The National Funeral Directors Association is delighted to announce the funeral service professionals who have been selected to participate in the 2024-25 National Emerging Leaders Program. This program, which is one of NFDA’s many efforts support funeral homes in retaining quality employees, has helped 38 funeral service professionals cultivate and enhance the skills, abilities and characteristics necessary to effectively lead in their business, their community, and state and national organizations.

“On behalf of the NFDA board of directors, I extend heartfelt congratulations to the talented individuals selected for the 2024-25 National Emerging Leaders Program,” said NFDA President Douglas R. “Dutch” Nie II. “Through this program, they will hone their skills, foster their leadership potential, and inspire positive change within their communities and beyond. We are proud to support their leadership journey and look forward to witnessing their growth and the contributions they will make to the funeral service profession in the future.”

The 2024-25 National Emerging Leaders Program Class

  • Jack Attfield, New Comer Cremations & Funerals, Depew, New York
  • Josh Austin, Cozine Memorial Group, Wichita, Kansas
  • Krystle Ballance, Cropo Funeral Chapel, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • Alexandra Caselli, Jefferson Memorial Funeral Home Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Christopher Costello, Mothe Funeral Homes, Algiers, Louisiana
  • Bryce Giroux, Garden City Funerals & Cremations, St. Catharines, ON, Canada
  • Steven Johnson, H.E. Turner & Co. Inc., Batavia, New York
  • Alexandria Johnson, Trinity Memorial Gardens, Trinity, Florida
  • Tawanna Johnson, Saunders Funeral Home, Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Maureen Krienen, Krienen-Griffith Funeral Home, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Alexandra Lazaruik, Park Memorial Ltd., Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • Marshall Loring, Messinger Mortuary, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Rachel Mackey, Advent Funeral & Cremation Services, Falls Church, Virginia
  • Emily Murphy, Lasting Tribute by Fellows, Helfenbein, and Newnam, Annapolis, Maryland
  • Crystal Pattillo, O’Guinn Family Funeral Home, Clio, Michigan
  • Sarah Rehberg Zeismer, Heritage Funeral Homes, Oak Creek, Wisconsin
  • N. Eddie Richardson, Miller, Moster, Robbins Funeral Home, Connersville, Indiana
  • Jacqueline Scheel Weinman, John N. Santeiu & Son Inc., Garden City, Michigan
  • Megan Smith, McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon, North Carolina
  • Joshua Van Staalduinen, Knollcrest Funeral Home, Lombard, Illinois
About the National Emerging Leaders Program

All funeral service professionals from the United States and Canada, regardless of NFDA membership status, were invited to apply for one of up to 20 seats in the National Emerging Leadership Program. The only requirement was that applicants be employed full-time and in the process of building their careers in the profession (i.e., first-career funeral directors licensed at least three years or second-career funeral directors licensed at least 1 year).

This year-long program will kick off with a retreat at NFDA headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin, June 23-25, and conclude during the 2025 NFDA Leadership Conference. Participants will meet virtually approximately seven times throughout the year to learn from experts, both from within the funeral service profession and from outside authorities.

The program will empower participants to lead with vision, integrity, and influence, equipping them with the tools and strategies to inspire and guide others toward shared goals. Participants will also have access to mentors and engage in high-level networking with leaders in the funeral service profession.

Information about the NFDA National Emerging Leaders Program is available on the NFDA website, 

NFDA thanks the Funeral Service Foundation and NorthStar Memorial Group for their generous sponsorship of the National Emerging Leaders Program.

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