Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush and former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani will give the keynote addresses during the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) 2018 International Convention & Expo, October 14-17 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Beyond the big-name speakers, there’s so much more to experience during the world’s largest gathering of funeral professionals. NFDA’s Convention offers a remarkable experience during which funeral professionals can connect, get inspired and rejuvenate – returning to their funeral home invigorated and ready to exceed the expectations of their families.

And the Winner Is…
The winning film from NFDA’s Remembering a Life Film Contest will be revealed during the Monday general session of the 2018 NFDA Convention.

Earlier this year, NFDA launched the Remembering a Life Film Contest, a competition to inspire filmmakers to create films that commemorate the life of someone who has died, or pay tribute to someone who is still alive. NFDA worked with the Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance to promote the contest worldwide.

A total of 85 beautiful films were submitted from all over the world, including Australia, Austria, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Iceland, India and the United States. Three distinguished judges, representing both the film profession and funeral service – including Thomas Lynch, president and senior partner of Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors and published writer and poet – selected the winners.

During the convention, the winning films will be screened in the interactive Remembering a Life area in the convention center.

Remembering a Life is a new NFDA initiative that educates and empowers consumers to make informed decisions about funerals and memorialization. Remembering a Life also highlights the unique expertise of funeral directors in planning a meaningful service. It is a multi-faceted approach that includes, not only the newly-introduced website, but also printed materials, social media and a comprehensive public relations strategy.

In the Remembering a Life area in the convention center, attendees can learn all about this new consumer initiative and how they can use Remembering a Life tools and resources to educate families about planning and preplanning meaningful funerals and grief.

Attendees can grab a bag of popcorn and watch the winning films from the Remembering a Life film contest and be among the first to see new tragic death public service announcements that reinforce the importance of memorialization regardless of a person;s cause of death. They can browse; learn how they can use Remembering a Life resources – including the winning films and public service announcements – in their community; pick up samples of NFDA’s new consumer education brochures; check out the Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards and new mini decks (For Kids, For Veterans and Holidays and Celebrations); strike a pose with friends in a fun photo opp; and much more. Just for stopping by the Remembering a Life booth, attendees can pick up a Remembering A Life lapel pin and sticker.

Unmatched Education Sessions Tackle Key Issues
The education funeral professionals need to build thriving businesses that help families honor and celebrate the life stories of their loved ones can only be found at the 2018 NFDA Convention. Engaging workshops will address technical skills, business management, the value of ceremony, marketing and community outreach, and grief and bereavement.

Education sessions include:
• Preconvention seminars:
NFDA Arranger Training Seminar
NFDA Cremation Certification Program
NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultant seminar
Celebrant Training (hosted by NFDA and presented by InSight Institute)
The Vernie Fountain Files: Embalming, Restoration & Death
Investigation presented by Vernie Fountain.

• Creating Lasting Memories: Perfecting the Final Touches presented by Wallace Hooker, MBIE, CFSP, owner, Family & Friends Funeral Home

• Why Youth and Funerals Matter presented by Carrie Bauer, youth coordinator, HopeWest Hospice
• Cremation Success in a Small to Medium Market presented by William C. Wappner, co-owner, Wappner Funeral Directors

• Serving the Family of a Perpetrator presented by Martha Thayer, department chair, Arapahoe Community College Mortuary Science Program

• Community Outreach and the Opioid Epidemic: How to Reverse an Overdose with NARCAN presented by Peter Sadler, Utah Naloxone

• Google It! Making the Most of Your Online Presence presented by Lynn Elliott, owner, Media Demographics

Innovation Flourishes in the Expo Hall
The NFDA Convention features the world’s largest funeral service trade show, offering the newest and most exciting products, services and innovations from around the world. Many exhibitors plan to introduce new and inventive products and services to the profession during the convention. The Expo Hall will be open October 15 and 16 from noon to 5 p.m.; and October 17 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Experience intimate, 20-minute speaker-led sessions in a relaxed atmosphere in the Campfire Exchange area. Campfire Sessions will take place during Expo Hall hours.

