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NFDA Introduces the 2019 Meet the Mentors Program Participants

January 28, 2019

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NFDA Introduces the 2019 Meet the Mentors Program Participants

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is proud to announce the names of the 50 funeral professionals who will attend the association’s Meet the Mentors program, March 10-12 at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta, Ga. Meet the Mentors has been wholly funded by the Funeral Service Foundation since the program’s 2011 inception.

During Meet the Mentors, these 50 funeral professionals who are either age 40 or under or new to the profession (first licensed within the last five years) will have an opportunity to meet, learn from and talk with innovative and successful funeral professionals. It’s also an opportunity to network and form relationships with other new professionals.

The names of the 50 participants were announced during the week of January 21 through a series of video drawings that were shared on the NFDA website and social media sites (e.g., FacebookTwitter, etc.).

About Meet the Mentors

Meet the Mentors attendees will spend time with three of the profession’s most respected funeral professionals: Rosemarie Forsberg, CFSP, owner and operator of Heritage Funeral Home in Nipawin, SK, Canada, and Tisdale Funeral Home in Tisdale, SK, Canada; Mark Krause, president of Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Services, which has several locations in the Milwaukee, Wis.-area; and Jeff Smith, owner of Smith Family Funeral Home, which has several locations in the Little Rock, Ark.-area.

There is no cost to participate in the Meet the Mentors program itself. The Funeral Service Foundation’s grant provides exclusive, career-transforming access to three mentors and covers attendees’ registration fees, two nights’ lodging and select meals. The 50 individuals selected to attend only pay for their transportation to the program.

Nearly 600 young professionals and emerging leaders have benefited from the Meet the Mentors program, which underscores the Foundation’s mission to support all of funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and communities it serves. The program is part of the Foundation ‘45 Awards, which are designed to transform the careers of funeral service professionals through scholarships, awards, resources and mission-focused outreach.

Complete details about the NFDA Meet the Mentors program, including the videos announcing the 2019 Meet the Mentors participants, can be found on the association website,

The 2019 NFDA Meet the Mentors attendees are:

  • Carley Alm, Gunderson Funeral and Cremation Care, Madison, Wis.
  • John Barry, Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home LLC, Peabody, Mass.
  • Brianna Bennett, Henry J. O’Donnell & Sons Funeral Home, Salem, Mass.
  • Kaylinn Bezenar, Morrissett Funeral & Cremation Service, North Chesterfield, Va.
  • Melanie Bitecola, Halpin-Bitecola Brookdale Funeral Home, Bloomfield, N.J.
  • Bernard Buggs, Trussville, Ala.
  • Kelly Burkett, Mauk & Yates Funeral Home Inc., Altoona, Penn.
  • Mandy Butler, Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home, North Little Rock, Ark.
  • Bobby Conway, Roller-Owens Funeral Home, North Little Rock, Ark.
  • Philip Decker, Bacher Funeral Home, Akron, Ohio
  • Danielle DeLuca, Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Emily Dickson, Potter Funeral Home, Willimantic, Conn.
  • Anna Dureka, Sweeney-Phillips & Holdren Funeral Home, Warrensburg, Mo.
  • Christina Elliott, Joseph Levine & Son Memorial Chapel, Trevose, Penn.
  • Michael Ewing, Ewing Funeral Home, Clarion, Iowa
  • Mary Ferwerda, Jess C. Spencer Mortuary Inc., Castro Valley, Calif.
  • Rachel Furman, Brunswick Memorial Home, East Brunswick, N.J.
  • Kristen Gordon, Jenkens Funeral Home Cremation & Reception Centre, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
  • Kelly Guyon, Tulip Cremation, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Jordan Hart, Auble-Gillman Funeral Home, Orrville, Ohio
  • Joy Herndon, Moments Funeral Home, Lucedale, Miss.
  • Wendy Johnson, Johnson Funeral Home, Sperry, Okla.
  • Stephanie Knotts, Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Manchester, N.H.
  • Nicole Krause, Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Service Inc., Milwaukee, Wis.
  • John Ligda, Adduci-Duncan-Zimny Funeral Home, Posen, Ill.
  • Laura Lundberg, Westover Funeral Home, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Allie McClain, Ford-Stewart Funeral Home, Jonesboro, Ga.
  • Timothy McLoone, Joseph A. Fluehr III Funeral Home Inc., Richboro, Penn.
  • Jennifer Meehan Grycza, David R. Jasin-Hoening Funeral Home and Crematory, Toledo, Ohio
  • Monique Murray, Murray Brothers Funeral Home, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Ned Nordgren, Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Charles Oliver, A.H. Peters Funeral Home Inc., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
  • Alexis Reid, Roller-Alcoa Funeral Home, Benton, Ark.
  • Annalyse Russo, Halpin-Bitecola Brookdale Funeral Home, Bloomfield, N.J.
  • Katie Sabe, Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home, Moose Lake, Minn.
  • Kurt Sammons, Dwayne R. Spence Funeral Home, Canal Winchester, Ohio
  • Heather Schaller, Penwell Gabel Crematons, Funerals & Receptions, Olathe, Kan.
  • Jordan Seitz, Washburn McReavy Funeral Chapel, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Marie Sipler, Good Sipler Funeral & Cremation Centre, Reamstown, Penn.
  • Shawn Snyder, Heritage Funeral Home, Andover, Kan.
  • Jesse Starkson, Caturia-Smidt Funeral Home, Hastings, Minn.
  • Jeremy Sweeney, Goldfinch Funeral Service Beach Chapel, Murrells Inlet, S.C.
  • Inez Tillmon, Austin A. Layne Mortuary, Saint Louis, Mo.
  • Angela Todd, Altmeyer Funeral Home, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Linda Webb, William G. Neal Funeral Homes, Washington, Penn.
  • Kara Whigham, Whigham Funeral Home, Newark, N.J.
  • Shane Williams, Loose Funeral Homes & Crematory, Anderson, Ind.
  • Kasey Wilson, Gunderson Funeral and Cremation Care, Madison, Wis.
  • Richard Woody, Peters Funeral Home, Shafter, Calif.
  • Marc Zmijowski, Leonard M. Pavlic Funeral Home Inc., Charleroi, Penn.

About NFDA –

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 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

About the Funeral Service Foundation –

Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the profession’s philanthropic voice. As the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since 1997, the Foundation receives operational support from NFDA and donors across the profession to help advance its mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and the communities it serves.