The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) looks forward to welcoming the funeral profession’s state and national leaders – as well as the future leaders of the profession – to the 2021 Leadership Conference, taking place August 1-4 at the Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, South Carolina.

“The safety of our members remains NFDA’s highest priority and moving forward with our Leadership Conference was not an easy decision,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “The Board of Directors listened to state association leaders and carefully studied federal, state and local guidance for meetings and events. We also scrutinized the ability of our host hotel to follow best practices for cleaning, disinfecting and providing a safe experience for guests. After extensive discussions, the Board of Directors decided to move forward with an in-person gathering. We are excited to bring funeral directors together after such a challenging year to talk about how we can continue to move the profession forward.”

During the 2021 Leadership Conference, attendees will hear from a variety of experts. NFDA is pleased to welcome association management expert Bob Harris, CEO of Harris Management Group, back to the Leadership Conference to present two sessions. During his first session, Harris will discuss how pandemic-related changes and adaptations have resulted in new best practices for association management and leadership. His second session will focus on how attendees can improve their understanding of governance and practices – from board orientation to effective board meetings.

It has been more than a year since the world was thrust into the “next normal” because of the global pandemic. Rocky Ozaki and Eric Termuende of NoW of Work Inc., will draw on experiences and insights from across North America to explore the traits that set people and teams that are surviving and thriving apart from those that are struggling.

When organizations and employees align themselves through shared values, it results in increased performance around a sense of united purpose. In a highly-interactive session Brant Menswar, an author, musician and core values activist, will help attendees learn how to build bridges between employee and organizational values through a specific framework for action.

The Leadership Conference wouldn’t be complete without the popular “Breakout by Office” discussions during which association officers and executives break into peer groups to talk about challenges they face in their roles and share strategies for success.

State and national funeral service association leaders will have an opportunity to meet and network with the 20 funeral service professionals selected for the inaugural class of NFDA’s National Emerging Leaders Program. This year-long program, which begins at the NFDA Leadership Conference in Charleston with a special pinning ceremony and concludes during next year’s event, will help funeral directors develop leadership skills that will serve them well in any setting they may find themselves – their funeral home, their state or national association, their community, and beyond. More information about this program is available at

Creating Connections in Charleston 

Attendees can kick off their Leadership Conference experience by hitting the links at Wild Dunes Harbor Course on August 1s. Designed by Tom Fazio, the Harbor Golf Course is known for its challenging design, beautiful views, and, most of all, spectacular water features. From lagoons and salt marshes to the Intracoastal Waterway, this varied golf course will test all aspects of a player’s game (optional event; registration required).

Also on August 1, attendees are invited to reconnect with old friends and making new ones during the complimentary Welcome Reception.

On the evening of August 3, attendees will gather for A Night of Trivia and Comedy brought to you by Atlantic Coast Life and NFDA. While enjoying hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a hosted bar, guests will be entertained by comedian James Gregory, who has been tickling people’s funny bones for more than thirty years. Born in the rural South, his unique brand of humor packs the crowds into his sold-out shows (optional event; registration required).

After attending education sessions in the morning, Leadership Conference attendees have the afternoon off to relax, network and enjoy the classic southern charm of Charleston. Whether they are interested in tasting delectable southern cuisine, experiencing the city’s rich history, indulging in shopping, or experiencing off-the-beaten-path finds, attendees will find something to occupy their afternoons. The concierge at Belmond Charleston Place can suggest and coordinate unique excursions for attendees. For those who want to plan their own adventures, The Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau,, is an excellent source of inspiration.

Health and Safety Measures 

NFDA prioritizes the safety of its members and will continue to monitor the status of the pandemic right up to and during the Leadership Conference. NFDA is prepared to take whatever steps necessary, in accordance with current local, state and national requirements and best practices. As the conference nears, NFDA will share information with attendees about the specific measures it will take to protect their health and safety.

 Registration Information 

 Attendees can register for the Leadership Conference online at or by calling NFDA at 800-228-6332. Registration includes presentations, handouts, continental breakfasts and the Welcome Reception. Registration closes July 23.


  • NFDA Member – includes CE
  • On or Before July 9: $485; After July 9: $535
  • Nonmember – includes CE
  • On or Before July 9: $725; After July 9: $775
  • Non-licensed Family Member/Guest – no CE
  • On or Before July 9: $210; After July 9: $260
  • Golf at Wild Dunes Harbor Course (August 2)
  • On or Before July 9: $120; After July 9: $140
  • Leadership: An Evening of Stand-up Professionals and Stand-up Comedy
  • Adult:
    • On or Before July 9: $139; After July 9: $159
  • Child (16 and under):
    • On or Before July 9: $40; After July 9: $60

Belmond Charleston Place 

Located in the heart of downtown Charleston and within walking distance of major attractions, Belmond Charleston Place is the perfect base for a city adventure. The hotel effortlessly blends gentility and old-world charm with a leading-edge spa and innovative cuisine. Stay and find an endless choice of things to do. Whether relaxing by the pool, being pampered in the spa, dining in the award-winning Charleston Grill or browsing the exclusive boutiques, every moment is one to cherish.

The Belmond Charleston Place notes the following: “We have placed acrylic barriers on the front desk, concierge desk, bell stand, spa desk, and host stands in restaurants. We will have hand sanitizing stations on each floor near elevators, also around the lobby, throughout all of the second-floor meeting space, and at the entrance to all food and beverage outlets. All guest-facing staff will wear masks and all associates will be temperature checked prior to starting their shift. COVID-19 signage will be placed around the hotel. Electronic pre-arrival letters will be sent to all guests and upon check-in we are asking guests to sign a COVID-19 questionnaire at the front desk. For more information on Belmond’s commitment to safe practices, please see”

NFDA has secured a limited number of rooms at the Belmond Charleston Place at a discounted rate of $255 plus tax and fees. Attendees should visit the Leadership Conference web page,, to make reservations. The deadline for making hotel reservations is July 2.

For complete details about the 2021 NFDA Leadership Conference, visit or call 800-228-6332.

NFDA thanks the following companies for their generous support of the 2021 Leadership Conference: Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Co.; C&J Financial LLC; Federated Insurance Company; Precoa; Ring Ring Marketing; Tukios Inc.; FrontRunner Professional; Nomis Publications Inc.; ASD – Answering Service for Directors; and Express Funeral Funding.

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit