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NFDA Goes Big in Boston for 2017 Convention

July 23, 2017

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NFDA Goes Big in Boston for 2017 Convention

A Super Bowl Champ. Dinner with the Experts. Great Big Giveaway. Five pre-convention seminars. The best education sessions in the profession. The world’s largest expo. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) International Convention & Expo is going big in 2017 so that you can take your business to new levels of success. Join your colleagues October 29 through November 1 in Boston, Mass., for this game-changing conference.

Keynote Speakers Bring Big-time Inspiration

John Maxwell, Everyone Communicates Few Connect – General Session, Monday, October 309:45-11:45 a.m.

John C. Maxwell has been hailed as America’s premier leadership expert. In 2014, he was at the top of Inc. Magazine’s top 50 Leadership and Management Experts. Each year, he speaks in person to hundreds of thousands of people, and his bestselling books impact millions more around the globe.

During Monday’s General Session, Maxwell will reveal how to identify with people and relate to others in a way that increases influence with them. As a leader, it’s not enough just to work hard or do a great job. To be successful, leaders need to learn how to communicate in a way that connects with others. Maxwell will masterfully underscore principles and practices to help attendees communicate at a level that runs far deeper than words.

Troy Aikman, Developing Your Inner Champion – General Session, Wednesday, November 11-2 p.m.

Three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Troy Aikman has harnessed the drive and dedication that defined his football career with the Dallas Cowboys into numerous successful business ventures since retiring from the game. Through broadcasting, real estate and The Troy Aikman Foundation, he discovered ways to keep himself occupied in “retirement.”

After leaving the playing field, Aikman joined the NFL on FOX full-time as a game analyst. He quickly displayed the accuracy and work ethic that marked his playing career and moved up to FOX’s number-one broadcast crew prior to the 2002 season. He’s received three Emmy nominations for his broadcasting efforts and has broadcast four Super Bowls (XXXIX, XLII, XLV and LI).

During Aikman’s 12-year playing career, he set 45 Cowboys passing records and was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February 2006. Witness Aikman’s natural leadership ability, innate talent and charisma during this engaging general session, in which he will share how attendees can develop their inner champion.

The General Session with Aikman is included with full and one-day Convention registration. Attendees can add lunch (from noon to 1 p.m.) and preferred seating for the Wednesday General Session to their registration for just $25 ($30 after September 22).

Attendees won’t want to miss the Great Big Giveaway during the Wednesday General Session. On Wednesday morning during Expo Hall hours, NFDA’s valued sponsors will be handing out tickets for a chance to win a variety of fabulous prizes – attendees must be present to win! Winners will be announced during the Wednesday General Session but everyone’s luck begins in the Expo hall.

Unmatched Education Sessions Tackle Key Issues

The education funeral professionals need to build thriving businesses that exceed the expectations of the families and communities they serve can only be found at the 2017 NFDA Convention.Engaging workshops will address technical skills, business management, the value of ceremony, marketing and community outreach.

Education sessions include:

  • Preconvention seminars: NFDA Arranger Training Seminar; NFDA Cremation Certification Program; NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant seminar; Celebrant Training (hosted by NFDA and presented by InSight Institute); and Embalming and Reconstructive Techniques for Trauma Cases presented by Vernie Fountain.
  • A Father’s Reflection on the Value of Open-casket Viewing presented by Shane A.S. Richie
  • Understanding Legal Issues in the Arrangement Conference presented by T. Scott Gilligan
  • Partnering with Your Local Donor Organization presented by Bob Arrington and Jill Grandas
  • Bringing Ritual to Cremation Arranging presented by Mike Nicodemus
  • The New American Way of Death Starts with Promoting Resilient Kids presented by Joe Primo
  • A special Wednesday afternoon session, Embalming 2.0: The Art of Clinical Care presented by Jeffrey Chancellor
  • And much more!

Innovation Flourishes in the Expo Hall

The NFDA Convention features the world’s largest funeral service trade show, offering the newest and most exciting products, services and innovations from around the world. Many exhibitors plan to introduce new and inventive products and services to the profession during the convention. The Expo Hall will be open October 30 and 31 from noon to 5 p.m.; and November 1 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Attendees will want to experience the new Campfire Exchange in the Expo Hall where they can enjoy intimate, 20-minute speaker-led sessions in a relaxed atmosphere complete with campfire treats. Campfire Sessions will take place during Expo Hall hours.

