Breakout Sessions:
Strategy and Perspective

Building Blocks for a Successful Funeral Business

(In person and virtual)

Mark McCrocklin, Flanner Buchanan DeWayne Hughes, Hughes Family Tribute Center Stephanie Hughes, Hughes Family Tribute Center

Having a solid foundation is essential to every business, but what are the key pillars for creating success in the operations and business management of independent funeral homes? Whether it’s establishing procedures and processes to create efficiencies, learning how to survive the many “landmines” that pop up along the way or adapting to changes like the recent increase in cases, there are countless decisions to be made on how to run your firm. Selected members Mark McCrocklin (L), with Flanner Buchanan in IN, and DeWayne (Center) and Stephanie Hughes (R), with Hughes Family Tribute Center in TX, will share insight into the systems they’ve found work well and how they continually adapt. This is exceptionally important because, without a thriving business, no firm will be able to serve its client families and communities — the top priority!


Growing Your Business to Best Serve Your Market

(In person and virtual)

Sarah Pojanowski, General Counsel, Selected Independent Funeral Homes

Planning for the future has never been more important than it is today. Whether interested in growing rooftops, expanding into ancillary business lines, investing in funeral service-related businesses with other like-minded individuals or even selling to another independent operator, funeral home owners are grappling with a myriad of decisions that will significantly impact their businesses, as well as the client families they serve. Sarah Pojanowski, Selected General Counsel, will lead a panel of members sharing the ups and downs of their succession planning experience. In addition, participants will have ample time for interactive dialogue to ask questions and share experiences.


Strategies to Find and Retain Quality Staff

(In person only)

Kevin Gaffney, Funeral Directors Life Lisa Baue, Your Funeral Coach

Finding and retaining quality staff had been a struggle for funeral service even before “The Great Resignation” began during the pandemic. This session highlights two valuable ideas to help firms with the staffing crisis. Kevin Gaffney (L), Funeral Directors Life, will share information on the “Journey to Serve” campaign launched in 2021 by the Funeral Service Foundation and the ICCFA Educational Foundation. This program aims to provide our profession with the tools, materials and message needed to effectively engage, recruit and hire more military veterans to careers in funeral service. Lisa Baue (R), Your Funeral Coach, will dive deep into why it is critical for firms to become the employer of choice by improving their culture and workplace practices. From pay scales to benefits, schedules and training, changes need to be made to support current and future employees. Without quality, well-trained and empowered staff, firms will struggle to better serve their client families, grow and even survive in the future.


Helping Your Client Families Understand Estate Processes

(In person only)

Matt Van Drimmelen, Full-Circle Aftercare

Settling matters of an estate can be overwhelming and expensive for all involved. Whether estate planning has been done or not, non-legal estate issues can take the average family 12-18 months to settle as they locate and notify accounts, close credit cards, begin insurance claims, cancel insurances, contact retirement advisors, tend to bank-related items, begin probate proceedings when necessary, sort through personal possessions, and complete a myriad of other tasks. Matt Van Drimmelen, Full-Circle Aftercare, understands that funeral professionals can be a lifeline for their client families simply by having a basic understanding of what needs to be done. In this session, he will outline practical information funeral professionals can use to provide comfort and stability to their client families in their time of need, which will allow them to focus on their grief process instead of the stress of estate matters.