Make Every Connection Matter: Friday Schedule


8:00 AM

Eric_EspinosaHow Do YOU Create Value?

Eric Espinosa, Director of Sales Development, FDLIC

Topic Description: Over the past several months the FDLIC sales force has been looking at value creation. We studied it collectively at our summer sales meeting and in greater detail at our conclave meetings this fall and again during our end of year meetings. Our discussions morphed from a concept learned from Anthony Iannarino, blogger and sales expert. Iannarino came up with a way to quantify varying levels of success in sales based on the level of value provided. While achieving high levels of value apply in differing degrees depending on the type of business; they apply in spades to funeral service. These levels of value creation spoke to us not only in our arena, but we felt it could transcend business to business sales and apply to funeral homes and to preneed sales professionals. The premise: When involved in sales, whether trying to work with a funeral home, an at-need family, or trying to encourage a family to prearrange, what we are selling these days is just as much about value as it is anything else. It’s been said, if people do not find value in what we have to offer then we really don’t have anything to offer.

Iannarino outlines four levels of value creation: Level 1; providing products and services. Level 2; offering a quality experience. Level 3; being a problem solver. Level 4; being a trusted advisor. Each level builds upon the previous with the ultimate goal to become a trusted advisor.

In today’s challenging world, level 1 value creation is the bare minimum to achieve any level of success; yet in the funeral industry this simply is not enough. Families are more discerning and demanding than ever and they are looking for value in virtually every purchase they make. The real challenge is to ask yourself, “Do we offer a quality experience?” “Am I being a problem solver?” and, “Have I become a trusted advisor?” Moreover, I encourage you to consider what each of these levels of value truly mean to you and your business. For example, I often will ask funeral homes what they do that makes them different or better than their competition (level 2 value). The response I get most often is they offer better service, but when I press them to define how they offer better service some are not able to articulate or quantify differences. When asking yourself the questions above you have to dig deeper to accurately assess the level of value you are bringing to the table. If you’re not content in your overall level of value creation it might be worth considering what you could do to better become a problem solver or maybe even a trusted advisor.

This only skims the surface and there isn’t room in this article for further exploration of value creation, but YOU’RE IN LUCK! FDLIC has been so intrigued and captivated by this topic we have devoted this year’s FOCUS magazine to value creation. In the magazine we challenge you to consider how to move toward a level three or four value creator and suggest offerings from funeral homes and how they would fit into the value creation strategy. Ultimately, the magazine challenges you to consider how to move toward being a trusted advisor to the families you serve.

Speaker Bio: Eric Espinosa joined Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company (FDLIC) in 2012 as the Director of Sales Development (DSD) for Arizona.  Eric works with multiple funeral homes to help them reach their goals for their business by expanding their prearrangement programs.

Prior to joining FDLIC, Mr. Espinosa worked with Tomas Martinez at Martinez Funeral Chapels in Tucson and Nogales, Arizona.  Mr. Espinosa served as a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer and later as a Manager.  During his 10-year tenure with Martinez Funeral Chapels, he also became a licensed preneed agent for the State of Arizona and Texas and was responsible for integrating FDLIC as the preneed provider for the funeral homes.  Earlier in his career, Mr. Espinosa was the Program Director for Permian Basin Community Centers for MHMR in Midland, TX.

Mr. Espinosa holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Angelo State University and completed the Mortuary Science Program under Dr. Thomas Taggart at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona.  He resides in Rio Rico, Arizona with his wife, Tamye and six-year-old son, Kash.

9:00 AM

DSC_0075Making Every Consumer Connection Matter

George Owens, Managing Director of Customer Engagement, Service Corporation International (SCI)

Topic Description: Understanding customer touch-points is critical to building meaningful, genuine and lasting relationships for our families.  George Owens, Managing Director of Customer Engagement for Service Corporation International will share how leadership is the foundation, being genuine is the bricks and just plain “great service” are the mortar for building long-term relationships with our client families.

How we handle a constantly changing and challenging landscape of customer connections for the funeral, cremation and cemetery professional will be critical to our success.

Speaker Bio: Since joining SCI in 2007, George Owens has been responsible for enhancing the company’s brand identity and designing and implementing programs that help highlight customer satisfaction and opportunities to maximize customer engagement, support new product development and customer segmentation.

Prior to joining SCI, George was a director in the Emerging Industries Practice at J.D. Power and Associates.  There, he was responsible for managing major syndicated and proprietary research programs during a 12-year career.  Additionally, he led the design and execution of customer satisfaction and loyalty programs for a variety of clients and led certification efforts in both automotive and emerging industries.

Mr. Owens received a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge,  and an MBA from Pepperdine University

10:30 AM

Wrongful Death Law in AZ: A Discussion of Past Cases

Bradley S. Marcus, Esq., Baker & Marcus, L.L.P.

Topic Description: The seminar is a comprehensive overview of Arizona’s Wrongful Death Law. We will address the following:

1. What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

2. Who Is Entitled to Benefits?

3. When Must a Claim For Wrongful Death Be Made?

4. What Must Be Proven to Have a Wrongful Death Case?

5. What if The Death is Caused By a Defective Product?

6. What if The Death is Caused By Medical Negligence?

7. What if The Death is Caused By a Car Accident?

8. What May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Action?

a) Payment of the Funeral Expenses

Speaker Bio: Bradley Marcus obtained his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University. He attended Arizona State University Law School and obtained his law degree in 1982. Bradley Marcus is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association. Of note, Bradley Marcus has handled multiple cases involving serious injury and wrongful death resulting in compensatory awards in excess of 1 Million Dollars ($1,000,000). In 2012, Bradley S. Marcus was featured amongst other AV Rated attorneys in Arizona’s Top Rated Lawyers, a special supplement to the Arizona Republic, The Wall Street Journal and The National Law Journal.

Baker and Marcus, L.L.P. is a partnership that was formed in 1987 to represent victims of accidents. Our practice is limited solely to personal injury and wrongful death cases. We are located in Scottsdale and Tempe and we have handled literally hundreds of injury cases and multiple wrongful death cases statewide. We are often asked by other attorneys to assist them in handling accident cases. We have presented seminars to other professionals on Arizona injury and death law.

Bradley Marcus and John Baker are AV rated attorneys by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review ratings. This is the highest rating attainable attesting to a lawyers legal ability and professional ethics based on confidential opinions of members of the Arizona Bar and Judiciary.

Baker and Marcus are long standing members of the AFCCA.

11:30 AM

RobertBatesNFDA Updates

Robert “Robby” Bates, President, NFDA

Speaker Bio: 

Robert “Robby” L. Bates, CFSP, owner of Bates Family Funeral Home in De Kalb, Texas, is the 2013-14 president of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). Robby is the owner of Bates Family Funeral Home in De Kalb, Texas.

 As president, Robby will serve as the Association’s chief elected officer and will preside over the NFDA Executive Board, Policy Board, House of Delegates, International Convention & Expo, Leadership Conference and Advocacy Summit. He will represent the Association and its mission to affiliated professional groups, external organizations, state convention attendees and the public. He will also communicate monthly with NFDA members through an editorial column in The Director magazine, the world’s most widely read funeral trade publication.

A Certified Funeral Service Professional, Robby graduated from the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science and received his BS from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas and a BBA and MBA from East Texas State University-Texarkana. A long-time member of the Texas Funeral Directors Association, Robby has served his state association as president and has been an active chairman and member on many state committees.

After serving as the 2002-03 president of the Texas Funeral Directors Association, Robby went on to serve as the Texas state representative to the NFDA Policy Board.

Robby has taken on many roles with NFDA, including serving on several committees, such as Spokesperson, Operations, Audit and Budget. He served as an inaugural member of NFDA’s Professional Conduct Committee. Robby previously served as an at-large representative, secretary, treasurer and president-elect on NFDA’s Executive Board.

12:00 PM

Lappin_Fred_2014Professional Development Opportunities Available to You

Fred Lappin, President, ICCFA

Topic Description: International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association president Fred Lappin, CCE, will provide an update on educational, networking and ICCFA membership benefits available to address your common business challenges. He’ll also share a new video that paints a vivid picture of ICCFA’s mission and membership offerings.

Speaker Bio: Frederick Lappin, CCE, president and chief executive officer of Knollwood Cemetery Corp. in Canton, Massachusetts, was elected president of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association at its 2014 Annual Convention & Exposition, April 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He previously served terms as ICCFA president-elect, vice president of internal affairs, vice president of external affairs and two terms as vice president of education.

