March 22-25, 2022
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino | Las Vegas, NV

Don’t Miss the 2022 ICCFA Virtual Convention!

Thank you to those of you who attended the 2022 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas last month! This year’s event was truly spectacular, and it was wonderful to see the deathcare profession gathering together once again.

Don’t miss our virtual companion event – the 2022 ICCFA Virtual Convention! In-person registrants gain complimentary admittance, and if you weren’t able to join us in-person but regret missing some of the sessions – click the button below to learn more and register!

Attend the 2022 Virtual Convention!

Call for Presentations

The 2023 Annual Convention & Exposition will be held in Kansas City, MO from Tuesday, May 16 – Friday, May 19, 2023. Co-chairs Don Winsett and Phil Zehms are looking for presentations with innovative ideas! If you have expertise in a particular area of cemetery, cremation, or funeral service, we want you!

We are most interested in sessions that share concrete, proven techniques, and programs, as opposed to theory or opinion. Extra consideration will be paid to sessions featuring content pertaining to the broad subjects of climate change as it pertains to the profession; cemetery operations; green burial best-practices; and sessions featuring the latest advances in thanatology and innovation within the profession.

We are looking for 50-minute presentations in the following areas:

  • Cemetery Operations
  • Funeral Home Operations
  • Cremation
  • Grief & Bereavement
  • Technology and Innovation
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Business Management and Leadership
  • Pet Loss
  • Other

Please Note:  We ask that speakers to refrain from speaking about prices or other issues subject to antitrust legislation. In addition, we ask that speakers refrain from any type of promotional marketing or selling of any product or service. Any requests for compensation must be included in the proposal.

We receive many more proposals than we can fit into the program, so please be sure to follow the guidelines and clearly explain the value proposition for attendees. Submissions are due by August 15, 2022. Questions? Please contact Tom Crosley at tcrosley@iccfa.com.

Submit Your Proposal

Schedule of Events

  • 2:30 – 3:45 pm
    FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING

REGISTRATION OPEN 8 am – 7 pm

  • 8:30 – 10:30 am
    BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
  • 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
    PLPA COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
    SALES & MARKETING COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
    CCSC COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 12:00 – 2:00 pm
    GOVERNMENT & LEGAL COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
    MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
    VETERANS COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 1:00 – 3:00 pm
    IMSA BOARD MEETING
  • 2:00 – 4:00 pm
    ALPAR BOARD MEETING
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    FUNERAL HOME OPTERATIONS BREAKOUT SESSION – Shifts in Customer Desires and Habits Brought on by The Pandemic
    Mary Russell, Matthews International
    The Global Pandemic showed us that as an industry, we can be flexible, creative, and nimble when necessary. Funeral homes and cemeteries were forced to instantly reinvent their business to adapt to ever-changing federal and state requirements, all while still working to provide meaningful ways of saying goodbye. Progressive funeral homes and cemeteries are using these historic challenges to innovate – using new technologies and new ideas to serve families now and well into the future. This enlightening session will review shifts in consumer desires and habits brought about by the pandemic. We will share best practices you can put into action now to ensure the future of your business and career.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    LEADERSHIP AND BUSINESS MANAGEMENT BREAKOUT SESSION – Defining Leadership in the Workplace
    Don Winsett, Davey Resource Group/Davey Tree Expert Co
    When you’re young, clouds are pirate ships and dragons. As we grow older, we lose sight of the “spectacular” and lose hope in what things can become. During our time spent together, attendees will look within to discover their own gifts. What makes you unique? What makes you a leader? We will take those attributes and learn how to further develop those. We will discover ways to be better listeners for our team. We are going to re-spark our imagination and see the world as pirate ships and dragons once more to regain a new perspective within the workplace.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 pm
    LEADERSHIP AND BUSINESS MANAGEMENT BREAKOUT SESSION – Overcoming the Staffing Challenges of the 21st Century in a Post-Pandemic World
    Bob Heidlage, Global Recruiters of Batesville
    We will look at the latest facts and figures related to hiring and retaining the best and brightest. We will also discuss how the past 2 years have changed the dynamic between employer and employee. Learn strategies that will help you take advantage of the unique value proposition the funeral and cemetery professions offer candidates who might be reconsidering their future as we address some of the most common misconceptions about attracting and retaining top talent.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 pm
    FUNERAL HOME OPERATION BREAKOUT SESSION – P.A.U.S.E.: Next of Kin Scenarios
    Mike Elliott, Carriage Services
    Next-of-kin scenarios create multiple challenges for funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematories and can lead to highly emotional conflict. While never easy to resolve, Mike will speak about an easy process to follow when dealing with difficult next-of-kin situations. By using the systematic P.A.U.S.E. approach, funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematories can avoid unnecessary legal risk while also showcasing first class funeral service.
  •  4:00 – 7:00 pm
    GRAND OPENING RECEPTION IN THE EXPO HALL
  • 7:00 – 9:00 pm
    OAK RIDGE BOYS CONCERT IN THE EXPO HALL
    Thanks to the generosity of Service Corporation International (SCI), the ICCFA is pleased to close out the first day of exhibits with a concert featuring Grammy award-winning artists, The Oak Ridge Boys. All registrants are invited to attend, enjoy the music and enjoy food and drink with fellow attendees.

REGISTRATION OPEN 7 am – 5 pm

  • 8:00 – 10:00 am
    IMSA BUSINESS MEETING
  • 9:00 – 10:00 am
    ICCFA ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS
    Vote for members to represent you on the ICCFA Board of Directors, listen to officers’ reports on the state of the association, and fully engage in the running of the ICCFA.*NOTE: Following a successful and secure online Board of Director’s election in 2021, the ICCFA will conduct the 2022 Board of Director’s elections using the same online voting platform. The primary contact of all Regular members in good standing will be contacted via email with a secure link to register their vote. The election period opens February 16, 2022 and remains open until March 23, 2022, at 12 noon PDT, when the final votes will be reported and the new Board of Directors announced.
  • 10:00 – 11:00 am
    KEYNOTE SESSION – Leading Across the Generational Divide
    Lynne Lancaster
    What makes a great leader and how do the generations view the role of leadership differently? Today, the expectations of leaders are evolving. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran directing those younger than you, an experienced Xer juggling multiple generations, a skilled Millennial managing upward, or you are struggling to connect with all the generations, Lynne’s savvy research, entertaining anecdotes and practical advice will help you:
    – Understand who the generations are and how their expectations of leaders have changed
    – Quantify generational gaps in recruiting, engaging, communicating, and retaining
    – Increase your effectiveness as a leader by understanding how to engage each generation
    – Apply hands-on techniques to flex your leadership style
  • 11:00 am – 2:30 pm
    EXPO HALL OPEN/LUNCH WITH EXHIBITORS
  • 2:30 – 3:30 pm
    KEYNOTE SESSION – The Brand Within: Branding Yourself  from Birth to the Boardroom
    Daymond John
    When William Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage,” he was indirectly talking about branding! Corporations love employees with a strong sense of branding because it inspires out-of-the-box thinking, creating an infectious energy that flows throughout the work environment. It’s no secret that the world has gotten smaller. Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and dozens of other social websites have increased the desire for people to be noticed as a brand. From how he remade his brand image and transitioned from clothing mogul to television personality, Daymond John is going to share the stories and lessons that got him there.
    Along his entrepreneurial journey, through his many successes as well as failures, he has learned a few things about getting the best out of business and life. He believes the keys to his success include establishing the right mindset and following a few fundamental principles, which he calls his five “S.H.A.R.K points.” Daymond John believes the ability to shift power in our favor starts with how we present ourselves to the world, and how the world looks back on us. And that begins with mastering influence and developing a reputation that highlights what you stand for. In today’s world, we all live or die by the stories we tell, which is why we need to think about the stories that define our past before we can begin to take that next big step. Get ready! Daymond John will share how to take control of your destiny and empower audience members to make positive changes in every aspect of their lives.
  • 3:30 – 5:00 pm
    HAPPY HOUR RECEPTION IN THE EXPO HALL
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm
    FIRST TIMERS RECEPTION
    If you have never attended an ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition, this reception is for you! Meet with fellow first timers and ICCFA Board members over refreshments and light snacks.
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm
    PLPA RECEPTION
    This year, we welcome incoming PLPA Committee Chair Lauren Blevins and celebrate the realignment of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA).
  • 6:00 – 7:30 pm
    EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION RECEPTION
    Join us as we thank the generosity of donors and recognize scholarship recipients and toast the 2022 Lasting Impact awardee Glenda Stansbury at the Educational Foundation Reception.
    Glenda’s legacy is notable for her training and development of celebrants, who offer an alternative to services provided by clergypersons for families who are not affiliated with a church or who do not wish to have a traditional religious funeral service. Under her guidance, she has trained over 4,665 celebrants with an estimated 7.5 million individuals who have witnessed the impact of a ceremony performed by one of her trainees.

