CANA’s 105th Cremation Innovation Convention A Success!

CANA Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases August 21, 2023
CANA Board Members

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CANA’s 105th Cremation Innovation Convention A Success!

WHEELING, IL— The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) celebrated the 105th Annual Cremation Innovation Convention with more than 225 of its dearest friends last week in Washington, D.C.! The event attracted professionals from across the funeral service and welcomed many new faces to enjoy connecting with colleagues, viewing innovative supplier solutions, and hearing inspirational presentations.

“We’re so glad to mark 105 years of innovation together in D.C.,” remarked Convention Planning Advisory Group Chairperson Kim Price. “The energy of a CANA Convention is palpable with presentations, meals, networking, and the tradeshow in one room together!” More than 60 exhibitors brought their products and services that keep our profession operating smoothly.

Innovative sessions are the core of every CANA Convention, and the D.C. program made good on this tradition:

Brent Patterson, memorial care specialist and licensed funeral director with Tribute Memorial Care Southwest and InSight Institute Vice President Glenda Stansbury kicked-off the CANA Convention with a discussion on providing the right environment to grow and nurture employees who might be Blocked, Burned Out, Blasé.

Eric Layer, Partner at McKee Wallwork, drew on key findings from national data about family preferences around disposition, memorialization, and the funeral industry generally—and shared ways for attendees to respond to these trends by Targeting with Data.

Regulate, Recruit, and React: A Quick Take on Current Issues brought together Caressa Hughes, CANA President and Assistant Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for Service Corporation International, for a Regulatory Update on legislative changes to watch. Then, Past President of the ICCFA Educational Foundation Jim Price discussed tools for Recruiting Veterans to serve our families, and Scott Smith, Past President of CANA and Texas Funeral Directors Association offered his tips on How Can I Pitch In? when disaster strikes your community.

Your Funeral Coach Founder Lisa Baue presented seven essential components of mentoring, discussing Why Mentoring Matters to both owners and team members.

Death educator and suicidologist Dr. Sara Murphy assisted attendees in Responding to Suicide Death and Recognizing Suicide Risk—both for the families we serve and among members of the funeral profession in a special two-hour session.

Merendino Cemetery Care Account Executive Dan Cassin joined Sales Manager Bryan Mueller and Vice President, Sales Operations Cole Waybright of Foundation Partners Group to show how we can breathe new life into cemeteries and make them Built to Last.

Glenda Stansbury served as celebrant for the annual In Memorium service, recognizing family, friends, and notable people the profession lost this year, including Todd Van Beck and Robert L. Waltrip. The Annual Membership Meeting saw Caressa Hughes pass the gavel to Robert Hunsaker to lead CANA as Board President for the coming year. The Funeral Service Foundation and CANA also celebrated the attendees who won scholarships to enjoy the 105th Annual Convention and Washington, D.C.! Many attendees took a post-Convention tour of Arlington National Cemetery, including a moving wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This event would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of 23 companies. From the open bar to the inspiring sessions to the cemetery tour to the coffee breaks that fuel us—we thank them for making this event a success!

Association leadership now turns its attention to the 2024 Cremation Symposium at The LINQ Hotel + Experience on the Las Vegas Strip. This Symposium will focus on the latest ideas and trends in green funeral from services to memorials, disposition methods and permanent placement. Won’t you be ours this February 14-16, 2024? Plus—keep on the lookout for details about CANA’s 105th Cremation Innovation Convention— scheduled a bit later than usual to avoid a crush of summer events in Chicago, Illinois. Save the date for September 11-13, 2024! Find more information when you visit

About CANA

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an international organization of over 3,500 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization.