Embalming and slots? Business skills and the great outdoors? Las Vegas is known for having it all and, no matter what your interests, you can choose your own adventure at the 2023 National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) International Convention & Expo.
Taking place September 10-13 (one month earlier than usual) in Las Vegas, Nevada, attendees can customize their NFDA Convention experience by choosing adventures to help them learn, grow, connect and return home refreshed, ready to serve grieving families and build thriving businesses.
Keynote Speakers Will Lead the Way
As attendees plan their NFDA Convention adventures, the event’s three keynote speakers will serve as guideposts, illuminating critical issues impacting the profession.
Monday, September 11: Momentum: Accelerate Your Performance Without the Burnout presented by Suneel Gupta, author and Harvard Medical School visiting scholar
In the face of an exhaustion epidemic, it’s time to rethink how we view high performance. Grit and hustle have their place but are also scientifically associated with burnout. Suneel Gupta helps organizations increase performance, innovation, and creativity by showing why high-potential individuals and teams fizzle out. This presentation is rooted in Gupta’s study of the habits of extraordinary leaders who reached breakthrough levels of productivity, resilience, fulfillment and momentum. Gupta’s keynote speech is sponsored by Homesteaders Life Company.
Tuesday, September 12: Hacking the Rockstar Attitude: How to Ignite Rockstar Performance During Uncertain Times presented by Mark Schulman, world-class drummer, speaker and author
Mark Schulman’s high-energy, dynamic presentation can best be described as a rock show disguised as a keynote. In his engaging, interactive and entertaining performance, Schulman focuses on three core principles: attitude, behavior and consequences. People can’t always control what happens to them, but they can control their attitude, which drives their behavior and determines their consequences. Attendees will walk away with a blueprint for how to incorporate rock ‘n’ roll philosophy, techniques and swagger in order to overcome obstacles, drive performance and energize their work and personal life.
Wednesday, September 13: Embracing AI Technology: Practical Tools and Strategies for Funeral Directors presented by Dennis Yu, CEO, BlitzMetrics
Curious about the AI (artificial intelligence) technologies that are revolutionizing the business landscape? Dennis Yu will delve into the fascinating and often confusing world of AI. NFDA has randomly selected a mix of members to implement simple changes to enhance their marketing. Yu will reveal the results live and share action guides so attendees can immediately start using AI to optimize their website, edit videos, create ad campaigns and more. Yu will also fill attendees in on the common pitfalls that come with using AI such as hallucinations, false information, accidental plagiarism and SEO penalties.
Extraordinary Education Sessions Tackle Vital Issues
From a “Back of the House” adventure that includes embalming education sessions to exploring evolving consumer preferences in the “Family Matters” adventure, attendees can plot a course for an education adventure that delivers the knowledge they need to foster sustainable businesses.
Engaging education sessions will cover technical skills, business management, the value of ceremony, cremation, marketing and community outreach. To help funeral service professionals build upon their foundation of skills, NFDA has planned more than 30 engaging education sessions including:
- 50 Prep Room Tricks of the Trade, presented by Dana Goodell of The Embalmers Supply Company
- Delivering Phenomenal Preneed Experiences, presented by Tyler Anderson of Precoa
- When a Child Dies: Creating a Community of Care, presented by Betsy Hawley, MA, of the Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition; and Buffy Peters of Hamilton’s Academy of Grief and Loss
- Suicide Risk Within the Deathcare Profession, presented by Sara Murphy, Ph.D., CT, death educator and suicidologist
- How to Invest Your Advertising Dollars Wisely, presented by Bill Johnston of Post and Boost
- Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Service of Families, presented by Christopher Costello, Funeral Director with Jacob Schoen & Son
- Jeopardy of Jaundice, presented by John Hill, CCO, with James Funeral Home
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Loss and Grief, presented by Dr. Tashel Bordere, Ph.D., CT, researcher and adjunct faculty
- And much more
NFDA will also offer five preconvention seminars (additional fee):
- September 8-10 – Certified Celebrant Training, presented by Glenda Stansbury and Matt Bailey, brought to you by InSight Institute and hosted by NFDA
- Saturday, September 9 – NFDA Arranger Training, presented by Melissa Posey Loose, NFDA, sponsored by Batesville
- Saturday, September 9 – NFDA Cremation Certification Program, presented by Michael Nicodemus, NFDA, Sponsored by Implant Recycling
- Sunday, September 10 – Managing Various Hospital and Trauma Cases, presented by Karl Wenzel, CFSP, Canadian School of Advanced PREP, and Glyn Tallon, CFSP, Canadian School of Advanced PREP
- Sunday, September 10 – Safe Zone Training for Funeral Service Professionals, presented by Sara Murphy, Ph.D., CT, Death Educator and Suicidologist
An Adventure in Itself
The NFDA Convention features the world’s largest funeral service trade show, offering the newest products, services, and innovations from around the world. Many exhibitors plan to introduce new products and services during the convention. The Expo Hall will be open September 11 and 12 from noon to 5 p.m.; and September 13 from 9 a.m. to noon.
