa
    With the seismic shifts and changing demographics of the job market, funeral homes are struggling to attract high-quality candidates. In this session, you’ll learn about three recruiting challenges facing funeral homes and which strategies are proven to generate top talent from both within and outside the profession. We’ll share the dos and don’ts we’ve learned after 10 consecutive Top Workplace awards and nearly two decades of building networks of the most talented preneed professionals. You’ll learn how to create remarkable experiences during hiring and onboarding and how to develop talent to be ambassadors and advocates for your funeral home brand.
  • 1:00 – 1:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – “Pediatric Funeral Care”
    Amanda King, B.C. Bailey Funeral Home
    This presentation will explore in-depth ways to serve families that have experienced the death of a child either unexpectedly or expectedly. It will specifically demonstrate ways to work alongside Hospice for imminent pediatric cases before the death occurs and how to have those early conversations with families. Options for ways the transfer can be done, as well as final viewings both with and without embalming will also be shared through personal cases that I’ve handled – each one unique in circumstances for services ranging from being a liaison to the child’s school to exploring newer methods of disposition. Specific ways to honor the child within the family’s chosen service will be reviewed for: direct cremations, home funerals, green burials, witness cremations, traditional services, shipment of the body, and aquamation/water cremation.
  • 1:00 – 1:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Women in Leadership: Mental Health Awareness
    Jennifer Olvera, Green Hills Memorial Park
    Tiffany Gallarzo, The Mortuary of Green Hills
    Néctar Ramírez, Forest Lawn Parks and Mortuaries
    We will be highlighting how to improve mental health based on the feedback from last year’s breakout session, Compassion Fatigue – Self Care.  Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.  It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage in life and especially important in our chosen profession. An increased understanding helps empathize with one another and create a more supportive community. Self-care is important compound of mental health, and we will provide ways to take care of yourself while you’re caring for others, employees, and creating a positive, healthy, and successful work environment.
  • 1:00 – 1:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Cemetery Prospecting and Lead Development: An Insider’s Perspective
    Tacye Vogel, Life Tribute Academy
    The systems for prospecting keep the sales going. There are many new lead generation tools tied to technology. How did we get leads before the internet? Tacye will review three proven lead generation techniques and how they can keep your team’s pipeline full. These techniques that can be the foundation for teams to fall back to when their pipeline is lean. After this session, you can easily implement these three fundamental practices and systems with your team.
  • 1:00 – 1:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Monetizing the Loss of Business of Mediocre Phone Skills
    Nicole Wiedeman, CSE, Dead Ringers
    First impressions are vital in this consumer price researcher environment. We’ve learned through our objective metrics that some dismal phone etiquette is leading to missed opportunities for capturing business in all facets of deathcare. We are now able to monetize the loss that occurs to our business due to phone skills. We are on a mission to share our findings in a fun, irreverent and engaging talk with the ICCFA Expo attendees.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Interactive Strategic Planning
    Vincent Roberge, Johnson Consulting Group
    Where has your company been, where is it now, where is it going, and how will you get there? These are just some of the questions you need to be able to answer in order to create measurable goals to drive and develop sustainable growth. Strategic Planning is the process used to prioritize and align efforts, effectively allocate resources, and ensure your goals are backed by data and sound reasoning. To achieve success, you must define success.  For many of us, a large shortcoming in executive operations is not failing to meet our goals, but in not defining them, or setting our mark too low and only achieving what we were aiming for. According to research outlined in the Harvard Business Review, 85% of executive leadership teams spend less than one hour each month discussing strategy, and, on average, 95% of a company’s employees don’t understand its strategy. It’s no wonder so many companies fail to reach their strategic targets. Dive into how to effectively develop your ongoing strategic planning process so you can rise above the statistic and be one step close to the ultimate goal of your exit plan.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Earned Media Best Practices
    Danielle Burmeister, Homesteaders Life Company
    In this session, we’ll discuss the three types of media: “paid,” “earned,” and “owned.” Experts define earned media as the “unpaid coverage/mention of you or your brand or organization by third-party entities such as media publications, customers, or influencers.”  In a nutshell, it is publicity — any content written about a company or brand that the company or brand has not paid for. Funeral home businesses should strive for their earned media strategies to incorporate the best PR practices, and this session will provide some useful information about how to seek and win media coverage that promotes and builds a brand.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – The Dirt on Natural Organic Reduction
    Micah Truman, Return Home
    Natural Organic Reduction was legalized in Washington State in 2019; this unprecedented change in law is a point of concern and contention within the industry. As licensed funeral professionals, we were not given access to research or training. Still, we felt that it was our responsibility to be well informed on this new disposition method. Our team abandoned tradition and comfort for innovation and uncertainty out of complete necessity to the families of Washington State. Return Home began conducting research in January of 2019 and has formulated a process that can be explained with complete transparency. The results of our science prove that the human body was designed to turn back into earth; we have optimized that process to take place within 60-90 days. This session is for funeral professionals who seek information and education on NOR, which is vital to ensure a full-service experience for interested families and continued education as new states pass legislation permitting NOR.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Completing the Circle: Preneed, At-need, Pets
    Coleen Ellis, Two Hearts Pet Loss Center
    Servicing pets is a fabulous addition to a marketing message and opportunity to serve families experiencing another kind of loss. But the true power in working with pet parents, especially those who may have never used YOUR funeral home before, is capturing that family as a new legacy family. Pets as a lead generator and as a source of discussion are an excellent way to find new families to serve and begin new loyalties. From a Guide to Planning Ahead for a pet to bringing a family full circle into the organization’s fold will be presented for an incredibly spirited presentation and takeaways.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – “If Cremation Is So Easy… Why Does Anyone Make a Mistake?” (The Ultimate Cremation Risk Management Class)
    Poul Lemasters, Esq., ICCFA/Lemasters Counseling
    Cremation is proclaimed to be a simple method of disposition. If it’s simple, then how can anything go wrong? The truth is that while parts of cremation may appear simple – the process is far from it. With an increase in the numbers of cremation, most businesses are just doing more cremation; but not doing more procedures.
    This seminar will look at everything from the first call from the family all the way to the return of cremated remains to the family. Of course, we will touch on everything in between too. Through the program, we will discuss best practices in all facets with a focus on some of the more complex areas – think identification – as well as some of the more common but overlooked areas – think storage of remains before and after cremation. If you provide cremation, then this program is for you. You will hear first-hand the lawsuits that are happening today, with a focus on prevention.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Business Succession Planning: How do I manage to retire before I become a client?
    Daniel Griffith, Huntington Private Bank
    Very few funeral and cemetery operators have a viable business succession plan in place, and even those that do may be antiquated.  This presentation will cover the many types of business succession, including transitions to family members, sales to employees, ESOPs, sales to third parties, and sales to a competitor.  We will discuss valuation methods, methods of determining the best option for each business, and ways of identifying helpful advisors to guide you through the process.  We will also touch on the interaction with estate planning and several tax concepts that might be relevant.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Honoring Transgender People: Being a Funeral Professional for All People
    Marc Markell, Worsham College of Mortuary Science
    Funeral directors are called on to assist families in making arrangements for a loved one who identified as transgender (trans) in life.  Trans or Transgender is a term used for whose gender/gender identity is different from what is usually associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth. Some arrangements may be made by loving and affirming family who affirm the deceased person’s gender identity and there is no dispute. Other arrangements may be made by families who disapproved of the person’s gender identity, and arrangements may be difficult. Unfortunately, there are few resources easily available for funeral directors that could give guidance about these issues. There are resources such as the Order of the Good Death, but many directors don’t even think transgender will come up in arrangements and the resources go unnoticed.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Alkaline Hydrolysis:  A Greener Death?
    Luke Wilson, Bio-Response Solutions, Inc.
    Do we have to choose the greenest option in Death?  No!  But that’s not why families are choosing alkaline hydrolysis.  To gain a real understanding of where this new option is today, let’s take a glimpse at its 30-year history, how it has been legalized, and where it is currently offered!  We’ll tour the inside of one business offering the service for pets, and another offering the service for people – showing the process from start to finish.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM 
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Cemetery Consumer Service Council Panel Discussion
    Moderator: Tom Daly, CCE, CHS Consulting Group
    Panelists: Members of the Cemetery Consumer Service Council (CCSC)
    When disputes arise between cemeteries and consumers, the Cemetery Consumer Service Council is there to mediate. Originally founded in 1979, the CCSC now exists as a special committee within the ICCFA the specializes in handling issues that arise between consumers and cemeteries. This panel discussion will feature members of the CCSC examining issues, trends, and cemetery complaints that have been received in the past year. The panelists will provide guidance to those in attendance on how these common (and sometimes uncommon) issues can be addressed and steps that can be taken to prevent the issues from arising. The lessons learned from this session will be applicable to all cemeteries and businesses, regardless of their size.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – How Using Remote Funeral Arrangements and Technology is the Game Changer/Disrupter in Funeral Service.
    Angelique Simpson, Matthews International
    This session will show you how consumer behaviors and preferences have greatly moved towards embracing technology within the funeral home space. Consumers are very tech savvy, and they require funeral homes to meet them, ‘where they are,’ and that is in the privacy of their homes. While this may seem NEW to funeral homes, in fact, we are closer than you know to being able to offer this very thing. We can help families choose options that help them love and honor their loved ones using technology and still be that trusted advisor that we know families need when it’s time to say goodbye.
  • 4:00 – 5:00 PM


