Funeral Industry News

2011 NFDA Convention Speakers Will Inspire, Fascinate

February 24, 2011

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2011 NFDA Convention Speakers Will Inspire, Fascinate

The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) announced the keynote speakers for its 2011 International Convention & Expo, being held in conjunction with the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), October 23-26, 2011, in Chicago, Ill.

Opening General Session: Chris Gardner, Gardner Rich LLC, Chicago, Ill.

Chris Gardner once said, ?A slow walk to Wall Street is how others describe my life. But, when I look back at the journey from homelessness to prosperity, I hold one thing dearer than all else ? my commitment to my son. This is our story.?

Gardner?s perseverance ? rising from a childhood marked by poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse and family illiteracy, to a successful career in finance and becoming the CEO of his own company ? was told in his autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness. The book, which topped both the New York Times and Washington Post best seller list, has been translated into more than thirty languages. Gardner?s story and his autobiography were the inspiration for the movie ?The Pursuit of Happyness,? which starred Will Smith as Gardner.

Closing General Session: Dr. Cyril Wecht, Clinical Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Penn.

What do President John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey, Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy, O.J. Simpson and Senator Robert F. Kennedy have in common? The watchful eye and sharp intellect of internationally renowned high-profile forensic pathologist and attorney, Dr. Cyril Wecht. Hear how he has been seeking social truth and justice by applying modern forensic pathology to the world?s greatest mysteries.

Wecht is a clinical professor at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health, and holds positions as an adjunct professor at the Duquesne University School of Law, School of Pharmacy and School of Health Sciences. He appears on nationally-syndicated television programs to discuss various medicolegal and forensic scientific issues, including medical malpractice, drug abuse and high-profile death investigations. His expertise has also been utilized in high-profile cases such as Mary Jo Kopechne, Sunny von B