Renew, Re-energize and Get Inspired at the NFDA’s Professional Women’s Conference

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2014

Contact: Jessica Koth, 262-814-1536,


Brookfield, Wis. – The 2015 National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Professional Women’s Conference will bring together funeral directors, educators, expert presenters and suppliers in a unique, intimate gathering to generate new ideas, foster professional growth and create lasting friendships. This conference, which is the leading gathering for women in funeral service, will take place April 24-26 at the Loews Chicago Hotel in the heart of the “City of Big Shoulders.”

The conference begins on Friday, April 24 with a complimentary welcome reception at 4:45 p.m. Immediately following the reception is the optional Funeral Service Foundation Fund Day event, “A Night of Theatre: ‘Laid Out: The Business of Funerals.’” Experience a first-rate production featuring five women with backgrounds in jazz, blues, spirituals and funeral service as they tell the engaging story of African American women pioneers in the profession. This lively performance (be ready to laugh out loud) is about the history, challenges, success and significant contributions of African American women in funeral service. The play was written by Dr. Edith Churchman of the James E. Churchman Funeral home in Newark, N.J. This event helps support the NFDA Professional Women’s Conference Scholarship Fund and the Foundation’s Women in Funeral Service Fund.

Attendees can look forward to engaging conference sessions led by experts covering a wide range of topics:

Saturday, April 25

  • All Stressed Out and Ready to Blow presented by Nancy Weil of The Laughter Academy. If attendees feel they are stretched too thin, maxed out or just plain sick and tired of being sick and tired, Weil will offer them ways to increase their energy, become better organized and lower their stress level. They will learn to redefine work/life balance in ways that are both realistic and productive.
  • The Business of Being a Woman presented by Erin Whitaker of Foresight Analysts and Whitaker Funeral Home. Attendees who have ever asked themselves where their career is heading and what it will take to get there can consider these and other questions during this unique presentation. Whitaker will examine the societal expectations of women in funeral service, their experiences in a “male dominated” profession, and leadership roles in funeral homes and professional organizations.
  • Attendees will exchange great ideas on a variety of topics with like-minded funeral professionals as the popular Roundtable Discussion session makes it return to the Professional Women’s Conference.

Sunday, April 26

Concurrent Workshops – attendees can choose from one of two fascinating topics

  • What Happens in Washington D.C.? Why You Should Care presented by Lesley Witter, senior vice president of the NFDA Advocacy Division. If attendees have ever wondered what really goes on in Washington, D.C., this is their chance to hear from someone who lives it. Witter, a seasoned veteran who represents the profession’s concerns on Capitol Hill every day, will explain what attendees can do to help their profession’s interests in the nation’s capital.
  • Restorative Art: From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary presented by Melissa Johnson Williams, CFSP, executive director of the American Society of Embalmers. Restorative art is an important process that helps provide comfort to the family through excellent presentations of the deceased. Johnson Williams will cover a range of embalming and restoration issues, from everyday issues to complex challenges.
  • He Said-She Said: The Differing Language of Men and Women presented by Georganne Bender and Rich Kizer of Kizer and Bender Speaking. Men and women are different. That’s not to say that one sex is superior or inferior to the other, they are just different – they shop differently, conduct business differently, view the workplace differently and have different communication styles. Learn why what works for a man can be kryptonite to a woman.

 The registration fees for the conference are:

On or before March 25 After March 25
NFDA member $475 $525
Nonmember licensed funeral director $625 $675
Non-funeral director $475 $525
Second registrant from the same organization

(includes members, nonmembers, non-funeral directors)

$425 $475
Mortuary science student $75 $85
Funeral Service Foundation Fund Day (optional)

A Night of Theatre: “Laid Out: The Business of Funerals

$80 $90

For complete details about the NFDA Professional Women’s Conference and to register, visit

The Funeral Service Foundation will award up five scholarships to the Professional Women’s Conference; scholarships will cover recipients’ conference registration fees and provide a $1,000 travel and accommodation stipend. Please visit the Funeral Service Foundation website, or call 877-402-5900, for more information and to request an application form. Applications are due March 1.

NFDA has arranged for a special room rate of $169 plus tax per night at the Loews Chicago Hotel. This brand new hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of Chicago’s best shopping and entertainment venues. Conference attendees must secure their rooms by April 2 order to receive the special NFDA rate. For more information about making reservations, visit and click on the “Hotel/Travel” link on the right side of the page.

The 2015 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference is generously sponsored by Dignity Memorial, Homesteaders, Messenger, Nomis Publications Inc., Kelco, ASD – Answering Service for Directors, Eagles Wings Air, The Dodge Company and Implant Recycling. NFDA thanks Foundation Partners Group for sponsoring the Funeral Service Foundation Fund Day event.

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 18,500 individual members who represent nearly 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 43 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