  • 8:30 – 10:00 AM
  • 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – You Feel What You See
    Jeffrey Chancellor, CFSP, H S Eckels & Company
    During this 50-minute session we will explore easy to follow techniques to improve the presentation and viewing experiences for families and staff alike.  The best job of embalming can be easily ruined by poor positioning, sloppy dressing or bad lighting. Folks are getting larger and venues often smaller so how do we best position, stage and light for best outcomes?
  • 9:00 – 9:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – “Look What I Inherited…”
    Nina Perry, Park Lawn Corporation
    New generations are requiring funeral professionals to think outside the box more now than ever before. On average, 50%-60% of families are choosing cremation, with several states being above 60%, so the question is: where will all those urns end up in 10-20 years? Families are losing generational legacies when they neglect permanent placement or memorialization and they don’t even realize it! Nina Perry will equip you with the tools to fulfill your responsibility to each family and teach you how to offer every option, every time, to every family.
    *This is a repeat session from Tuesday, May 16, at 2:00 PM*
  • 9:00 – 9:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Do You Know How to Catch a Unicorn?
    Honnalora Hubbard, Coldspring
    When it comes to prospecting for large sale opportunities, there is untapped potential – a.k.a. Unicorns – out there, but it’s up to you to get out and catch the opportunities. In this session, you will rediscover how to prospect for large sales, and we’ll share creative ways for you to reach the right customers. No longer can you count on a sparkling horse trotting through your door with a building plan and check in hand. Join us on an adventure to find the mystical creatures – we mean customers!
  • 9:00 – 9:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Understanding Estate Processes, Part 2: Practical Fraud Protection Techniques
    Matthew Van Drimmelen, Full Circle Aftercare
    Settling matters of an estate can be overwhelming and expensive for all involved. Non-legal estate issues can take the average family 12-18 months to settle. While many families have done estate planning and have an attorney, others wade through the mire of details unsure where to begin, or worse cannot afford the help they need. While facing mounting grief the family must locate and notify accounts, close credit cards, begin insurance claims, cancel insurances, contact retirements, tend to bank-related items, begin probate proceedings when necessary, and sort through personal possessions (a seemingly insurmountable task for many). Funeral Directors can be a lifeline for families if they know how to offer a basic understanding of what needs to be done. Families can begin the process of notifications before setting foot inside a legal office. Being able to offer a step-by-step “to-do” list is priceless and often can save families thousands of dollars. In ‘Understanding Estate Issues Part 2,’ we will discuss practical fraud protection techniques. According to the IRS, 2.5 million deceased identities are stolen each year which costs people in the US $56 billion in 2020. Most families don’t understand the danger, let alone know the steps that can be taken to avoid the theft of their loved one’s identity.
  • 9:00 – 9:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – PAWS Pathway: Walking a Peaceful Path Through Pet Loss and Grief
    Anna McClain, PAWS Pathway
    PAWS Pathway is our life path through pet loss where our pets have imprinted on our hearts with their paw prints, kisses, and cuddles, and we honor their memories through our future words/actions. This is a personalized way of going through pet loss that honors the human-bond and always embraces your special bond with your pet, while learning to acknowledge and grow through your grief. PAWS Pathway can be utilized through both Anticipatory Pet Grief and Pet Loss and helps one feel supported and embraced among others in a disenfranchised society. This session will further focus on the common obstacles of pet loss and help others find ways to help with their emotional and physical pain. PAWS Pathway: PAWS: Pets Are Wonderful Souls, React, Remember, Reflect, Re-Energize, Rejoice. PAWS: Pets Always Will Support.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – How to Elevate Your Team’s Coaching Culture
    Jack Alexander, Daniel Kientzel, Sonia Scott, Service Corporation International/Dignity Memorial
    Coaching shouldn’t be treated as a line item on your to-do list. Integrating coaching into your management style is key to creating a successful coaching culture. That means every interaction with your team — whether you’re onboarding, sitting in on calls, or holding a one-on-one — becomes an opportunity for coaching. Don’t make it hard to implement. Start by creating a formal coaching library that covers the five core components: Team Coaching, Self-Coaching, One-on-One’s, Onboarding, Peer to Peer, and Self Coaching.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – To Hire or Not to Fire… That is the Question!
    Andy Lopez, GoodTrust
    Managing the labyrinth of staffing shortages, turnover and the post pandemic great resignation we find ourselves holding on to disruptive and unproductive team members in fear of not finding replacements. I will offer a few solutions that are practical and have proven to succeed in sourcing, coaching and retaining talented staff and some ways to evaluate your current staffing levels and adapt a balancing approach to forecasting and cross training to prevent burnout of the team.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Embalming the Edematous Case:  Reduction, Removal, Restoration
    Shun Newbern, Metropolitan Mortuary
    This presentation will also discuss specific techniques that can be used to reduce edema from the entire body, including swollen eyes, for a more acceptable appearance. It will identify a number of ideas and suggestions that will help funeral directors and embalmers better promote open casket services. It will identify methods that can be employed to better improve staff capabilities when meeting with family members with good restorative art skills. The session will provide easy to use techniques for the novice embalmer and fine-tuning areas for the experienced practitioner.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Competing on Analytics; Data Driven Decision Making
    Robert Page
    Whether in a cemetery, funeral home, crematory, combination location, or as a member of a consolidator, our definition of success should be based on quantitative and qualitative values.  Each aspect of your operation (maintenance, administration, operations, sales, HR, IT, marketing) has precious information which may enable you to compete on a new level in your marketplace. Key stakeholders may have their definitions of success, but what is yours?  Explore the varied values, relationships of data elements already at your fingertips and determine how you can Compete on Analytics.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – The New Family: Normalizing the Pet Memorial Service & Filling this Crucial Need for Pet Owners
    Maryglenn Warnock, Paws to Remember
    This session explores how and why the concept of family has evolved to include members of the two- and four-legged variety. In addition to providing an eye-opening look into changes in attitudes about pets, what’s fueling this shift, and the generational component driving these changes in how to define family, this presentation will probe how we, as aftercare providers, must endeavor to serve the whole modern family. From examining the who (who the market for pet services is—and it’s far more nuanced than just pet owners), the why (why pet services are so desperately needed) to the how (how to reach the market and deliver valuable, meaningful services) The New Family:  Normalizing the Pet Memorial Service & Filling this Crucial Need for Pet Owners will deliver thought-provoking and insightful content about the future of pet aftercare.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – What Does Cremation Mean Today, to a ‘Craft Beer, Environmentally Conscious Generation?’
    Tom Crean, TC Management
    Our Heritage Gardens Surrey Cemetery was proposed to us, a farm to be rezoned (by a prominent Vancouver Church community), into the first new cemetery in our regional district in 62 years.  We opened it in 2018.  They had proposed a partnership on the basis that they would purchase 2,000 plots at $5,000 each, offsetting 70% of our set up costs.  We were very concerned when mid-pandemic (with three commitment letters in hand), they decided to withdraw their offer. That’s when my partner and I’s two sons came to us and said: “Dads, we’re a ‘craft-beer minded, environmental generation’, and none of the corporates, the municipalities or the Churches are offering our generation’s clientele any meaningful products at all, no one is addressing our market.  We’d like to try a few experimental offerings.  “What do you have in mind?” we asked, and their proposals struck us (in our now 90% cremation market), to be pretty insightful.  We authorized them to go forward, and everything they designed, sold out before they were even built.  Each of these products are now proven, using our son’s new techniques, innovations, and programs. Greening ‘cremation’ while adding ‘life’ to memorialization has allowed us to more than replace our partner’s presence, by creating in the minds of the lion’s share of our market, meaningful products in the context of climate change as it pertains to cemetery operations; green burial, innovative memorialization, best-practices; and sessions featuring the latest advances in bereavement support and innovation within the profession.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Identifying & Capitalizing on Your Golden Hour Time Management & Other Strategies for Owners & Managers
    Tim Bridgers, Live Oak Bank
    Management is hard – it’s also vital to efficient and effective work as well as reaching your goals. Mismanaged people can lead to underperformance, mismanaged time to an inability to meet goals and mismanaged finances to business failure. Ask yourself: Are you maximizing your time? Are your management strategies enabling a thriving business? There are a lot of theories and models out there for management. How do you identify the best one for you and your business? In this session we will take a deep dive into time, financial and people management, and how to determine the best business strategies to reach your goals and win in the marketplace. Identifying my golden hours helped me to get my MBA while working full time, managing people, running a side business, and making time for my wife and kids. I will help you identify your golden hours when you are most productive. Then show you how to capitalize on that time to identify and focus on what tasks are the highest priority for your business and how to protect that time.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Understanding the Millennial Worker and How They Can Improve Your Business
    Antonio Green, James H. Cole Home for Funerals
    The typical funeral home in the United Sates is owned and/or operated by an individual of the Baby Boomer or early Generation X age range. The up-and-coming Millennial generation, which will soon become the successors in these businesses, act and operate very differently. Nevertheless, they are changing how businesses operate and carving new paths in almost every industry, including death care. Nowadays it’s rare to have a conversation with funeral home owners without them bringing up how difficult it is, “working with Millennials”. This program will help you understand why Millennials are so different than previous generations and provide some ideas on how to motivate these employees and show you how big of an asset they can be to the profession
  • 11:00 AM – 12:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Embalming with Improved Knowledge and Skills
    Karl Wenzel, Genelyn Canada/North America/Asia
    Embalmers are filled with knowledge and skills that assist families to say goodbye every day.  Let’s expand our knowledge to better aid families as well as protect ourselves better in the preparation room. We will look at knowledge of product risks and how to utilize products to provide us with the best results for the families we serve.  From jaundice to massive trauma, to disinfectants, to index. Let us expand our knowledge with open discussion.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 AM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Cemetery Development Has Gone to the Dogs
    John Bolton, CCE, CCrE, CSE, CXE, Park Lawn Corporation
    Pets are important. Americans spent $124 billion dollars on pet products and services. Among Americans yet to purchase a home, nearly 42% admitted that their pet or the desire to have one would be a key factor in their decision to buy a house. So with the pet industry continuing to grow rapidly in the US, what are we doing to help facilitate memorializing a pet as they go to the Rainbow Bridge? In this informative session, John will share the thought process, development components and return on investment potential of adding a pet burial and cremation area to your cemetery.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Communicating at Every Level: Death Care Collective Panel Discussion
    Erin Creger, Envision Strategic Partners
    Honnalora Hubbard, Coldspring
    You’ve heard it’s all about location, location, location.  That may be true in real estate, but it is growing less and less important in the death care industry and business as a whole.  Let’s dive into the topic that makes the biggest impact in business today, communication, communication, communication.
    Learn how to increase your impact with greater communication on three clear paths.  Communication #1 – Erin Creger will guide you through how to make   one on one communication more productive, and how to show up to each conversation as your best self.  Communication #2 Honnalora and Erin will team up to give a can’t miss approach to crushing every presentation you give and communicating in group settings.  Communication #3 – How to speak from the stage, taking your message to the masses, Honnalora will help you remove the fear and find your voice.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – When Digital, Innovation, and the Real-World meet, Magic Happens: Why Tribute Technology’s Digital Guru Focuses His Time on Physical Keepsakes
    Zach Garbow, Tribute Company
    The digitization of our world means consumers are bombarded with video, brand messages, and content all day (and night!) In this always online world, even caring for the bereaved has gone digital. Online funerals, digital keepsakes, like memorial videos and tribute walls, and even supportive Facebook content play an important role in honoring a loved one and healing from loss. However, these digital products have their drawbacks. They’re becoming ubiquitous, commoditized, and they lack the tangible permanence.  People can’t touch and feel them. Digital keepsakes typically aren’t truly “yours” since they exist in the cloud, and it’s difficult to form an emotional connection to something constructed of bytes.  That’s why taking digital products and moving them into the physical world is increasingly important to families and when differentiating your business. Join Zack Garbow — one of the funeral profession’s foremost technology innovators — to learn how to perfectly pair your online offerings with physical keepsakes for superior service, family satisfaction, and business growth.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Sustainable Steps to Sell Eco-Friendly Death
    Darren Crouch, Green Burial Council
    Environmental concerns are making an impact on every industry, led increasingly by green-minded consumers who are educated, engaged, and asking for services that align with their values. What will this trend look like at your funeral home or cemetery, and how can you prepare your business to meet this demand? Elizabeth Fournier and Darren Crouch present the case for environmentally friendly services and biodegradable merchandise, even if there isn’t a green cemetery yet in your area.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 PM
    BREAKOUT SESSION – Generate More Pet Loss Revenue with Precise Digital Marketing
    Welton Hong, Ring Ring Marketing
    More funeral homes are adding pet cremation to their service offerings, making this the perfect time to explore the user experience for families facing an at-need situation with a pet. What do pet families know about their options when a beloved companion dies? How do you capture their attention when they’re looking online for information on cremation, memorialization, keepsakes, and more? Ring Ring Marketing founder/CEO Welton Hong explains how digital marketing can help funeral homes grow their pet loss services. He’ll explain how to gain market share with strong local SEO and pay-per-click advertising, brand your firm as a compassionate pet loss service provider through social media, establish trust by generating more positive online reviews, and much more. He’ll also discuss the benefits of having a dedicated website for pet families, the importance of incorporating high-conversion elements into the site, and the need to have a mobile-friendly site.  
  • 1:00 – 3:00 PM
    Poul Lemasters, ICCFA/Lemasters Counseling
    It is said that when something works, you stick with it. Apparently, a free lunch served with a side of legal and legislative updates is one of those models that works. Join us again for the annual Legal & Legislative Luncheon. This is THE place to be if you want to hear about and contribute to what is happening on the Federal and State levels of deathcare. We will talk about taxes, OSHA, employment, and FTC, plus state issues and changes in funeral, cemetery, and crematory regulations across America – we may even talk a little about Canada, too. In addition to hearing about legislation that might affect you, this is also the place to share the issues that are currently affecting you. With a roomful of those in the know you will want to make sure to put this session on your calendar.
  • 5:30 – 6:30 PM
  • 6:30 –7:00 PM
  • 7:00 – 11:00 PM
    We will cap off the end of a memorable week with the Closing Banquet! Come dressed in your cocktail party best and enjoy a night of drinks, dinner, and friendship. The evening begins with a reception followed by the annual Celebration of Remembrance, dinner, and a speech from the newly-inducted ICCFA President, Robbie Pape.
    *Please Note: Each full attendee and spouse registration includes a ticket for the Closing Banquet. Non-registered individuals may purchase a ticket. Tickets may be purchased on the form or on-site at the ICCFA registration desk. Tickets may be purchased up to 24 hours prior to the event.
View the Onsite Program

