Brookfield, Wis. — The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) will begin accepting applications on Tuesday, March 1 for the 2022-23 National Emerging Leaders Program. This program, which launched in 2021, helps funeral service professionals develop leadership skills that will serve them well in any setting they may find themselves – their funeral home, their state or national association, their community, and beyond.

“I’ve had opportunities to connect with members of our inaugural class of the National Emerging Leaders Program and it has been so gratifying to see the growth in their leadership skills.  This program has fueled their passion and enthusiasm for the funeral service profession,” said NFDA President Randy Anderson, CFSP, CCO. “This vital program will help a new generation foster the skills they will need as they step into leadership roles in our profession, in businesses and in their communities.” 

“NFDA wants to invest in your personal and professional development. What are you waiting for?” said Todd Harra of McCrery and Harra Funeral Homes and Crematory Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware, a member of the inaugural National Emerging Leaders Program class. “It was an amazing opportunity to meet other funeral service professionals, grow professionally, and learn more about NFDA” 

The NFDA National Emerging Leadership Program is open to all licensed funeral professionals, regardless of NFDA membership, from the United States and Canada who are still early in their careers (first-career funeral directors licensed 5-10 years or second-career funeral directors licensed 3-8 years).

This year-long program for 20 select individuals will start and end at the 2022 and 2023 NFDA Leadership Conferences (the 2022 NFDA Leadership Conference is scheduled for July 10-13 in Orlando, Florida; 2023 dates will be announced later this year). In addition to meeting during the Leadership Conference, participants will meet virtually approximately eight times throughout the year to learn from experts, both from within the funeral service profession and from outside authorities.

The program features a practical and theoretical approach to advanced leadership topics. The curriculum, which is being developed in partnership with an expert consultant in leadership development, will cover topics such as mentorship, ethical leadership, employee relations, collaborative decision-making, strategic planning, servant leadership, communication skills, small business ownership, and more. 

Participants will also have access to mentors, engage in high-level networking, and work with fellow program participants on a group project that will teach them to apply the skills they are learning in real-world scenarios.

NFDA thanks the Funeral Service Foundation for their generous sponsorship of the National Emerging Leaders Program. 

“Developing confident, focused and adaptable leaders is in direct alignment with the Foundation’s mission of investing in people and programs to strengthen funeral service and lift up grieving communities,” said 2021-22 Foundation Chair, Allan Cole. “The Funeral Service Foundation is honoured to once again sponsor this program, which benefits funeral service professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

The National Emerging Leadership Program requires an investment of $1,500, which includes the registration fee for the 2022 and 2023 NFDA Leadership Conferences; approximately eight virtual sessions led by quality speakers and trainers; printed educational materials; CE hours; high-level networking with leaders in the funeral services profession; and more. Participants will also receive up to a $1,000 travel stipend to cover their travel and accommodations (i.e., airfare, hotel, meals) for the 2022 and 2023 Leadership Conferences. 

Information about the NFDA National Emerging Leaders Program is available on the NFDA website, Additional details, including information on how to apply for the program, will be available on March 1. Applications are due by midnight CST on March 31. Selected participants will be announced in mid-April. 

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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