New in the Campfire Exchange this year, Lacy Robinson, NFDA’s director of member development, will conduct “mystery shop” phone calls for attendees. She will call an attendee’s funeral home and ask “How much is cremation?” or another question of choice. The best part is the attendee will be able to listen live. This is an incredible opportunity for attendees to assess the skill set of their employees and discuss telephone etiquette training with NFDA’s in-house customer service wizard. Drop by or sign up for a time in the Campfire Exchange.

Attendees won’t want to miss special NFDA booths in the Expo Hall where they can learn about the association’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C.; the Pursuit of Excellence Award Program; Endorsed Providers that can save members time and money; and how they can stay informed with NFDA Publications.

NFDA is giving attendees a chance to win phenomenal prizes during the Great Big Giveaway on October 17. On Wednesday morning during Expo Hall hours, NFDA’s valued sponsors will be handing out tickets for a chance to win a variety of fabulous prizes, including American Express gift cards, Amazon Echoes, Apple Watches and the grand prize, a 2019 NFDA International Convention & Expo experience. Winners will be announced during the Wednesday General Session (attendees must be present to win).

Creating Lifelong Memories in the Beehive State
A lot of networking happens during workshops and in the Expo Hall, but NFDA’s exclusive social events will give attendees an opportunity to cement new friendships and renew old ones. Special events, planned exclusively for NFDA Convention attendees, will show why Salt Lake City is one of this country’s hidden gems.

NFDA is rolling out the red carpet to kick off the 2018 NFDA Convention. Reconnect with old friends (and make a few new ones) during the Welcome Party inspired by the Remembering a Life Film Contest. On Sunday, October 14, enjoy great entertainment, light hors d’oeurves and a cash bar (included with registration).

Attendees won’t want to miss their chance to help others. During the annual Habitat for Humanity project on Saturday, October 13, attendees will improve a Salt Lake City community and make home ownership a reality for a local family by volunteering for Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity (there is no fee to participate but attendees must sign-up in advance).

The Bow Tie Classic, benefitting the Funeral Service Foundation, will take place Sunday, October 14 at Mountain Dell Golf Course. Held this year in memory of the past Foundation Trustee Bob Biggins, this lively and welcoming golf outing advances the Foundation’s mission to support funeral service in building meaningful relationships with the families and communities it serves (registration required).

Celebrate the shining stars of funeral service during the All-Star Recognition Ceremony on Monday, October 15. NFDA will recognize funeral professionals who are NFDA Certified Crematory Operators, NFDA Certified Preplanning Consultants; recipients of the NFDA International Professional Achievement Certificate; recipients of a Funeral Service Foundation award or scholarship; and APFSP Certified Funeral Service Practitioners. NFDA will also celebrate funeral homes that have earned an NFDA Green Funeral Practice Certificate or a 2018 NFDA Pursuit of Excellence Award.

The power of music is undeniable. It can invoke the deepest feelings or instantly whisk you away to the fondest moments of the past preserved in sweet memories of the people and places that mean the most. Attendees will want to make time to attend the Service of Remembrance, taking place on Tuesday, October 16, during which NFDA will explore the importance of music at funerals and honor the memory of funeral service family members who have died during the last year.

Pop. Rock. Hip hop. Country. No matter what attendees’ taste in music, they’re sure to have a blast during the Funeral Directors Under 40 at Keys on Main on Tuesday, October 17 (ticket required).

Get ready to celebrate Oktoberfest the NFDA way at Snowbird Resort. After grabbing a stein of frosty ale (or wine or soda) attendees will get their fill from the authentic, German-inspired dinner buffet. Live entertainment – including a polka music – and fun activities await attendees at this premier resort nestled in breathtaking scenery that can only be experienced in Utah (ticket required).

Find the latest information, including information on how to register and make hotel reservations through the NFDA housing bureau, is available at