Keynote Speaker: Mark Panciera

Mark Panciera is an accomplished business owner, community leader, executive and entrepreneur.  As the CEO and Partner of The Pacific Institute, Mark focuses his efforts on driving human performance in organizations, teams, and individuals, working with Fortune 1,000 companies, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare and educational systems, athletic teams, and non-profit organizations.

A well-recognized TED Talk, Vistage and YPO speaker and author, Panciera is frequently asked to share his insights and experience. He has appeared on ABC’s Wall Street Journal Report, CNBC, and CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company). Additionally, he is a trusted media resource and has been quoted in Forbes, the New York Times, the Miami Herald, and the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, with featured articles appearing in USA Today and Inc. Magazine.

With a strong commitment to community service Mark has been the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards for his exemplary service to many groups and causes.

Mark earned a BA in Business Administration from the University of South Florida and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University.

Click here to hear what mark has to say about his keynote presentation!

Keynote Speaker: Andre Dawson

After a decade of stardom with Montreal, Andre Dawson reached new heights with the Cubs. A free-swinging right-handed batter susceptible to being hit by pitches (he led or tied for the league lead four times) Dawson was a complete player with the Expos, outstanding at bat, in the field, and on the bases. On September 24, 1985, he became the second player in major league history to hit two home runs in an inning twice in a career (having previously done it on July 30, 1978). Still, he was largely overshadowed in Montreal by the popular Gary Carter and as a power-hitting NL outfielder by Dale Murphy, who got to play half his games in homer-friendly Fulton County Stadium. Dawson led NL outfielders in chances three straight seasons (1981-83), but the artificial surface at Olympic Stadium took its toll on his knees. By 1986 he was determined to play on grass. He foiled the collusion of the owners to check the free agent market by signing a blank contract with the Cubs, which they filled in with a salary far below market value ($500,000). Rejuvenated by natural grass and day baseball, and helped statistically by the move to the league’s best offensive park after ten years in one of its worst, he turned in an MVP season in 1987, leading the NL with 49 homers and 137 RBI. He was the first player on a last-place team ever to win the MVP. And he recovered on the salary as well when the Players Association won a significant judgment against the owners for the collusion. 

