Not long after I started writing Funeral Director Daily I received some public relations material from a company out of New York City called Roosevelt Investments. The material came from Nicki Price Adams requesting that I include the material in Funeral Director Daily as she thought it might be relevant to those in the death care profession who read us daily.
I looked at the information, took a look at the Roosevelt Investment website and determined that she was right on spot. We have published her requested information at times, which has included free webinars, and I am happy when she continues to give us information that our readership may find valuable.
Like most businesses in the 21st century, we communicate mainly by e-mail. Because of that, it took me quite a while to learn that I knew Nicki’s parents. . . .and they are two of the nicest people in funeral service — Jim and Kim Price!!
I attend an annual event with them. . . and have attended this event since 1991. I always try to make a habit of asking people how their family is doing and I can remember Kim telling me of her daughter graduating from high school and other milestones about her daughter that many of us have with our children. I now realize that it was Nicki whom she was talking about.
The only other thing I will say about the time that I have known Nicki through her correspondence with Funeral Director Daily is that as a Midwesterner with no great desire to be on the East Coast, I have wondered how life in New York City has been been for her — especially in the pandemic world. Well, Nicki let it out in this interview that while she works for a New York City wealth management firm. . . . she does it remotely from the sunny and warm Tampa Bay area!!! Lucky her!!!
Here’s what Nicki has to say to our readers about her role in the death care profession:
Q1. What is your position and company in the Death Care profession/industry at this time?
A1. I am the Marketing Manager for the Private Client Group at Roosevelt Investments (www.rooseveltinvestments.com), a wealth management firm with more than 30 years of experience providing comprehensive financial planning and asset management services to funeral homes, cemeteries, and their owners and operators.
Q2. Is this your first employment experience in the Death Care profession/industry? If so, how did you acquire this position and what do you believe are some of your previous work life experiences that may have qualified you for this position?
A2. It’s a slightly complicated answer, yes and no. There are two different aspects, professional and personal life experiences, that have led me to my current position in the funeral service profession.
From a professional standpoint, I previously worked full-time at an insurance brokerage while attending graduate school and earned my Life, Health, and Variable Annuities insurance license in Florida. While I was completing my studies to earn my MBA and MS in marketing, I was selected for the unique opportunity to work on a major faculty-student research initiative with the leadership of a registered investment advisory firm. We analyzed the profession’s trends and developed a three to five-year strategic plan for the firm, which further piqued my interest in financial services.
On the personal side, my interest in the funeral and cemetery space started when I was young. My family was always very involved in the profession. My dad, Jim Price, was born into funeral service and has been committed to the profession for over 50 years. He has held many senior management and ownership positions at corporate and independent funeral operations and was a co-founder of both Keystone Group Holdings and Foundation Partners Group. My mom, Kim Price, has worked in the profession throughout her life as well. She worked at Forethought and was the first employee at Prime Succession. She is also co-owner of Memory Glass, the Supplier Liaison for CANA, and has coordinated the Memorial Classic for over 25 years.
Because of their commitment to the funeral service profession it was natural that, as their daughter, it became part of my life, beginning with my birth in Batesville, Indiana! I can still remember crawling around the floor at the Prime Succession office as a toddler. Whether it was discussions around the dinner table about memorialization, or vacations with mandatory stops at the cemeteries and funeral homes in the area, growing up attending and exhibiting at the conventions, summer jobs and college internships, funeral service has had a profound impact on my life. I’ve always felt a deep connection to the profession and a passion for helping those who guide others through their most difficult times in life. I remember setting up the KeyMemories 9/11 memorial wall in New York City in 2002 and presenting about the experience at the Keystone Annual Managers’ Meeting in 2003. It was through that experience I was able to truly realize the depth of responsibility funeral service professionals have and the impact they make on all of our lives.