NFDA Booth Showcase
Attendees won’t want to miss special the NFDA booths in the Expo Hall where they can learn about: saving time and money with NFDA Endorsed Providers; resources for connecting with consumers through Remembering A Life; how to hire quality employees or find a job using NFDA’s Funeral Career Center; and staying informed with NFDA Publications.
New this year, attendees can listen to Gabe Schauf as he records episodes of NFDA’s podcast, A Brush With Death live in the Expo Hall.
Salute to Service Pavilion
The Salute to Service pavilion has become a popular destination in the Expo Hall. In this special area, attendees can learn about funeral and burial benefits for veterans from representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Mortuary Affairs, the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations and Army Military Funeral Honors.
Making an exclusive appearance in the Expo Hall during the NFDA Convention is the Global War on Terror Memorial Flag. This moving work of art travels throughout the United States, creating awareness of the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes during the Global War on Terror. This 28-foot wide by six-foot tall American flag symbolizes the shape of the flag when draped on a fallen service member’s casket. It was created with 7,000 dog tags of all those who have fallen during the War on Terror and features 50 gold stars honoring all Gold Star families nationwide. Displayed in front of the flag is a battlefield cross sculpted in mahogany by veteran artist Alicia Dietz.
Pause for PawsFuneral home owners who want to discover the benefits a therapy dog can bring to their firm – and meet certified dogs and puppies-in-training – should visit the Pause for Paws booth, sponsored by Ultimate Canine.
Connecting With Colleagues
While there is so much to experience during education sessions and in the Expo Hall, NFDA’s distinct events give attendees an opportunity to connect with colleagues embarking on similar adventures. Special events, planned exclusively for NFDA Convention attendees, will help attendees network with one another while showcasing the energy and excitement of Las Vegas.
Habitat for Humanity
On Saturday, September 9, attendees will swap their suits and trocars for jeans and a hammer to help improve and refurbish a home for a local family by volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity of Las Vegas build site. There is no fee to participate in this annual service project, but volunteer slots are limited, and attendees must sign up in advance. Those who cannot participate at the build site can support volunteers’ efforts by signing on as a donor or sponsor. Visit www.nfda.org/habitat for more information about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.
Funeral Service Foundation Golf Classic
Now in its 23rd year, the Funeral Service Foundation’s Golf Classic has raised nearly $1.6 million in support of its mission to invest in people and programs that strengthen funeral service and lift up grieving communities. On Sunday, September 10, experience all the perks of our annual Golf Classic in a social, casual and exciting atmosphere at Topgolf, a short ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center.
No matter their skill level, at Topgolf, attendees will be able to take a swing and score some points during tournament-style golf games. Participants can also relax and enjoy great food and drinks while networking with other fellow funeral service professionals.
If an attendee doesn’t know the difference between a birdie and a divot, but still wants to support the Foundation, they can attend as a spectator. Visit www.FuneralServiceFoundation.org/golf for more information and to register.
Attendees won’t want to miss the NFDA Convention Welcome Party on Sunday, September 10. Reconnect with old friends, plus make some new ones, while enjoying amazing music, hors d’oeuvres, and refreshments. Don’t miss it – it’s sure to be the “King” of all Welcome Parties … one Elvis would be proud of! The Welcome Party is sponsored by Batesville and Legacy.com. (Included with registration.)
Those who have never attended an NFDA Convention are invited to the First-time Attendee Reception, starting just before the Welcome Party.
Service of Remembrance – 9/11 Never Forget
This year, NFDA’s Service of Remembrance will take place as part of the opening general session on Monday, September 11. As the nation observes the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, attendees will remember the victims as well as the families and survivors whose lives were forever
changed. As is tradition, during the Service of Remembrance, NFDA will pay tribute to members of the funeral service family who died during the past year. The Service of Remembrance is generously supported by Tukios, Homesteaders and Messenger. (Included with registration.)
All-Star Recognition Ceremony
Join the NFDA Board of Directors as the association celebrates the remarkable accomplishments of funeral homes and funeral service professionals during the past year during the All-Star Recognition Ceremony on Monday, September 11. (Included with registration.)
NFDA will recognize:
- 2023 NFDA Pursuit of Excellence Award recipients
- NFDA’s Green Funeral Practice Certificate holders
- NFDA Cremation Certification designees
- NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultants
- Funeral Service Foundation scholarship recipients
- 2022-23 NFDA National Emerging Leaders Program graduates
- 2023 NFDA Meet the Mentors program participants
- 2023 NFDA Inspiration Award Recipient
- NFDA International Professional Achievement Certificate holders
- Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice Certified Funeral Service Practitioners
Funeral Directors Under 40 Party
Attendees won’t want to miss the Funeral Directors Under 40 Party on Tuesday, September 12. After a day at the convention center, attendees can socialize and unwind at Flight Club, located on the Las Vegas Strip in the Venetian Resort. Attendees can try their hand at Social Darts, where they will enjoy friendly games, bespoke cocktails, and delicious shareable bites in an exclusive playing area. For those who aren’t familiar with how to play darts, entertaining game masters will show them the ropes. Tickets are required and include two drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres and unlimited game play for two hours.