Near the Campfire Exchange, attendees can take a “Walk through NFDA History,” a multimedia, interactive experience highlighting the rich history of NFDA Conventions, from the origin of the Association to the present.

Creating Lifelong Memories in Boston

A lot of networking happens during workshops and in the Expo Hall, but NFDA’s exclusive social events will give attendees an opportunity to cement new friendships and renew old ones. Special events, planned exclusively for NFDA Convention attendees, will show why Boston remains one of America’s favorite cities to live, work and play.

Boston is a mecca of colleges and universities, providing higher education to students from around the world. Celebrate the education you’ll gain this week while reconnecting with old friends (and making new ones!) at NFDA’s collegiate-inspired Welcome Party on Sunday, October 29 (included with registration). Attendees are encouraged to don attire from their favorite college or university for the Welcome Party.

Before heading to the Welcome Party, those who are attending the convention for the very first time should stop by the new First-time Attendee Reception. There, they can meet other first-time attendees and NFDA staff – and enjoy a cocktail – before the main event.

Not to be missed: the annual Habitat for Humanity project on Saturday, October 28; the 17th annual Golf Classic to benefit the Funeral Service Foundation at Stow Acres Country Club in Stow, Mass., on Sunday October 29 (separate registration required); and a night of giggles, chuckles, hoots and guffaws during the Funeral Directors Under 40 Party at Laugh Boston on Tuesday, October 31 (ticket required).

Cast off with friends and colleagues aboard the Spirit of Boston for a dinner cruise, the closing celebration for the 2017 NFDA Convention. Enjoy breathtaking views, satisfying beverages, a delicious dinner, music and dancing while sailing around Boston’s famous harbor on Wednesday, November 1 (ticket required).

Break bread at a local Boston eatery with an intimate group of fellow attendees and one of this year’s Convention speakers. On Monday, October 30, you could dine with embalming expert Vernie Fountain or consumer behavior experts Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer. On Tuesday, you could share a meal with embalming expert Wally Hooker. Attendees who are interested in participating in this “dutch treat” dinner should sign up early – seats will fill up quickly.

Celebrate the shining stars of funeral service during the All-Star Recognition Ceremony on Monday, October 30. NFDA will recognize funeral professionals who are NFDA Certified Crematory Operators, NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultants, recipients of the International Professional Achievement Certificate, or APFSP Certified Funeral Service Practitioners. NFDA will also recognize funeral homes that have earned an NFDA Green Funeral Practice Certificate or a 2017 NFDA Pursuit of Excellence Award.

In 2013, people of all faiths came together to help their city heal following the Boston Marathon bombing. In this same spirit of unity, this year’s NFDA Service of Remembrance, taking place onTuesday, October 31, will highlight the United States’ rich Judeo-Christian heritage. The service will both explain and demonstrate the meaning behind various religious rituals and traditions through which generations have found comfort and strength to cope in times of loss. Through this educational and meaningful Service of Remembrance, attendees will come to better understand the role faith and religion play in funeral service and be better prepared to help those they serve in their own communities. As is NFDA’s tradition, attendees will also honor the memory of colleagues and friends who have died during the last year.

Up-to-the minute information about the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo, including information on how to register and make hotel reservations through the NFDA housing bureau, is available at

NFDA thanks its 2017 International Convention & Expo sponsors for their continued support:

  • Black Diamond: Funeral Directors Life
  • Platinum: FCA-Fiat Chrysler, Federated Insurance, NGL
  • Gold: Bass-Mollett Publishers, Batesville, LendingUSA, Homesteaders Life Company, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, Messenger, Microsoft,
  • Silver: ASD – Answering Service for Directors, funeralOne, Implant Recycling, Live Oak Bank, Madelyn Company, Nomis Publications Inc., The Outlook Group, Physicians Mutual
  • Bronze: ANA, Doric, Inman Shipping, Kelco Supply Co, Sich, TSYS, Wilbert Funeral Services

About NFDA

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 49 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