Funeral Industry Press Releases

Funeral Directors Under 40, Enter Today: NFDA Meet the Mentors

May 22, 2013

Funeral Directors Under 40, Enter Today: NFDA Meet the Mentors

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is giving young funeral professionals a second opportunity in 2013 to learn from three of the profession’s top funeral directors and network with like-minded peers. NFDA’s fifth Meet the Mentors event will take place August 19-20 at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Mass. Meet the Mentors is held in cooperation with the Funeral Service Foundation.


During Meet the Mentors, 50 licensed funeral directors and embalmers under the age of 40 will have an opportunity to meet, learn from and talk with three of the country’s leading funeral professionals.

  • William W. McReavy of Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel in Minneapolis, Minn., joined his family’s funeral home business in 1984. He started in an entry-level position and worked his way up through each position in the company to his present role as president.
  • Brad Speaks is a third-generation funeral director. He is president and CEO of Speaks Family Legacy Chapels in Independence, Mo., which is comprised of three funeral homes, a cemetery, crematory and a preneed business.
  • Paula J. Staab Polk comes from a funeral service family; as a child, she worked in the funeral home founded by her grandfather. In 1999, she founded her own funeral home and today is the owner of Staab Polk Memorial Home, Cremation Services of Central Illinois and Sangamon Prairie Reception Center in Chatham, Ill.

During the program, each mentor will give a presentation during which they share lessons they have learned while building successful and fulfilling careers in funeral service. Following a panel discussion featuring McReavy, Speaks and Staab Polk, participants will have an opportunity to personally engage with each mentor in small group discussions.


Participants in the March 2013 Meet the Mentors event offered the following comments about the program:

  • “Thank you for offering this program. I believe it is a great way to provide information to young funeral directors … it gives them the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in our profession today.”
  • “I really enjoyed meeting funeral professionals in my age range. I got just as much information from the mentors as I did from visiting with the other attendees.”
  • “The information I received was life-changing. What a great program geared toward the future of funeral service.”


There is no cost to participate in the Meet the Mentors program itself; the 50 individuals selected to attend only need pay for their transportation to the program. The cost of the registration fee, access to the three mentors, one night of lodging, a reception and dinner the night before the program, and continental breakfast and lunch the day of the program – a $599 value – has been generously covered through a grant from the Funeral Service Foundation.


The names of the 50 participants will be randomly drawn from among all who enter via the NFDA website, Entries will be accepted through midnight June 21, 2013. Entrants must be NFDA members in good standing, licensed funeral directors and/or embalmers, and under 40 years of age.


The names of the 50 participants will be drawn the week of June 24 from among all entries received. Each day, Mondaythrough Friday, a member of the NFDA staff will draw 10 names. The drawings will be available for viewing on NFDA’s website, social media sites and YouTube channel at 2 p.m. CST each day.


Complete details about the NFDA Meet the Mentors program, including eligibility requirements, can be found on the NFDA website, Members can also call NFDA at 800-228-6332 with questions.


NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit