We Made Waves While Renewing Ourselves
This last week, I was honored to spend 3 incredible days with women business friends, women funeral directors and embalmers, women suppliers, and women educators at NFDA’s Professional Women’s Conference (PWC) in Miami, Florida. There were 120 of us who took over the Confidante Hotel for the weekend and the conference was sold out!
Our experience began with a fun boat ride and dinner, cruising past the shoreline of downtown Miami at sunset and into the night, compliments of the Funeral Service Foundation. The first day of the conference opened with a welcome from Melissa Posey Loose, the Training and Development Manager for NFDA who was responsible for this incredible program. Thank you, Melissa, for bringing an amazing weekend of fun and education for all of the attendees!
The speakers were tremendous. Dr. Jody Carrington, Jen Parvin, Annette March-Grier, Kelly Lake Kohut, Jenny McClanahan, and Marguerite Ham (one of our Collaborative Network Partners). They had us laughing, crying, and appreciating our lives with so many of their stories of resilience, triumph, achieving life goals, overcoming obstacles, building successful long-term healthy habits, and helping us realize that we have the ability to reconnect and re-repair relationships, to see and accept people for who they really are. There was a group think exercise using Slido.com that helped us learn more about the future of funeral service values and how to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. Lessons were taught on creating our own path in life while inspiring us to follow our dreams. We ended with learning more about our leadership styles, how to improve them and use them to enhance teamwork and communications in the workplace and in our personal lives.
The gathering was a success, new friendships were made and many rekindled. It was so very good to be back together again after the last two difficult years. I renewed a friendship with a dear friend and former mentor Anna Louise Bongiovi, who was one of the early instructors for the first women in funeral service conferences back in the early 1980s. I will be forever grateful to her for the support she gave to me at age 30 as a very young and inexperienced woman who was learning to operate a business after my dad died and trying to become a leader in our profession. Anna was honored at the PWC conference for her many years of contributing to its growth and success and it was well deserved. 32 scholarships were given out at this conference through the Funeral Service Foundation and our family was honored to help with providing some of them in memory of my dad David C. Baue, who founded the first women’s professional program in 1981.
As Mother’s Day approaches this Sunday, May 8th, I encourage you to think about who you would like to honor. My mom has been gone since 2008, but I will pause this Sunday to remember all the wonderful lessons she taught me as a young woman. Please reconnect and reach out to those you love and know that are mothers. At PWC this year there were so many stories from women whose children had died. They are still mothers and will always be mothers. Many are now funeral directors serving families and they are passionate about their mission of service to care for those who mourn. Let us not forget them as we honor this holiday because they represent all for that for which we stand for and do in our profession.
Have a Blessed Mother’s Day and I hope the spring flowers around you are blooming and the sun is smiling, if not around your home, then in your hearts.
My best always,