Once I graduated, I knew I wanted to work within the funeral and cemetery space, and my financial services experience led me to Roosevelt Investments. Roosevelt needed a marketing manager for its Private Client Group. The firm also wanted to focus on its commitment to the funeral and cemetery profession, so it sought a candidate with funeral service, financial services, and strategic marketing experience, which luckily created a niche made just for me! Personally, I connected with the firm’s origins of being founded to manage money for the Roosevelt family and Youngs Memorial Cemetery where Teddy Roosevelt is buried. I think the stars sort of aligned and it was a perfect match. I admire the leadership at Roosevelt and appreciate the genuine compassion and respect the firm has for the funeral service profession.
Q3. How would you describe what you do in your present position?
A3. I am responsible for creating and executing marketing strategies for our Private Client Group and highlighting the firm’s commitment to the funeral service and cemetery profession. I’ve been concentrating on increasing our exposure through multiple marketing channels and initiatives, so people know us as a trusted name in the profession. One important initiative has been refreshing our branding and building a new website for the firm, which we look forward to unveiling soon!
I also enjoy the opportunities I’ve had to work directly with funeral service professionals and their businesses. I work closely with Corie Gabriel, Director of the Private Client Group, to assist business owners in planning for their personal and business-related financial goals through wealth management and exit planning strategies. We also support businesses by managing their perpetual care, preneed, and merchandise trusts in accordance with their specific goals and objectives. Helping to make sure they have an updated investment policy statement, know and understand the applicable state regulations, and have the right policies and procedures in place is key.
Q4. Do you belong to any professional organizations or associations? If so, which ones?
A4. Yes, through my firm I am an active supplier member of the International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association, Selected Independent Funeral Homes, Cremation Association of North America, New Jersey Cemetery Association, Southern Cemetery Cremation & Funeral Association, and Pennsylvania Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association. I am also a member of the international business honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma. In the past, I served on the Florida Health Care Association’s board as treasurer for three years.
Q5. What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing the Death Care community in the next decade?
A5. I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the profession is communicating the importance of permanent placement for loved ones cremated remains. While this isn’t exactly a new challenge, I believe it will emerge as one of the primary issues facing the profession in the next ten years as consumer preferences continue to change and cremation rates continue to rise. As a person who is passionate about my family history, I want to have a place to visit where my ancestors are laid to rest. Families may not always realize that keeping loved ones at home in closets, basements, and attics can leave them forgotten over generations. Perhaps worse, there is the very real risk of losing cremated remains in a natural disaster, like a fire or flood. Likewise, the memory of scattering remains somewhere meaningful will most likely be lost with time. We need to work together to improve how we educate families on options for permanent placement in cemeteries, options that will aid families along their grief journey and leave a legacy for generations to come.
Q6. What are the best words of advice you received about working in the Death Care community?
A6. My favorite words of advice came from someone who has spent many years in the profession, my dad. He once told me, “Whatever you do in life, measure your level of success by the way you touch the lives of people.” What better way is there to think about funeral service and the true impact funeral service professionals make on the families they serve? Every day, funeral service professionals compassionately guide individuals and families through some of the most challenging periods of their lives. The smallest gesture often makes all the difference in someone’s experience and comfort throughout their grief journey. I want to make a positive impact in the funeral space; if can help a funeral service professional by easing a burden, giving them some peace of mind, and making them smile I will feel as though I have.
Q7. What would you advise those thinking about entering the Death Care profession/industry?
A7. It takes a special person to commit to the profession, but it is incredibly rewarding. If you believe it is your calling, then jump in with both feet! Get involved with associations, make as many connections as you can, and learn from them. This is a profession where people are open, caring, and want to help you succeed.
Q8. Tell us a little about yourself and what you enjoy doing when away from work.
A8. My husband, David, and I live in Tampa, Florida, where I work remotely for Roosevelt. I like to do yoga a couple times a week and my favorite place to relax is the beach, which unfortunately, I don’t get to visit often enough! I like to consider myself a continuous learner, so you might find me with my nose in a book outside of working hours. David and I are both fascinated by history and, when we have time, we love traveling to visit museums and historic landmarks! We also enjoy playing board games, camping and hiking, and spending time with our family and friends. While we don’t have any children yet, we have our hands full with two fur babies: a one-and-a-half-year-old Pomeranian and an eleven-year-old Labrador mix who ironically and despite their major differences in size, are best friends.
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