REGISTRATION OPEN 7 am – 1 pm

  • 7:30 – 8:30 am
    PRAYER BREAKFAST
    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.
  • 8:30 – 9:00 am
    KEEPING IT PERSONAL (KIP) AWARDS AND EXECUTIVE CERTIFICATION AWARDS
  • 9:00 – 9:30 am
    KEYNOTE SESSION – Digital Legacy – Take Control of Your Digital Afterlife
    Rikard Steiber
    Do you know what happens to your digital “stuff” when you die? No? You are not alone! As it turns out, 90% have no plans for what will happen to their online financial and social media accounts, documents, photos etc., but 80% of people want a solution. With 30 million dead people sending birthday reminders of Facebook, this is a real problem.
    You’re invited to Rikard’s keynote session to learn what will happen to your digital accounts like Google, Apple, and Facebook when you die. Gain insight on how digital accounts, documents, and photo memories are becoming an important part of pre-need planning. Also, catch a glimpse into the future, where you can live on forever as an AI avatar interacting with future generations.
  • 9:30 – 10:30 am
    KEYNOTE SESSION – Nice Bike – Making Meaningful Connections
    Mark Scharenbroich
    Mix thousands and thousands of black leather-clad, bandana-wearing, tattoo-bearing Harley-Davidson riders with a 100th Anniversary and one beige rental car and the end result will be the perfect metaphor for connecting with others: “Nice Bike.”
    Nice Bike acts as a powerful catalyst to help build stronger, more unified teams. The message inspires audience members to be more engaged and passionate about connecting with others.
    Join Emmy award-winning speaker, Mark Scharenbroich as he takes you for a fun ride on how to be effective at making meaningful connections in both your professional and personal life. His Nice Bike principle is supported by three strong actions: acknowledge, honor, and connect.
  • 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
    LUNCH WITH EXHIBITORS IN THE EXPO HALL
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    VETERAN BREAKOUT SESSION – Veteran Recruitment: Journey to Serve-Panel Discussion
    Moderators: Gino Merendino, Merendino Cemetery Care; Jim Price, CCFE, CCrE, Park Lawn Corporation; Lee Wiensch, Funeral Service Foundation
    Journey to Serve is a collaborative initiative between the ICCFA Educational Foundation and the Funeral Service Foundation designed to help recruit military veterans to open positions within the deathcare profession. Join members of ICCFA’s Veterans Committee as they discuss the traits that make military veterans such ideal candidates for careers in deathcare, share first-hand accounts of successful veteran hires within their firms, and demonstrate how to effectively use the Journey to Serve toolkit to better communicate with and recruit military veterans to your deathcare business.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    SALES & MARKETING BREAKOUT SESSION – 17 Marketing Tactics To Grow Your Business
    John Seal, Hangar Marketing
    The world of marketing is constantly changing. It may seem complicated at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Join us in this fast-paced session to learn how to stay ahead of your competitors and grow your practice without breaking the bank.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    Music, Words and Ceremonies for Natural Burial Graveside Services
    Amy Cunningham, Fitting Tribute Funeral Services LLC
    Join Amy Cunningham as she walks participants through every phase of an earth-friendly burial. With photos obtained with family permission, you’ll get a real feel for what it’s like to direct a gorgeous natural burial. Come hear advice on keeping the body cool, how to shroud, convey to the cemetery, and give families that want something different a transformative hands-on experience. Leave this talk saying to yourself, “this is the first time I’ve been able to get a glimmer of an opportunity I previously felt was a big loser for us.”
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    LEADERSHIP & BUSINESS MANAGEMENT BREAKOUT SESSION – Aftercare Startups to the Rescue?
    Howard Sankel, Options For Ashes, P.B.C.
    Challenges don’t go away. They evolve. Cemeteries are increasingly challenged by the continued growth in cremations. Crematories continue to be under pricing pressures as more capacity enters the market. And customers are increasingly challenged by a misalignment of permanent memorialization desires and available options.
    There are solutions on the horizon. Funeral industry startup companies are beginning to fill the voids. The question is, how should cemeteries, crematories and funeral homes best work with them to capture increased revenue without adding to their costs or jeopardizing customer relationships? Join Howard Sankel as he provides tools to help ensure that you are simultaneously maximizing your profit potential while best serving your family’s needs.
  • 2:00 – 2:50 pm
    GENERAL INTEREST BREAKOUT SESSION – Emerging Leaders
    Leili McMurrough, Worsham College of Mortuary Science, McMurrough Funeral Chapel
    The challenges of hiring and retaining quality talent seem to be nationwide issues plaguing our funeral homes. Funeral home hiring managers want the Energizer Bunny: inexhaustible, cost-efficient labor. Yet, modern apprentices want work/life balance, benefits, and a living wage. This conflict of interests has created a gap in expectations, making it difficult to find good candidates to fill critical roles. Even more importantly, this disconnect has caused an exodus of hard-working, dedicated professionals in pursuit of other careers. What can we do to fix this problem?
    Join Leili McMurrough as we focus on how to create a funeral home environment that welcomes and retains talent by taking an “employee-centered” perspective. We will hear various perspectives from mortuary students, recent graduates, apprentices, first-year funeral directors, and learn why some of our rising stars leave the profession.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 pm
    LEADERSHIP & BUSINESS MANAGEMENT BREAKOUT SESSION – The Risks and Returns of Outsourcing
    Terence Washington, Service Corporation International
    The session will describe some of the risks associated with outsourcing work to third-party contractors and steps you should take to mitigate those risks.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 pm
    SALES & MARKETING BREAKOUT SESSION – Muslim Funerals: How Local Funeral Homes and Cemeteries Can Market to Muslims in Their Area
    Haroon Firdausi, Muslim Funeral Services
    Ever wonder how you could better serve your Muslim neighbors? Join Haroon Firdausi as he provides insight and expertise into marketing your services to the Muslim community.
  • 3:00 – 3:50 pm
    GENERAL INTEREST BREAKOUT SESSION – Top Tips for Navigating OSHA Compliance
    Dennis Madison, Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries
    This session will highlight the current trends in OSHA enforcement, revealing the most frequent citations issued to our industry in recent years, compliance tips to avoid them, and descriptions of the many key OSHA standards our industry needs to focus on. Dennis Madison will also touch on the different types of citations, the current penalty structure for each, and the appeals process. OSHA inspection triggers along with best practices for preparing and dealing with an OSHA inspection will also be covered. Finally, top takeaways to help focus your safety compliance efforts in an efficient manner will be included along with highlighting some of the many free resources that are available to all businesses.
  •  3:00 – 3:50 pm
    LEADERSHIP & BUSINESS MANAGEMENT BREAKOUT SESSION – Filling the Gaps in Service with Pets and Catering
    Lauren Blevins, CCFE, Williams Funeral Homes & Crematory
    As we progress inside the shift in our industry and move more toward a hospitality mindset, how do we begin? Implementation of a new way of doing business from catering to specialized services can be the most challenging part of the process. Lauren will give some clear how-to’s. How she started and what she learned from some of her winning solutions and from some ideas that flopped. Embracing change will not only affect our personal lives but can have a profound impact on our businesses if our teams believe in it.
  •  3:00 – 3:50 pm
    TOP TIPS FOR NAVIGATING OSHA COMPLIANCE
    Dennis Madison
  • 3:00 – 3:50 pm
    Consumers Want “Green” Deathcare Options: Insights and Solutions from the Green Burial Council Panel Discussion
    Moderator: Rachel Essig, River View Cemetery Funeral Home
    Panelists: Ed Bixby, Green Burial Counsel and Darren Crouch, Passages International
    Consumer interest in going “green” after death is rising. In recent surveys 61.7% and 84% of respondents indicated interest in environmentally sustainable funeral and cemetery options (NDFA 2020; Kates-Boylston May 2021). The Green Burial Council (GBC) has led the charge for 17 years, educating consumers and professionals and developing certification standards for cemeteries, funeral homes, and products. Participants will:
    – Strengthen their ability to respond to these consumer demands
    – Understand the ease of creating a responsive business model
    – Learn about GBC’s support to cemeteries, funeral homes, suppliers, and consumers
    – Explore the benefits of certification
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
  • 4:00 – 4:50 pm
    SALES & MARKETING BREAKOUT SESSION – Boomers are Changing – How to Reach Your Target Demographic in 2022
    Ryan Thogmartin, DISRUPT Media
    As a funeral professional, it can be difficult to reach everyone that needs to hear about your services. This presentation will keep you up-to-date on how your core demographics are communicating online so you can have more conversations, increased business, and a leg-up on the competition.
  • 4:00 – 4:50 pm
    CREMATION OPERATIONS BREAKOUT SESSION – Increasing Your Cremation Averages
    Thomas Holland, CPC, Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Co
    The average cremation sale can have an impact on your prearrangement results. Let’s look at ways to combat these averages, increase your arrangement counts, and increase your income.
  • 4:00 – 4:50 pm
    CEMETERY OPERATIONS BREAKOUT SESSION – How to Win at Cemetery Management: Top 10 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
    Beth Kmiec, ClearPoint Federal Bank & Trust
    Operating a cemetery can be complex, time consuming and overwhelming. Maintaining a world class cemetery requires good record-keeping, investment management knowledge, documented processes, and staying in compliance. No need to feel overwhelmed, there are industry partners available to support you and your team. During this session you will learn the potential cemetery management pitfalls to avoid, best practices, and how to create a winning strategy.
  • 4:00 – 4:50 pm
    FUNERAL HOME OPERATIONS BREAKOUT SESSION – Complex Reconstruction Cases
    Karl Wenzel, Canadian School of Advanced PREP
    Handling severe physical trauma and the complications associated with complex situations can be a challenge for every embalmer. When confronted with severe reconstruction, it is necessary to be innovative and “think outside the box”. Embalmer and educator Karl Wenzel will demonstrate how to take measurements to recreate lost features and the different techniques that can be used to allow families a final viewing. Karl will discuss the facts and clear up some myths about the products embalmers use in their attempt to restore and reconstruct trauma. He will also take an in-depth look at safety in the prep room.
  • 4:00 – 4:50 pm
    GENERAL INTEREST BREAKOUT SESSION – Women in Leadership: Compassion Fatigue & Self-Care -Panel Discussion
    Moderators – Jennifer Olvera, CCE, Green Hills Memorial Park & Tiffany Gallarzo, Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel & Néctar Ramirez, Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries
    Panelists: Gwen Mooney, CCFE, Cave Hill Cemetery; and Delana Pratt, CPC, CSE, Cairn Partners
    Dealing with others’ grief is unavoidable in our industry and we don’t always know how to let go, which then leads to compassion fatigue. Self-care is an activity and an attitude which contributes to the maintenance of well-being and personal health. Through this Women in Leadership session, we will hear stories of compassion fatigue and offer coping mechanisms that will help reduce the negative effects of stress so that you can continue to function at full capacity.

REGISTRATION OPEN 9 am – 1 pm

  • 9:00 – 9:50 am
    LEADERSHIP & BUSINESS MANAGEMENT SESSION – How Silicon Valley is Trying to Destroy the Funeral Industry and What You Can Do About It
    Zach Chatterton, Gather
    Armies of technology companies are assembling – with war chests of money – to do battle against the funeral industry. Join Zach Chatterton as he shares statistics about funding rounds and provides an in-depth analysis of the strategic approach of these new ventures. Learn what funeral homes can do to protect their business in the face of a changing landscape and build on their strengths while exploiting the weaknesses of Silicon Valley.
  • 9:00 – 9:50 am
    FUNERAL HOME OPERATIONS SESSION – How to Compete on Service in a Price-Sensitive Market
    Wanda Sizemore, Homesteaders Life Company
    Too often, funeral providers who pride themselves on offering exceptional service spend most of their time talking to families about out-of-pocket cost or they find themselves in a difficult (and unsustainable) position after lowering prices to compete with low-cost providers. What do you do when you discover that your profit margin is no longer enough to support your historic service levels? This presentation will offer actionable tips for how to compete as a service leader in your market, shifting conversations away from what consumers pay and toward the long-lasting value of your goods, services, and expertise.
  • 9:00 – 9:50 am
    The Truth About Google vs. Facebook and At-Needs vs. Pre-needs
    Tim Fish, Ring Ring Marketing
    Far too many funeral service firms believe they can generate more at-need calls through Facebook marketing. It’s just not true. In this presentation, Tim Fish explains why mastering Google is the key to generating at-need calls, whereas Facebook is the right medium for developing pre-need leads and sales.
  • 9:00 – 9:50 am
    CREMATION OPERATIONS SESSION – Celebrants: The Key to a Successful Future
    Matt Bailey, CFSP, B.C. Bailey Funeral Home Inc.
    Contemporary families are seeking alternative options from funeral homes and cemeteries. With increasing numbers, they are turning away from services and permanent memorialization. In this presentation, Matt Bailey reviews how we found ourselves where we are today and how utilizing Celebrants can be key to not only responding to these customers, but proactively shaping a meaningful and successful future as well.
  • 9:00 – 9:50 am
    CEMETERY OPERATIONS SESSION – Cemetery Consumer Service Council Panel Discussion
    The Cemetery Consumer Service Council (CCSC), founded in 1979, is now a committee within the ICCFA that handles disputes and issues that arise between cemeteries and consumers. This will be a panel discussion where members of the CCSC will highlight and discuss cemetery complaints that have been received. Panelists will then provide recommendations to attendees, guidance on how these issues can be addressed, and steps that can be taken to prevent issues from arising. Attendees will be able to apply the lessons learned directly to their cemetery and business, regardless of size.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 am
    GRIEF & BEREAVEMENT SESSION – Pain Killers Can be KILLERS: Funeral Arrangements for An Overdose Death
    Marc Markell, PhD, St. Cloud State University / Worsham College of Mortuary Science
    The opioid crisis has affected every state in the United States. Funeral directors nationwide serve an important role when making arrangements for a family after the death from an overdose. Not only are they often the first support the family receives, but they also have the potential of helping the family start the path of healthy grieving. This session will focus on the definition of a drug overdose death, national statistics, making arrangements after an overdose death, some information from interviews, and how to incorporate the cause of death into obituaries and eulogies.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 am
    FUNERAL HOME OPERATIONS SESSION – Success and Succession in Funeral Service
    Jake Johnson, Johnson Consulting Group
    In this presentation Jake Johnson will share statistics on how COVID has affected values and succession planning, and give case studies on value impacts. He will discuss the four pillars of success, share the characteristics of a successful funeral operation and talk about ways to create a customer service revolution in your organization that will allow you to turn a product into a service. You will walk away knowing how to maximize the value of your business, regardless of how it is transferred in the future.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 am
    CEMETERY OPERATIONS SESSION – Radically Different: One Cemetery’s Strategy for Attracting New Business
    Jason Troyer, PhD, JasonTroyer.com & GriefPlan.com and C. Lynn Gibson, PhD, DPhil, CFSP, Smith Life & Legacy
    Grandview Cemetery in Maryville, TN was awarded the 2020 Keeping It Personal (KIP) Award for the Most Personalized Service or Memorial (Cemetery). In this presentation, Drs. Gibson and Troyer share the unique features and marketing that earned Grandview Cemetery this award. If you are curious about how to draw more people to your cemetery and offer them unique cremation options, then this presentation is for you.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 am
    People, Process, Tools: Solving the Right Problem
    Jason Cavett, webCemeteries
    We have all heard it before – “Do you want to grow your organization? Do you want to increase your revenue? Do you want to drive new sales? Use XYZ Software and you will see results!” Most people, when told they can “Get rich quick!” ignore the message because it’s just not true. Yet, every day, leaders in organizations are hooked in by messages similar to these with hopes that their business will “get rich quick.” This type of phrasing is plastered across the websites of thousands of software vendors. It appeals to our desire to accomplish a lot with a little but a piece of software, by itself, is just another get rich quick scheme and often results in organizational frustration, split fiefdoms of technology, and failure to achieve the desired goals. This session will cover an approach to organizational growth that creates a bed of solid rock on which to advance, grow, and expand. Rather than throwing technology at the problem or goal, you will walk away with a plan for developing an organizational environment where your tools support and enable your growth.
  • 10:00 – 10:50 am
    PET LOSS SESSION – PLPA Pet Care Panel Discussion
    Moderator- Lauren Blevins, CCFE, Williams Funeral Homes & Crematory
    Ever wonder how to provide your families with dignified and respectful care of their deceased pets? Interested in promoting your cemetery, crematory, or memorial center as a place of lasting tribute to the memories of our beloved pets?  You’re invited to join our esteemed group of panelists and moderator Lauren Blevins from the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA) as explore these issues and more.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 am
    LEADERSHIP & BUSINESS MANAGEMENT SESSION – Talent Acquisition – The Human Resource and Your Business
    Jason Buchbinder, Carriage Services
    The discussion will highlight best practices pursuant on how to knock-in and/or knock-out potential new partners to your individual and unique team through the initial vetting process. We will also discuss how to further assess those practices and processes currently in place that have your business and family’s best interests at heart. Better human resources mean a better return on investment.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 am
    LEGAL SESSION – Ethics in Deathcare
    Poul Lemasters, Esq., ICCFA General Counsel
    Deathcare is a caring profession. I mean look at the word deathcare – ‘care’ is right in there! And if you care about something, then it must mean you’re ethical too. Right? Well – the problem is that our society is always changing, along with ethical changes too. It’s true. Most people think ethics are rules that never change; it’s simply doing the right thing, but ethics evolve and we are seeing big changes in what society accepts as ethical versus unethical. So, what have you done to address the changes in ethics that effect deathcare? You have talked about ethics right? People – and businesses – need to have a better understanding of ethics in the workplace so they can avoid big issues. Today, being unethical can ruin a business and even be part of a lawsuit.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 am
    SALES & MARKETING SESSION – How Reviews Got Us More Business
    Scott Mueller, Mueller Memorial and Taelor Johnson, Mueller Memorial
    “We chose Mueller because of the positive reviews here on Google.”- Janna Caywood
    When a person suddenly finds themselves looking for a cremation, cemetery, or funeral provider, they’ll search Google. What will Google tell them about you? Join Scott Mueller and Taelor Johnson to explore how reviews and social proof are the new currency in internet marketing and discover tools and techniques to tactfully ask families to share their heartfelt referrals with the world. Learn how to turn bad reviews into a positive, why a 4.9 rating is sometimes even better than a five, and how to create a custom Google review link for your business.
  • 11:00 – 11:50 am
    Consumers Want “Green” Deathcare Options: Insights and Solutions from the Green Burial Council Panel Discussion
    Moderator: Rachel Essig, River View Cemetery Funeral Home
    Panelists: Ed Bixby, Green Burial Counsel and Darren Crouch, Passages International
    Consumer interest in going “green” after death is rising. In recent surveys 61.7% and 84% of respondents indicated interest in environmentally sustainable funeral and cemetery options (NDFA 2020; Kates-Boylston May 2021). The Green Burial Council (GBC) has led the charge for 17 years, educating consumers and professionals and developing certification standards for cemeteries, funeral homes and products. Participants will:
    – Strengthen their ability to respond to these consumer demands
    – Understand the ease of creating a responsive business model
    – Learn about GBC’s support to cemeteries, funeral homes, suppliers, and consumer
    – Explore the benefits of certification
  • 11:00 – 11:50 am
    SALES & MARKETING SESSION – The Right Online Marketing Strategy
    Robin Heppell, CFSP, Funeral Results Marketing
    One of the biggest problems funeral homes and cemeteries have with their online marketing efforts is that they focus on using a particular marketing channel and not the end result like increase calls or sales. Instead, owners and managers should approach their online marketing plans that focus on the goals first, then the audience, and so on. Robin Heppell will share his framework of mapping out a marketing plan; from establishing the goals and identifying the necessary steps to achieve them. You’ll leave this session with a clearer understanding of the marketing campaign development process and a framework and resources to aid in future online marketing.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 pm
    FUNERAL HOME OPERATIONS SESSION – Understanding Estate Processes
    Matthew Van Drimmelen, Full-Circle Aftercare
    Assisting families after their loved one has passed on is more than the planning that happens in the funeral home. Non-legal estate issues can take the average family 12 to 18 months to settle. Funeral directors should understand estate processes to better prepare the families they serve.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 pm
    PET LOSS SESSION – Disenfranchised Grief: Moving Beyond “Just a Pet” and Filling a Crucial Need for Bereaved Pet Owners
    Maryglenn Warnock, Paws to Remember
    This session explains the concept of “disenfranchised grief,” highlights the burgeoning need for pet aftercare services, and details the keys to filling this immense need, creating awareness and visibility among pet owners, and serving this important market segment.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 pm
    Five Ways to Create Meaningful Experiences for Online Guests
    Trajan Schulzke, Foveo Memorial Services Inc.
    Live streaming has become an expected part of today’s funeral services. Whether you are excited about what you can offer families or are still looking for a better way to stream, we’ll look at the trends and essentials for streaming and what you can do to offer personalized, engaging streaming experiences that are on-brand and aligned with the in-person experiences you offer.
  • 12:00 – 12:50 pm
    GENERAL INTEREST SESSION – Inclusive Funeral Directors: Affirming LGBTQ People During the Funeral Process
    Marc Markell, PhD, St. Cloud State University, Worsham College of Mortuary Science
    For many years, same-sex couples had no legal protection. There is now a way couples can legitimize their relationship through marriage. As of 2015, all same-sex couples in the United States can legally marry. However, even if couples decide to legally marry, there are still many challenges they may face. Some people falsely assume that because same-sex marriage is legal, that LGBTQ people have reached a level of equality with their heterosexual peers. This is not true for many people. This presentation will discuss terminology, religious beliefs, discrimination, stages of coming out, and how it impacts arrangements and funeral service and grief.
  • 1:00 – 2:30 pm
    LEGAL SESSION – Legal & Legislative Luncheon
    Poul Lemasters, Esq., ICCFA
    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 – 10:00 pm
    CLOSING BANQUET
    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 ICCFA President Gary Freytag, CCFE. We will honor inductees into the Quarter/Half Century Club and Hall of Fame.
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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

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 Meetings Manager Kelly Spann to learn more.

Become a Sponsor