The National Funeral Directors Association will accept nominations for its second annual Inspiration Award from Jan. 15 through Feb. 16, 2024.

This annual recognition is conferred on an exceptional female or non-binary individual who has made noteworthy professional contributions to funeral service or a related field. The honoree will be announced during the 2024 Professional Women’s Conference in Savannah, Georgia, April 28-30, 2024. NFDA is grateful to National Guardian Life Insurance Company for sponsoring the Inspiration Award.

The ideal nominee is an enterprising individual who consistently takes the initiative to elevate the funeral service profession. They serve as a mentor to colleagues, and their energy and independent spirit serve as an example to others. Their efforts result in significant accomplishments at the local, national and/or international level.

“In a profession marked by empathy and dedication, we seek to honor those who are breaking barriers, serving as mentors and redefining compassionate funeral service,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper. “Help NFDA recognize those who have made a lasting impact by nominating a colleague for the 2024 Inspiration Award.”

“NGL is proud to support our profession by sponsoring this award, and we are looking forward to meeting the 2024 recipient,” said Jennifer Kaset, vice president, sales and business development, NGL.

NFDA seeks nominations of female and nonbinary individuals who exhibit leadership, creativity and a commitment to improving funeral service. The ideal award recipient is also a mentor, involved in their community, and displays outstanding professional and personal qualities.

The honoree must be currently employed in the funeral service profession or a death-care-related field with a minimum of five years’ experience working directly with families. They must also:

  • Identify as a female or non-binary individual.
  • Be actively involved in community and professional service organizations.
  • Be actively involved in efforts to educate the public about the value of meaningful memorialization and/or funeral directors.
  • Actively participate in professional development activities.

Nominations will be accepted online from January 15, 2024, through 12 p.m. CT on February 16, 2024, at  

The winner will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges that includes funeral service professionals, suppliers, association executives and allied professionals. The winner of the NFDA Inspiration Award will receive an all-expenses (up to $1,000) paid experience to the Professional Women’s Conference to receive the award.

The inaugural winner of the Inspiration Award was Ellen Wynn McBrayer. A third-generation funeral director, McBrayer serves as President and CFO of Jones-Wynn Funeral Homes and Crematory, which has locations in Villa Rica and Douglasville, Georgia, and Meadowbook Memory Garden in Villa Rica.

McBrayer’s work in the funeral service profession has inspired all who know her. She offers compassionate care and expert guidance to the grieving families she serves. She has served as a mentor to other funeral service professionals and is dedicated to giving back to professional organizations like NFDA and the Georgia Funeral Directors Association. She has also made tremendous contributions to her local community.

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