Andre Dawson retired in 1996 and was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. He has since invested some of his career earnings, time, and commitment into restoring a funeral home that was close to Dawson’s church and the neighborhood where he grew up. He understood the community’s reliance on mortuary services, so he took on the challenge and reopened the facility as Paradise Memorial Funeral Home. And although some folks in the neighborhood may be aware of Dawson’s fame, he prefers to work behind the scenes. He transports bodies, cleans the facility, and oversees preparations — even those of COVID patients.  

Click here to hear what Andre has to say about his keynote presentation!

Keynote Speaker: Carmen Best

As the first African American Chief of Police at the Seattle Police Department, Carmen Best began her position by quickly recruiting more than 40 officers of color – recognizing the problem that the police force was significantly less diverse than the demographic makeup of the city. In this talk, she shares her lessons learned on how to create a more diverse workforce and demonstrates the importance of including multiple viewpoints and backgrounds at any organization. According to Chief Best, “in many ways, I represent what the future can hold, so I’m very proud of that.” Currently, Best is the director of global security risk operations at Microsoft where she is responsible for the global virtual security operations team, intelligence, executive threat intel, special asset security risk operations, and security program management. 

Chief Carmen Best has been recognized with dozens of awards for her contributions to community engagement, public safety, gender equity, diversity, and inclusion. Most notably, she received the “Newsmaker of the Year” award from the Seattle Black Press and was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor, dedicated to recognizing individuals who selflessly contribute to society and uphold the ideals of America. 

Click here to hear what Carmen has to say about her keynote presentation!

Keynote Speaker: Maddy Dychtwald

Recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 50 female futurists globally, Maddy Dychtwald has been deeply involved for more than 30 years in exploring all aspects of the age wave and how it’s transforming the marketplace, the workplace, our world, and our lives. She is an internationally acclaimed author, public speaker, Wall Street Journal blogger, and thought leader on longevity, aging, the new retirement, and the ascent of women.

A successful entrepreneur, in 1986 Maddy co-founded Age Wave, the world’s leading think tank and corporate adviser on the far-reaching and profound impacts of our global aging population. The Age Wave team has worked with more than half of the Fortune 500 in industries ranging from healthcare and medical technology to financial services and consumer products.

Click here to hear what Maddy has to say about her keynote presentation!

ICCFA’s Lasting Impact Award

Lasting Impact Award Recipient: Doug Gober

The Lasting Impact Awards were created by the ICCFA Educational Foundation to recognize those individuals who have made significant contributions to furthering professional development and lifelong learning in the funeral, cemetery and cremation profession. This year’s Lasting Impact Award was presented to Doug Gober at a reception on May 17 at the 2023 ICCFA Annual Convention and Exposition in Kansas City, Missouri.

Doug received this award in recognition of his commitment and contributions to the deathcare profession over his 44-year career. During that time, he logged hundreds of hours as a speaker and educator at deathcare events across the globe and presented at many ICCFA events. Doug has earned numerous national awards and has served as a consultant for marketing and merchandising projects on an international scale.

View the full press release

Join us next year in Tampa, Florida!

Next year, the ICCFA’s flagship event docks in Tampa Bay! Join thousands of other deathcare professionals for this one-of-a-kind event. Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge with world-class keynotes and in-depth educational breakouts, check out the latest and greatest goods and services in our exhibit hall, or connect with your colleagues from across the globe, then you won’t want to miss this event. Save the date for April 10-13, 2024, and we’ll see you there!

Check out the 2022 Annual Convention & Exposition!

The 2022 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition took place on March 22 – 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thank you to all who made it an incredibly successful event!

2022 Convention & Expo Info
View Event Photos


Sponsorship Opportunities

If your organization is interested in showing your support for the ICCFA and the deathcare profession at one of the largest events of the year, consider becoming a sponsor! Thousands of attendees will see your organization’s logo and branding, solidifying your place as a leader in deathcare. Our sponsors are recognized in our official publication Memento Mori, on the ICCFA website, on on-site signage and more!

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Rick Platter at

Become a Sponsor