by Jennifer Olvera, CCE
Manager of Community Engagement and Safety, Green Hills Memorial Park
Manager of Public Relations, Coastal Funeral Center
ICCFA Committee Chair, Women in Leadership

My name is Jennifer (Frew) Olvera, CCE, and I have been working in the deathcare profession for 28 years. In 1998, I accepted a full-time position with Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where I have held several positions in the Administrative Department and now serve as the Manager of Community Engagement and Safety, as well as the Public Relations Manager for our sister mortuary, Coastal Funeral Center. I first attended the International Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) Annual Convention in the early 2000s when it was still recognized as the ICFA, but I became more engaged in 2005 during my father Ray Frew’s, CCFE, term as President of the ICFA.

It was in the same year that I attended the ICFA University in Memphis and took the Funeral Home Management College with the late Todd Van Beck. At the time, it didn’t seem to make much sense for me to choose this course since the Mortuary and the Memorial Park were two separate entities, but I had heard tremendous things about Van Beck and his wealth of knowledge in relation to our profession. The rumors were no lie, and I returned to California with so much enthusiasm for our profession. I remember sharing with my father that I could now run the mortuary (even though it wasn’t ours to operate). From that moment on, I was eager to attend as much as I could, be more involved, and learn wherever knowledge was to be gained. Not only did I graduate from ICCFA University in 2008, but I also continued attending and taking additional courses through what was referred to as the Masters Program, and I was even asked to step in as the ICCFA University Liaison in 2010.

As mentioned, I held several positions in the Administrative Department, which afforded me more opportunities for growth through attendance at the ICCFA Annual Conventions and Expositions, attending seminars, interacting with vendors, and coordinating the Celebration of Remembrance, which included a Veterans Tribute. Eventually, I was approached by the 2009 President of the ICCFA, Mark Krause, CFuE, who asked if I would consider campaigning for a seat on the Board. Being somewhat new to the scene, I didn’t think it was possible to obtain enough votes to be elected, but I was simply honored by the ask. Lo and behold, in April 2009, I was elected to the ICCFA Board of Directors, the same year that 6 out of the 8 elected were females, a first for the ICCFA, and a moment I am very proud to be associated with.

Approximately a year later, a young woman on the same shuttle as I, attending ICCFA University, saw my Board of Directors badge and inquired how I was able to hold such an esteemed position. Her inquiry stemmed from her lack of familiarity with seeing women in such roles, and I simply shared that I have always been very outgoing, determined, dedicated, driven, and was very fortunate to also have influential men in the business who believed in and supported me. It was at that moment that I wanted to create a committee that was women-focused, women-driven, and available to help others like the young lady on the shuttle know they have a voice, they are heard, and they are powerful. It took a little time, but that moment led to the first-ever Women in Leadership session in 2014, where we became an official ICCFA Committee. We have been fortunate with continued sessions since, including this year’s Women in Leadership session at the 2024 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition, “Become the Leader You Would Follow” with current ICCFA President, Robbie Pape.

To date, I have participated on the Membership Committee, am a current member of the Veterans Committee, helped raise funds for the Educational Foundation, served as Co-chair of the former NextGen Committee, received certifications as a Cemetery Executive, Crematory Operator/Administrator/Arranger, and Certified Celebrant, written an article for the Southern Funeral Director magazine, and served three terms as a Board of Director. It never crossed my mind that all of the above would have transpired due to filling out a registration form for the ICCFA University and Annual Convention; opportunities that would never have existed if I hadn’t signed the dotted line. If my journey captured your interest, just imagine the stories you’ll write if you too sign up for the Annual Convention, April 10-13, 2024. Education, experience, networking, connections, certifications, and yes, friendships, are waiting for you in Tampa.

For more information on the 2024 ICCFA Annual Convention & Exposition, visit