Calling All Aspiring Leaders: Be a Part of the NFDA National Emerging Leaders Program

National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has begun accepting applications for the 2023-24 National Emerging Leaders Program. This program, which launched in 2021, helps funeral service professionals develop leadership skills that will serve them well in any setting they may find themselves – their funeral home, their state or national association, their community, and beyond.

The NFDA National Emerging Leadership Program is open to all licensed funeral professionals, regardless of NFDA membership, from the United States and Canada who are still early in their careers (first-career funeral directors licensed 5-10 years or second-career funeral directors licensed 3-8 years).

This year-long program for 20 select individuals will begin during the 2023 NFDA Leadership Conferences, scheduled for June 25-28 in Phoenix, Arizona. In addition to meeting during the Leadership Conference and another NFDA conference in 2024, participants will meet virtually approximately eight times throughout the year to learn from experts, both from within the funeral service profession and from outside authorities.

The program features a practical and theoretical approach to advanced leadership topics. The curriculum, which is being developed in partnership with an expert consultant in leadership development, will cover topics such as mentorship, ethical leadership, employee relations, collaborative decision-making, strategic planning, servant leadership, communication skills, small business ownership, and more.

Participants will also have access to mentors, engage in high-level networking, and work with fellow program participants on a group project that will teach them to apply the skills they are learning in real-world scenarios.

“I am so incredibly impressed with the people I have met in our first two classes of the National Emerging Leaders Program,” said NFDA President Jack Mitchell, CFSP, CCSP. “They are incredibly dedicated and passionate about the funeral service profession. The National Emerging Leaders Program will help harness this energy and equip them with the skills they will need as they step into leadership roles in our profession, in businesses and in their communities.”

“Being chosen to participate in the National Emerging Leaders Program has been a valuable investment in my career,” said Allyse Worland, CFSP, a member of the 2022-23 National Emerging Leaders class. “The program has given me, not only a new perspective on leadership development, but has also provided me with phenomenal networking opportunities that I would have not come across anywhere else. I believe that the lessons I have learned and the connections that have been made will truly be a lifelong gift that the NELP program has given me.”

NFDA thanks the Funeral Service Foundation for their generous sponsorship of the National Emerging Leaders Program.

The National Emerging Leadership Program requires an investment of $1,500, which includes the registration fee for the 2023 Leadership Conference; the virtual sessions led by quality speakers and trainers; printed educational materials; CE hours; high-level networking with leaders in the funeral services profession; and more. Participants will also receive up to a $1,000 travel stipend to cover their travel and accommodations (i.e., airfare, hotel, meals) for the 2023 Leadership Conference and another NFDA conference in 2024.

Information about the NFDA National Emerging Leaders Program is available on the NFDA website, Applications are due by midnight CST on April 1. Selected participants will be announced in late-April.

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