NFDA Leadership Conference: Inspiring Sessions, Leading Experts, Two Ways to Attend



The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) looks forward to welcoming the funeral profession’s state and national leaders to the 2020 Leadership Conference, taking place August 2-5 at the Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, S.C.  For the first time, NFDA is giving attendees two ways to attend this dynamic event, offering both in-person and virtual conference options. 

“The safety of our members remains NFDA’s highest priority and this was not an easy decision,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “We listened to state association leaders and carefully studied CDC and state 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 coupled with a virtual conference option – which will mirror the in-person event – for those who aren’t comfortable traveling or are unable to join us in person.”  

During the 2020 Leadership Conference, attendees will hear from a variety of experts:

  • NFDA President-elect Randy Anderson and Secretary Dutch Nie will help state association leaders understand how they can take their commitment to the profession to the next level through service on the NFDA Board of Directors.
  • Lowell Aplebaum, CAE, CPF, is the CEO of Vista Cova, a company that partners with organizations on strategic visioning and planning, creating stronger stakeholder connections, and reimagining value and engagement. He will help attendees discover how to help their state associations deliver value and exceptional experiences for members.
  • Andra Watkins is the New York Times best-selling author of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, a memoir about a dysfunctional family adventure. During her talk, Watkins will share the story of why she walked 444 miles to make a memory with her father.
  • During her talk Change Redefined: Turn Uncertainty Into Competitive Advantage, Meridith Elliot Powell will show attendees how to attract more business, retain top talent, and leap into position to win during this unprecedented time. Her straightforward approach contains real-life strategies that can be put into place when attendees return home.

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. Importantly, virtual attendees will be able to join these breakout sessions.

In all, both in-person and virtual attendees can earn up to seven CE credits by attending this year’s Leadership Conference.

In-Person Conference: Special Events

Attendees can kick off their Leadership Conference experience by hitting the links at Wild Dunes Harbor Course on August 2. Designed by Tom Fazio, the Harbor Golf Course is known for its challenging design, beautiful views, and, most of all, water. 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 2, after registering, all attendees will enjoy reconnecting with old friends and making new ones during the complimentary Welcome Reception.

On the evening of August 4, attendees will gather for Leadership: An Evening of Stand-up Professionals and Stand-up Comedy. 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).

To help Leadership Conference attendees explore Charleston, NFDA has planned exclusive tours. These excursions include: Home & Garden Walking Tour (August 2), Carriage Tour (August 2), Kayaking Charleston Harbor & Estuaries (August 3) and Candlefish Candle Making Class (August 4) (optional events; registration required).

Health and Safety Measures

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, before registering, all Leadership Conference attendees must agree to abide by any and all hygiene, health and safety measures NFDA puts in place to protect attendees and staff during the conference including, but not limited to, temperature checks, wearing facemasks, regular hand sanitation and social distancing rules.

Attendees may not participate in Leadership Conference events if they have at the time of the event or anytime within 14 days before the event any of the following symptoms: a cough, fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal upset or experienced a loss of taste or smell.

Additional information about health and safety precautions can be found online at 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 to ensure attendees’ safety.

Registration Information

Attendees can register for the Leadership Conference online at or by calling NFDA at 800-228-6332. Registration for the in-person event includes presentations, handouts, continental breakfasts and welcome reception. Registration for the virtual event includes presentations and handouts.

  • NFDA Member – includes CE
    • In-person: $485
    • Virtual: $249
  • Nonmember – includes CE
    • In-person: $725
    • Virtual: $349
  • Non-licensed Family Member/Guest – no CE
    • In-person: $210
  • Golf at Wild Dunes Harbor Course (August 2): $50
  • Leadership: An Evening of Stand-up Professionals and Stand-up Comedy Adult
    • Adult: $139
    • Child (16 and under): $40
  • Tours
    • Home & Garden Walking Tour (August 2): $93
    • Carriage Tour (August 2): $38
    • Kayaking Charleston Harbor & Estuaries (August 3): $131
    • Candlefish Candle Making Class (August 4): $82

Belmond Charleston Place

Located in the very heart of downtown Charleston, in the historic district and within walking distance of all the 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, 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 gloves. All associates will be temperature checked prior to starting their shift. We are working on COVID-19 signage to place around the hotel. Pre-arrival letters will be sent to all guests.”

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 6.

For complete details about the 2020 NFDA Leadership Conference, visit or call 800-228-6332.

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

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