For more than 12 years, Lappin has led Knollwood Cemetery Corporation, which owns and operates Sharon Memorial Park and Knollwood Memorial Park and conducts 1,200 interments annually. He is also the CEO and general manager of Bronze Memorial, Inc.

Lappin has served on the ICCFA Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Directors of the ICCFA Educational Foundation and the ICCFA Service Bureau, a national cemetery lot exchange program. He served on the ICCFA Sales & Marketing Committee for many years and co-chaired the association’s Wide World of Sales Conference and Fall Management Conference. Lappin also is active in the New England Cemetery Association and the Massachusetts Cemetery Association and was a founding member of the New England Sales Conference.

Active in his local community, Lappin has served as an officer and board member of the Newton Communications Access Center, the Jewish National Fund, Temple Ohabei Shalom, and on the economic development commission of the city of Newton, Massachusetts.

1:30 PM

Michelle Neitch_headshotArizona’s Crime Victim Compensation Program

Michelle Neitch, Program Coordinator, Crime Victim Services Department of the Arizona Cirminal Justice Commission

Speaker Bio: Ms. Neitch is the Program Coordinator for the Crime Victim Services Department of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. Her responsibilities include managing the statewide Crime Victim Assistance Grant and the Crime Victim Compensation Grant. She has an active role in outreach, communication and training with professionals in the criminal justice system and victims services field. Prior to joining the Crime Victim Services Department she was a researcher for the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission’s Statistical Analysis Center managing the Arizona Youth Survey. She received her B.S. and M.A. degrees from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University.

Vanessa Helms_headshotVanessa Helms, Coordinator of the Pima County Victim Compensation Program at the Pima County Attorney’s Office

Speaker Bio: Vanessa Helms is the Coordinator of the Pima County Victim Compensation Program at the Pima County Attorney’s Office.  She has been with Victim Services for over 10 years and has held a variety of positions including work as a crisis advocate and coordination of the volunteer program and rural expansion programs.  In addition, Vanessa has over 14 years of experience working with diverse, at risk populations in the human servicesfield providing case management, education and training and therapy services. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree and graduated from the University of Phoenix with a Master’s in Counseling.

Topic Description: The Crime Victim Compensation Program assists innocent crime victims in Arizona with out-of-pocket expenses for crime-related medical treatment, mental health counseling, funerals, transportation, crime scene cleanup, and wage loss. This presentation is designed to give participants more information on the Victim Compensation Program, in particular the expenses allowed for funerals. The Victim Compensation Program has rules that govern who is eligible for the program and what the program can and cannot pay for which were revised in 2013 to expand the assistance the program can provide to crime victims and their families. This presentation will give participants a better understanding of those rules so that they can take correct information back to the families of victims they work with. We will go over the application process and what will be required when applying to the program. In addition, presenters will go over what an agency can expect as an application goes through the process from being received at the County Attorney’s Office Compensation Program, what information the Compensation Program needs to investigate and substantiate the claim, and the process of the claim going to a board for final decision. This will allow agencies to be better prepared to work with Compensation Programs around the state which will result in bills getting paid more quickly and less stress for victims’ families as they are going through a very difficult time.

2:45 PM

dayni_cristalMovie Screening: “Who is Dayani Cristal”

Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and give this anonymous man an identity. As the forensic investigation unfolds, Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernalretraces this man’s steps along the migrant trail in Central America. In an effort to understand what it must have felt like to make this final journey, he embeds himself among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border. He experiences first-hand the dangers they face and learns of their motivations, hopes and fears. As we travel north, these voices from the other side of the border wall give us a rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate.

Who Is Dayani Cristal? tells the story of a migrant who found himself in the deadly stretch of desert known as “the corridor of death” and shows how one life becomes testimony to the tragic results of the U.S. war on immigration. As the real-life drama unfolds we see this John Doe, denied an identity at his point of death, become a living and breathing human being with an important life story.

Winner of the Sundance 2013 Cinematography award and nominated in the World Documentary Competition“Who is Dayani Cristal?” has been described by The Hollywood Reporter as “A deeply moving doc [which] finds a new way of making the immigration debate personal.”