Funeral Face-off is Back
NFDA’s ultimate funeral service trivia challenge is back! Attendees can create a team and test their funeral knowledge for prizes, bragging rights, convention trivia immortality and the Funeral Face-off Cup! Three-person teams will compete in four rounds of funeral trivia with questions provided by mortuary science school faculty. The winning team will be determined live on stage before the closing keynote speaker on Wednesday, September 13.
Attendees should begin assembling their team now and can sign up on the NFDA Convention website. Attendees who do not have a team can sign up as an individual participant; NFDA will connect individual participants with others to form a team.
PWC ReConnect – A Winning Experience
For those who didn’t want their 2023 Professional Women’s Conference to end, make plans to reconnect with fellow attendees in Las Vegas. Join colleagues and friends on Sunday, October 10 before the Welcome Party to share drinks and appetizers while continuing to foster relationships with other female and nonbinary funeral service professionals. There is no charge for this event; additional details will be forthcoming. This event is generously sponsored by NGL.
Connect with colleagues and association staff in NFDA Central. Here attendees can join NFDA or renew their membership; discover resources to expand their horizons in the NFDA Store; pick up a souvenir NFDA Convention t-shirt; be inspired by the 2023 NFDA Pursuit of Excellence honorees (and sign up for the 2024 program year); and learn about the academic and professional-development scholarships and free resources available from the Funeral Service Foundation.
The Adventures Continue
Attendees may think they know Las Vegas, but this city is one of endless possibilities. When NFDA wraps up its Convention activities for the day, there are new adventures to embark upon.
Perhaps an attendee wishes to partake in a Showstopper adventure by seeing some of the biggest talents in the world, from musical divas and world-famous bands to stunning acrobats and masters of illusion.
After spending time indoors at the Las Vegas Convention Center, perhaps the great outdoors is calling. The jaw-dropping scenery of Red Rock Canyon, the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam can give NFDA Convention attendees the respite they need to relax and recharge.
If this is an attendee’s first visit to Las Vegas, they are in for a treat! They can start with a selfie at the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and then make their way down the Strip, checking out the many resorts, restaurants and shops that make the city one of the world’s most glamorous destinations. Be sure to book a ride on the High Roller Observation Wheel for an awe-inspiring view of the city at night.
Whether attendees are foodies, high rollers, craving glitz glamour or seeking family fun, an adventure is waiting for them in Las Vegas.
Apply for a Convention Scholarship
All funeral directors, interns and apprentices licensed (or working) in the U.S. or Canada are invited to apply for scholarships to attend the NFDA convention. The Funeral Service Foundation will award up to 20 all-inclusive scholarships, each valued at $2,000, that cover registration fees, three night’s lodging and up to $500 in travel reimbursement. Attendees must apply online by the July 5 deadline.
Register and Make Hotel Reservations Today
There are so many adventures to be had during the 2023 NFDA International Convention & Expo. Attendees should register on or before August 23 to take advantage of early-bird pricing. After August 23, prices will increase by $100.
With a variety of registration options, attendees can find the one that best meets their needs. New this year is the Expo Plus registration. A step up from the Expo Only registration, Expo Plus includes the Welcome Party, the opening general session and Service of Remembrance, All-star Recognition Ceremony, and, of course, access to the Expo Hall (does not include access to workshops, CE or the general sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday).
Maritz Global Events is the official hotel bureau for the 2023 NFDA International Convention & Expo. Maritz enables attendees to easily compare hotel prices and locations to find the accommodations that best meet their needs.
Whether attendees prefer to stay in the heart of The Strip or near the Las Vegas Convention Center, all hotels in NFDA’s room block are less than a 10-minute walk to the convention center. Maritz’s simple booking process – and friendly, helpful staff – will make finding accommodations and managing reservations a breeze. Reservations must be made by August 17.
Funeral service professionals may receive calls or emails from scammers offering hotels for the NFDA Convention. While these offers may seem like a good option, they may not be legitimate, come with unreasonable cancellation or change penalties, have exorbitant fees, or be completely non-refundable. When attendees book with Maritz Global Events, they can be assured they will be treated honestly and fairly.
The latest information, including information on how to register and make hotel reservations, is available at www.nfda.org/Convention or by calling 800-228-6332.
NFDA thanks its 2022 International Convention & Expo sponsors for their support: Homesteaders Life Company, TruStage, Funeral Directors Life, National Guardian Life (NGL), Security National Life, Carriage Services, Tribute Technology, Batesville, Legacy.com, Physicians Mutual, LoveUrns, Messenger, C&J Financial, Disrupt Media, Thumbies, Federated Insurance, Implant Recycling, Ring Ring Marketing, Precoa, Tukios, ASD – Answering Service for Directors, Ultimate Canine, AP Lazer/Supernova International, Dell Technology, Doric, Nomis Publications Inc., Funeral365, Heartland, Aurora Payments/Chosen Payments, Global Atlantic, Kelco, USA Today Obituaries, Inman Shipping, Express Funeral Funding, The Wilbert Group, Garfield Refining, and A Mortuary Cooler by American.