Funeral service is changing fast. Our profession faces staffing shortages, emerging dispositions, a stifled economy, and massive threats from natural and manmade disasters. Are you ready to come together to discuss these challenges and find solutions?

CANA’s 105th Annual Convention is the place to be this summer. Join your peers in Washington, D.C. this August for Regulate, Recruit, and React: A Quick Take on Current Issues. This three-part session will tackle important conversations impacting our profession and put them on the mainstage with panelists who will share their experience and answer your questions.

Caressa Hughes, CANA president and assistant vice president of government and industry relations for Service Corporation International, will provide a Regulatory Update, tracking how the regulatory landscape is responding to staffing shortages, the growing attention focused on new forms of disposition, and the issues generated by a lackluster economy. “Lawmakers are under increasing pressure to allow for license splitting between funeral directors and embalmers. Elsewhere, new licensure and certification categories are being created to make it easier to fill key roles,” Hughes said. She will answer participant questions so you know what to expect over the coming months and years.

Jim Price, immediate past chairman of the ICCFA Educational Foundation and senior vice president of industry relations at Park Lawn Corp., will share a unique response to staffing shortage concerns: Recruiting Veterans. “Every year more than 220,000 military service members transition out of service in search of another career. There are well-trained military veterans looking for meaningful work,” Price said. “Veterans exhibit the qualities needed to be successful in the funeral profession: A high level of trust and resilience. A desire to serve others. The ability to work well in extreme situations. Mission focus and advanced teamwork skills.” Price will provide a detailed look at Journey to Serve resources to help you connect with this audience.

Scott Smith, past president of CANA and Texas Funeral Directors Association, will close the panel with a look at the role of funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries when their communities face a crisis in How Can I Pitch In? Smith currently serves as chairman of the Texas Disaster Response Team and actively participated on immediate response teams after the West, Texas plant explosion, the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma bombing, and recently pandemic hotspots across Texas. Smith had the distinct honor to be chosen by the state of Texas to handle the cremation of the first Ebola death in the United States that occurred in North Texas.

The CANA Convention keeps these core challenges in focus throughout the event:

  • Tackling burnout and staffing shortages head on, Brent Patterson and Glenda Stansbury will share strategies to engage your staff and help them grow as creative and enthusiastic professionals in Blocked, Burned Out, Blasé.
  • Eric Layer will draw from national data collected over the last several years to respond to families’ preferences around disposition, memorialization, and more by Targeting with Data.
  • Lisa Baue will present seven essential components of mentoring, discussing Why Mentoring Matters to both owners and team members.
  • In a special two-hour session, suicidologist Sara Murphy will assist attendees in Responding to Suicide Death and Recognizing Suicide Risk — both for the families we serve and among members of the funeral profession.
  • Dan Cassin, Bryan Mueller and Cole Waybright will help breathe new life into cemeteries to make sure they are Built to Last.

There Is More!

Everyone is invited to earn their certification by registering for an in-person, pre-convention CANA Crematory Operations Certification Program taught by Tom Krowl of Cremation Systems and Wendy Russell Wiener of WRW Legal.

CANA has planned an afterparty to celebrate being together in D.C.! The Annual Membership Meeting and In Memoriam will give time to reflect on another year in funeral service. Plus, tickets are available to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and tour Arlington National Cemetery on Friday afternoon and enjoy America’s pastime in America’s capital when the Oakland Athletics meet the Washington Nationals on Friday night.

Get ready for a capital event and book yourself for August 9-11, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill:

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