As we mentioned in yesterday’s feature article that pertained to the financial side of the death care industry, it has been a different and interesting year in that realm. Today, we will be reminding you that it has also been an interesting and different year on the relationship side of the profession.
I’m a guy who thrives on relationships and the interpersonal communication that being in the physical presence of other human beings brings. Over my career I’ve served on lots of boards and commissions and the people that I have met and visited with, even during the non-board meeting times of that span, have been influential in the advancement of my career.
Currently, I serve as the board chair of a Home Care/Hospice company, a board member of a Big Ten University, and a board member of a community non-profit. Since March every meeting has been by Zoom, and while I don’t like it much, we have been able to get things done – proving that technology can substitute for in-person.
When I was active daily in funeral service there was no better time to build relationships than at conventions. I always enjoyed the people I saw from all sides of the industry — suppliers, vendors, consultants, and, of course, my fellow funeral director colleagues. Getting to a convention to get to see these people was always a treat.
As you know, the COVID-19 situation that we find ourselves in is certainly not conducive to holding an in-person convention and I don’t see any in-person conventions happening for some time. In the death care world, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) was one of the first to announce, back in April, that their 2020 National Convention would be held in a virtual world. Well, three weeks from tomorrow, the CANA 2020 Virtual Convention will begin on August 5.
CANA is a top-notch organization and I’m guessing that this virtual convention will more than likely pleasantly surprise most of us with what can be accomplished virtually. Our kudos to CANA for being the first to really give this a whirl.
From my position with the University of Minnesota, I know first hand that transitioning to virtual can be exciting for those on the receiving end of some of the material. The Spring of 2020 required the university to transition, in a week, to all virtual distanced learning modes because of the potential of spreading the coronavirus if we continued to meet in person.
Since that time, universities have learned much about the presentation and what can be accomplished. At the University of Minnesota we will be exploring how online, distance, and/or distributed learning may, at times for some subjects, become the best practice way to educate.
To that end, I think CANA will help the death care profession understand, and possibly, embrace quality online education and networking by how they present this first ever virtual convention.
My suggestion would be to get registered and block August 5 and 6 off your calendar to take part. Here is an explanation of what they are attempting and a sampling of what they will be offering:
CANA is responding to social distancing restrictions by re-imagining the Annual Cremation Innovation Convention and Tradeshow for an online platform. With this virtual event, CANA is meeting cremation, cemetery, and funeral professionals where they are – serving their communities safely through online platforms. Exhibits, networking, education, and fun packed into two days.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
2:00 PM (CT) – Unifying on Common Ground: It’s Now or Never – Codi Shewan, Keynote
3:15 PM (CT) – Education Session 1
“Witness Cremation Ceremonies” – Heather Braatz, Worsham College of Mortuary Science
“Digital Identity Theft – Tales from the Crypt” – William Newman, Withum
4:15 PM (CT) – Trade Show & Networking
Thursday, August 6, 2020
12:00 PM (CT) – Trade Show & Networking
2:00 PM (CT) – Education Session 2
“Bouncing Back After COVID-19: Strategies to Heal & Thrive in Life & Business” – Dr. Jason Troyer, GriefPlan
“10 First Steps for adding Cremation to Your Business” – Thomas Krowl, Cremation Systems (Division Armil/CFS, Inc.)
3:15 PM (CT) – Cremation During COVID-19: A Discussion with Three Last Responders from the Front-Line Moderated by Larry Stuart, Jr. with Sandra Walker (Pacific Northwest Cremation in Spokane, WA), Jon Rettig (Family Care Cremation Services in Columbiana, OH), and Jim Koslovski (Rosedale & Rosehill Cemetery Association in Linden, NJ)
4:15 PM (CT) – Closing and After Party