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NFDA Goes Big In Boston

More than 6,000 attend 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo

November 14, 2017

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NFDA Goes Big In Boston

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) 2017 International Convention & Expo, held October 29 through November 1 in Boston, drew 6,207 total attendees (4,105 attendees and 2,102 exhibitor representatives). A total of 514 international attendees, representing 42 countries and territories, participated in the 2017 NFDA Convention. The Expo Hall featured 381 exhibiting companies which filled 92,568 square feet of space (925 10’ x 10’ booth spaces).

The NFDA convention proved to be an exceptional experience for all who were able to attend. The convention featured an outstanding slate of workshops that challenged attendees to think about funeral service in new ways and offered practical strategies to help them understand the evolving needs and desires of the bereaved families.

The Expo Hall was a highlight for many attendees because, in addition to connecting with their valued supplier partners, they also discovered new products and services that they can offer to families in their communities.

From the rousing Welcome Party to the celebratory dinner cruise in Boston Harbor that closed out the convention, attendees had many opportunities to network and have fun experiencing everything that makes Boston one of the country’s most loved cities.

NFDA General Sessions Feature Powerhouse Speakers With Powerful Messages
NFDA hosted two premier speakers for its general sessions. John C. Maxwell, one of America’s foremost leadership experts, opened the convention on Monday with an inspiring message about how to communicate in a way that runs far deeper than words.

During the Monday general session, 2016-17 NFDA President W. Ashley Cozine, CFSP, CPC, CCO, offered his perspective on excellence and teamwork. He emphasized the importance of every funeral director and funeral home in the country doing their absolute best to serve each and every family that walks through the door.

“I want to challenge and encourage all of us to leave Boston with a commitment to raise the bar, to truly become lifelong learners, to continually look for ways to improve what we do and how we serve families and to pursue excellence in all parts of our funeral homes and businesses,” said Cozine. “Remember that we have teammates all across the country that are all counting on each and every one of us to bring our A-games every time we serve families and to be the very best we can be as a profession!”

During the general session on Monday, attendees also heard from NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE, who shared some of NFDA’s newest offerings including the NFDA Work/Life Resource Program (EAP), a confidential resource that offers information, tools and guidance from licensed counselors and advisors who can provide confidential guidance on a variety of issues, from stress management and substance abuse to relationship issues and financial concerns. The Work/Life Resource program is available to NFDA members, their staff and immediate family members at no cost.

Pepper also highlighted: plans for a consumer website that educates consumers about the value of memorialization and connects families with NFDA-member funeral homes; a new embalming and restorative arts seminar – featuring live demonstrations – in May 2018 at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science; a new embalming brochure that explains embalming and the benefits of viewing to consumers; and a new video, “A Career in Funeral Service,” that can be used by funeral directors as they speak in the community about working in the funeral profession.

During the closing session, three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Troy Aikman was interviewed by local Boston sportscaster Trey Daerr and shared how attendees can develop their inner champion.

Honoring the Christian and Jewish Funeral Traditions
A highlight of the 2017 NFDA Convention was the Service of Remembrance, which explored the rich and timeless funeral traditions of the Christian, Orthodox, Catholic and Jewish faiths. As is NFDA’s custom, the Service of Remembrance was also a time for attendees to remember and honor the memory of colleagues and family members who died during the last year.

Giving Hearts
On Saturday, October 28, NFDA volunteers shared their time and talents with Habitat for Humanity of Boston. This year, 12 volunteers helped at a home being built in Dorchester, Mass., for a family with two young children.

Ben and Liz Cressy lived, worked, and worshipped in the Codman Square area of Dorchester for a decade. After learning that their son would become a big brother, they realized they needed a larger apartment for their growing family. They found themselves priced out of Dorchester, a community they hoped to call home. Now they live far away in Lynn, Mass., in a two-bedroom apartment on a very busy main street with no outdoor space for their kids to play. When the couple heard that Habitat for Humanity of Boston was seeking applications for its newest development in Codman Square, it seemed like fate.

Thanks, in part, to the generosity of NFDA volunteers, the Cressy family will realize their American dream of home ownership in their beloved community of Dorchester.

NFDA Honors Funeral Service All Stars
During the All Star Recognition Ceremony, NFDA recognized funeral professionals who, within the last year, had earned their NFDA Cremation Certification (Certified Crematory Operator or Certified Cremation Services Provider designation); NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC) designation; or their Certified Funeral Service Practitioners (CFSP) designation from the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP).

NFDA also honored recipients of a Foundation ’45 scholarship or award from the Funeral Service Foundation, and the association’s first recipient of the International Professional Achievement Certificate.

Additionally, NFDA paid tribute to the funeral homes that are Green Funeral Practice Certificate holders and 2017 Pursuit of Excellence Award recipients – including the Best of the Best Award recipients and Hall of Excellence inductees – during the All Star Recognition Ceremony.

Big Winners
During the Monday General Session, NFDA presented the 2017 NFDA Innovation Award to ASD – Answering Service for Directors The company was recognized for its Suicide-Telephone Operator Patch (STOP) System. Established in 2009, the NFDA Innovation Award recognizes and promotes creativity, innovation and excellence among funeral service suppliers and vendors.

During the Wednesday General Session, NFDA recognized three funeral service suppliers for having the best booths in the Expo Hall during the 2017 Convention. The 2017 NFDA Booth Contest winners are:
· Booths 400 square feet or larger: Messenger
· Booths 300 square feet or smaller: Messenger
· New NFDA exhibitors: Cherished Keepsakes

Convention attendees voted for their favorite booths in the Expo Hall using five criteria: creativity, imagination and originality; use of product, images and visuals in booth design; booth staff’s enthusiasm, friendliness and interaction with attendees; promotional giveaways; and overall appearance and experience.

NFDA also gave out fabulous prizes to attendees in the Great Big Giveaway, held during the Wednesday General Session.

During Expo Hall hours on Wednesday morning, NFDA’s valued sponsors handed out tickets for a chance to win one of 23 fabulous prizes: $25, $50 and $100 American Express gift cards; Amazon Echoes; Apple Watches; and the grand prize, a 2018 NFDA International Convention & Expo Experience including convention registration, travel reimbursement up to $1,000 and a Salt Lake City-inspired gift.

The winner of the grand prize was Robert Fields of Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg, W.Va.

NFDA thanks its 2017 International Convention & Expo sponsors for their continued support:
· Black Diamond: Funeral Directors Life
Platinum: FCA-Fiat Chrysler, Federated Insurance
Gold: Bass-Mollett Publishers, Batesville, Everdays, FrontRunner, Homesteaders Life Company, LendingUSA, Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, Messenger
Silver: ASD – Answering Service for Directors, funeralOne, Global Atlantic Financial Group, Implant Recycling, Life Celebration, Live Oak Bank, LoveUrns, Madelyn Company, NGL, Nomis Publications Inc., Physicians Mutual, Tukios
Bronze: Clearpoint, Doric, Inman Shipping, Kelco Supply Co, Sich Casket Company, Wilbert Funeral Services

NFDA Convention Photos Now Available
Professional photographers captured all of the excitement of the 2017 NFDA Convention. All of the photos can be viewed at Attendees may download as many photos as they like at no charge; prints and other keepsake items are available for purchase.

Planning Underway for 2018
The 2018 NFDA International Convention & Expo will take place October 14-17, 2018, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Combining the amenities of a major metropolitan area with the friendliness of a quaint, mountain town, Salt Lake City is an ideal location for the world’s largest funeral service convention. A beautiful, safe, and vibrant destination, Salt Lake City combines unparalleled access to natural recreation, a bustling economy, dynamic nightlife, remarkable history, warm hospitality, and “Utah’s Greatest Snow on Earth.”

Information about the 2018 NFDA Convention will be available soon on the NFDA website.

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