PLPA College

july 17-19, 2019

holiday inn
university of memphis

memphis, tennessee

2019 PLPA College Online Registration coming soon

*To register by mail or by fax, click here to download the registration form.

Hotel Accommodations

All educational sessions held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Cincinnati RiverCenter in Covington, Kentucky.

10 East Rivercenter Boulevard, Covington, Kentucky 41011


Call for Presentations

The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA) is seeking dynamic, engaging, and knowledgeable presenters for the 2019 PLPA College to be held at the Holiday Inn – University of Memphis on July 17-19. Proposals are solicited for 50-minute presentations that are hands-on, interactive, creative, dynamic, and feature best practices. Attendees should leave with specific knowledge and skills related to your session topic and how it relates to their future development as pet loss professionals. Presentations should provide attendees with educational value and refrain from promoting a specific business, product, or service.

This is your opportunity to give back to the pet loss profession by sharing your knowledge and expertise. Proposals are due to the ICCFA by Wednesday, February 20th, 2019. When submitting a session proposal please include:

  1. Your contact information, a brief bio regarding your background and qualifications, and a head & shoulders picture of yourself.
  2. A detailed description of your topic, including the specific tools, techniques and/or initiatives the attendee will be able to implement immediately.
  3. Any request for compensation must be included in your proposal or it will not be granted.

Send proposals to Shannon Green at by February 20th, 2019. Questions? Call Shannon at 571-323-2981.

2018 Schedule of Events

5:00–6:00 PM

Registration Desk Open

6:00–7:30 PM

Welcome Reception

8:30–9:30 AM

Registration Desk Open

9:30–9:45 AM


9:45–10:45 AM

Media: Friend or Foe? Joe Weigel (Principal and Owner, Weigel Strategic Marketing)

At times, the local media can be a pet loss operator’s greatest ally and other times its worst enemy. In this interactive session, Joe discusses the ins and outs of local news gathering and how pet death care facility operators can take steps to generate positive news coverage and to ensure that pet death care facility operators stay on the “good side” of the media.

10:45–11:00 AM

Coffee Break and Vendor Visits

11:00–11:50 AM

Pet Hospice: It’s About Time Tammy Wynn, MHA, LISW, RVT (Founder and CEO, Angel’s Paws)

Finally! Some 35 years after human hospice made its debut in the United States, pet hospice has arrived in Veterinary Medicine. Pet hospice is a new service area and practitioners are piloting new models across the United States and the world. One of the goals of pet hospice is to give the family time…time to absorb “bad news,” time to come to terms, time to have a quality goodbye. This session will explain what makes pet hospice different from traditional end of life care that has always been available.

12:00 NOON–1:00 PM


1:00–1:50 PM

The Future of Pet Deathcare: Looking at the Past to See Where We Are Heading Poul Lemasters, Esq., (Lemasters Consulting)

The pet funeral industry continues to grow. The big question is what is pet deathcare growing into? No one can say for certain what the future will bring – but we can predict and try to be prepared. How do we predict? We look at the past. We look at the present. We compare other professions. We look for trends. By looking at all of this we then can make predictions on where we may be heading. Why is this important? Because if we don’t prepare for the future, then we are doomed to repeat the past. This seminar analyzes past, present, and even future cases that are changing and re-defining the liability issues for pet funeral providers. This seminar also looks forward to discuss future trends affecting the risk of liability. The focus is on “real” problems causing lawsuits and the measures needed to prevent them. Overall, the presentation will:

  • Identify changes in the pet funeral industry – including old and new laws
  • Analyze various lawsuits – and how they are changing as we move forward
  • Provide solutions to reduce the risk of what the future may bring

1:50–2:00 PM


2:00–2:50 PM

Estate Plans that Work for Pets Peggy R. Hoyt (Founding Partner, The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC)

Pets come in all shapes and sizes and inhabit our hearts with their own unique personalities. They share our day-to-day struggles, adventures, and special moments, and we share our homes, our beds and our hearts. Our pets love us unconditionally, help reduce stress and even enhance longevity. Attorney Peggy Hoyt will explore the different ways we can planning for our pets care after we are gone, including pet trusts, PetWill, disability planning, disaster planning, perpetual care alternatives, and animal care panels.

