Innovative CEO Brings the Disney Experience to Funeral Service
Brad Rex, 55, is president and CEO of Foundation Partners Group, a company committed to changing how Americans think of and plan funerals. Rex, who was Vice President at EPCOT and held various leadership roles at Walt Disney World, applies his passion for storytelling to his work at FPG through what he calls ShareLife. This includes multi-sensory rooms.
Brad was recently interviewed by the Orland Sentinel about how Foundation Partners Group is using ShareLife to bring the Disney experience to funeral service. Below is an excerpt from that interview.
Rex was interviewed by Orlando Sentinel staff writer Jessica Inman
What was it like for you to transfer from Disney to death care?
Well, again, it’s all about creating experiences and yes, at Disney, it’s the happiest time for people and often times in the funeral care [industry] it’s one of the saddest times, and yet you can positively impact people’s lives in a tremendous way in a time of need, and I saw the opportunity to really help people, to help them get through that grief journey much better and to really celebrate and commemorate the life of their loved one and to tell a person’s story.
You know, Disney’s all about storytelling and experiences. Well, that’s the same thing in death care. We want to tell the person’s story and create a great experience for the family and friends that are there.
Did you ever think you would work in the death care industry?
No, never dreamed of it. But again, after being exposed to it, I can understand what a wonderful industry it is and how passionate and compassionate that the people in that industry are and how thankful I am that we can serve people in that time. … As I learned more about it, this whole idea to reinvent the experience, and bring innovation and technology to the industry, really excited me about it.
Tell me a little bit more about the ShareLife options and how that accomplishes telling this person’s story that has died.
Well the first thing with ShareLife is, we ask the family, “Tell us about your loved one. Tell us what their passions were, what their history was,” and so then we use the technology to share that story. So for example, we can get a dozen pictures from you and in three minutes create a life-tribute video.
We can do these different backdrops in our ShareLife multi-sensory room so if your loved one loved the beach, they loved the golf course, the mountains, we can recreate all of that, in the location [of the funeral home]. If you remember from your grandmother, about her chocolate chip cookies, we can have her chocolate chip cookies in for her service and that makes it so much more personalized and customized and much more of an upbeat type of service as opposed to something that’s very depressing and sad.