The Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice recently approved Funeral IQ for 5 hours of continuing education.

Co-hosted by Sympathy Brands and, the event will be held Sept. 20, 2024, at the Live! Casino & Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“We are not stopping at Academy approval on the CEU front — we’re also applying to other states that do not automatically accept Academy approval, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio,” said Thomas Parmalee, the founder of “But we are thrilled that several months before the event, funeral professionals from a good swath of the country can register for Funeral IQ knowing that in addition to all they great friendships and wisdom they’ll cultivate by attending the event, they’ll be earning CEUs as well.

Parmalee noted that Funeral IQ will start the day after the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association’s annual convention in Atlantic City ends. “With Philadelphia being a quick drive from Atlantic City, we encourage anyone going to the New Jersey show to check out the great program we have lined up at Funeral IQ,” he said.

Speakers at Funeral IQ will include:

  • Dr. Amy Schiffman, a chief medical officer and the host of “Mastering Medicare,” will deliver a presentation titled, “Bridging Hospice and End of Life,” which will explore how funeral directors can better partner with hospice care agencies and caregivers.
  • Shane Pudenz, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Carriage Services, will focus on how to “Boost Your Preneed to At-need Ratio in 12 Months,” where he’ll share strategies to boost your preneed program and immediately add value to your business.
  • Welton Hong, the founder and CEO of Ring Ring Marketing, will deliver a session titled “Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Digital Marketing Amid Low Death Rates,” where he’ll highlight how firms are boosting market share even amid the “pull-forward effect” of the pandemic, which has slashed the death rate.
  • Chris Cruger, CEO of The Foresight Companies will provide a “Consumer Snapshot: Attitudes and Behaviors that Define Your Future.” Relying on insights from a comprehensive study, he’ll showcase how firms can better serve the changing wants and needs of families.
  • Michael Schimmel, the founder and CEO of Sympathy Brands, will deliver a session titled “Meeting People Where They Are: Using the Right Resources at the Right Time,” which will provide actionable insights on how to recognize opportunities to serve families through technology and ways to evaluate technology for your use in serving families. 

Registration for the event, which will offer continuing education units for many states, costs $249 if you register by June 15, 2024, and $349 afterward.

Sympathy Brands and thank the supporters of Funeral IQ, who share their joint mission to serve the profession, so that those who want to conduct business smarter have the tools to do so.

Platinum sponsors are Ring Ring Marketing and The Foresight Companies; Gold sponsors are Carriage Services,, Cremation Recycling and Nomis Publications; and Silver sponsors are, Big Sky Capital Partners, and Precoa.

Visit to learn more about the event.

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