2:50–3:10 PM

Refreshment Break and Vendor Visits

3:10–4:00 PM

Do You Really Have Them at Hello? The Age-Old Art of the Telephone Nicole “Nicki” Wiedeman, CSE (First Call Facilitator, Dead Ringers)

A phone call is often the first impression that families and veterinarians have of your business. Is the impression you are giving one of professionalism and caring? In this session Nicole Wiedeman will share what she has learned from data collected mystery telephone shopping within the pet loss profession. Learn how to assess your team’s telephone etiquette, and how you can be confident that they really “have the caller at hello.”

4:00–5:00 PM

Ask the Experts Speaker Panel: Jodi Clock, CPLP; Coleen Ellis, CPLP; Roberta Knauf, CPLP; Bill Remkus, CPLP; Brett VanDeWoestyne, CPLP, and Kevin Woronchak

Want to know how the pet loss profession has changed in the past five years and where it might be in five more? Or maybe you are just starting out and want to ask someone who has “been there” that one piece of practical advice that they would share. Now’s your chance! During this interactive panel discussion, professionals from all aspects of pet loss will answer your questions and share their experience.

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Registration Desk Open

9:00 AM

Welcome Back

9:00–9:50 AM

Marketing: Addressing the Communication Disconnect Kathryn Jennings, CPLP, CPFE (Founder/President, Day By Day Pet Caregiver Support)

In your aftercare business you rely heavily on your partnering veterinary offices to market your products and services to pet families. Although you provide them with marketing materials and the information they need to communicate aftercare options to their clients, there is often a disconnect in communication. This disconnect often leaves families without the information they need to make the best decisions regarding aftercare and memorialization options. This presentation will identify both the concerns of aftercare providers in communicating with their partnering veterinary offices, and address how internal veterinary office marketing efforts can be improved. Also addressed will be ways to create and effectively implement a direct to pet family (consumer) marketing plan designed to educate pet families, supply them with the aftercare products and services they desire, and leave them with a path of least regrets on their grief journey.

9:50–10:00 AM

Break and Vendor Visits

10:00–10:50 AM

Veterinarians and Aftercare Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV

Pet aftercare operations have made it commonplace to offer wholesale pricing to veterinarians in the hopes of supporting their clients. Veterinarians in turn use the pet crematory for all body care needs. But how much does the veterinarian charge the client and what are they charging for exactly? How well do charges align with services provided? This hour will explore current veterinary pricing trends in pet aftercare. The goal is to get a better feel on today’s veterinary practices and how it impacts the pet aftercare industry.

10:50–11:10 AM

Coffee Break and Vendor Visits      

11:10 AM – 12:00 PM

Compassion Fatigue and the Pet Loss Professional Nancy Piper, CGRS, CPLP, Celebrant (President, Rolling Acres Memorial Gardens for Pets)

If you feel like you’re becoming numb and disconnected to the suffering of others, you may be suffering from compassion fatigue. Nancy Piper will share how pet loss professionals can recognize compassion fatigue, recover from it, and learn self-care techniques to prevent compassion from overflowing into compassion fatigue.

12:00–1:00 PM


1:00–2:30 PM

Risks Management in the Pet Loss Profession James R. Starks, CFuE, CCrE (President, J. Starks Consulting)

Find out from Jim Starks, CfuE, CCrE some of risk that can affect a pet loss business. We will start off with what risks could happen in the work environment such as theft, trip and falls, and safeguards when dealing with money. The different OSHA standards covered will be pet loss business needs to be aware of and what measures a pet loss business need to address with each standard.  Finishing up, also discussing crematory standard operating procedures that should be followed from making the removal, to returning the cremated pet remains to the pet owners. This will cover the procedures that should be followed to protect your firm, employees, and your customers. Failure to properly manage the risk of providing pet loss services and/or operating a pet crematory is an invitation for disaster.

2:30–2:45 PM

Coffee Break and Vendor Visits

2:45–3:45 PM

Ask the Experts Speaker Panel: Kathryn Jennings, Kathleen Cooney, Jim Starks, Nancy Piper

“Did we leave anything out?” In this discussion, panelists will reflect on the past two days of sessions, share their unique perspectives and open the floor to questions.

3:45–4:30 PM

Debrief & Closing


Move In Times:

Wednesday 8/22 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Thursday 8/23 7:00 am – 9:00 am

Move Out Times:

Friday 8/24 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Show Hours/General Session:

Thursday 8/23 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 8/24 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Welcome Reception:

Wednesday 8/22 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm