NextGen Professional of the Year


NextGen Professional of the Year Award

The NextGen Professional of the Year Award is designed to recognize the career accomplishments and community/organization involvement of funeral professionals under the age of 50. For years, Selected's NextGen Group have proven that there are many talented and engaged funeral professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The NextGen Professional of the Year Award is offered to appreciate and encourage their efforts.

Who will be the 2018 NextGen Award Recipient?

Nominations for the 2018 Award will open in Spring 2017. Check back in March to download a nomination packet for the 2018 Award.

Congratulations to 2017 Award Winner Helen Loring Dear!

Helen Loring Dear David Speaks is the Vice President/Director of Community Relations at Speaks Family Legacy Chapels. Since earning his license in 2003, David has demonstrated tireless commitment to the profession.

Helen Loring Dear, President of Porter Loring Mortuaries, began her journey in the funeral profession at the age of 16 as a housekeeper at her family’s firm. Since then, she has worked in virtually every position within the firm, performing each role with the utmost compassion for the families she serves. “When I hear that Porter Loring Mortuaries and Helen are handling a funeral, I know my job on the pastoral team just got easier because Helen cares about the families as if they were her own,” said Reverend Michael P. Crocker of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church. Helen is active in numerous organizations in her profession and in her community, and her involvement in Selected has played an integral part of her development and growth. She is a Selected Study Groups participant and a graduate of Selected’s Leadership Academy, an intensive two-year leadership training program. Graduates of this program complete a Capstone project to demonstrate and apply the leadership tools developed over the course of the program. 

The focus of her Capstone project was on teen suicide rates in the San Antonio area. She soon determined that there were few resources for teens in her community and wanted that to change. For a year, she worked with several local nonprofit directors to plan a Roundtable on Teen Suicide. The meeting resulted in the creation of the Alamo Area Teen Suicide Prevention Coalition (AATSPC). 

“I have been personally involved with and marveled at the community commitment that Helen has made which resulted in establishment of the AATSPC. Helen’s leadership regarding this pressing issue has now evolved into a major effort with staffing, a Teen Advisory Board and participation by almost every school district in the San Antonio region,” said Marian Sokol Ph.D., Executive Director of the Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas. “She has been recognized in our community as a dynamic young woman who is among the ‘Rising Stars of Texas.’” Helen has assumed a role as Honorary Chair of the AATSPC and the group continues to grow and impact the local community. 

In 2016, Helen was chosen as one of San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” honoring young leaders succeeding in business and contributing to their community. “Helen undoubtedly has a bright future and is a remarkable reflection on her family, her community, her business and Selected,” noted one judge on the Professional of the Year Award panel. 

Perhaps Helen’s father, Porter Loring, III, put it best when he said, “Beyond the professional accolades is a devoted wife and mother of two young children, who ensures that she devotes time to her family as well as taking care of the business. Integrity and perseverance are at the core of everything that Helen does.”.

Past Award Winners

Click here for information on past winners of the NextGen Professional of the Year Award.