Speakers Make Headlines at CANA Symposium



WHEELING, IL — The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) welcomed more than 100 cremation innovators and thought leaders to Las Vegas for the return of the Cremation Symposium this February 2022. After its postponement in 2021, this fan favorite returned with a new format at a new venue, while retaining the same quality experience expected at a CANA event.

Practitioners, sponsors, and suppliers gathered together to network, learn, and share their own experiences. The theme for the event was story—and everyone had one to share! “Since the last CANA Symposium in February 2020, this profession has been working nonstop,” said CANA Supplier Liaison Kim Price, Vice President of Memory Glass. “We were so glad we could welcome them back to Las Vegas for a break with their friends and colleagues.”

The most enduring story from the 2022 Symposium is the sessions. They challenged attendees to think differently, inspired innovation, and provided practical tips to accomplish their goals. “Out of everything— virtual and in-person—that I’ve been to in the last 12 months, the content was the best of anything,” shared Ryan Thogmartin on episode 242 of Funeral Nation. “It really focused on the importance of a company’s story, telling their story, and connecting on a relationship level through story with the consumer.”

Experts from within and outside the profession shared programming that made a lasting impression.

  • Keynote Andrew Buck of Mighty Citizen had attendees thinking—and laughing—about the stories they can tell to connect their business with their consumers.
  • Angelique Simpson of Matthews Aurora whet attendees’ appetites with promises of a delicious “tres leches cake” if they build the right team to create a culture of trust.
  • Rolf Gutknecht of LA Ads inspired with real-world examples of ways to promote cremation memorialization with panelists Daniel Applegate of The Arlington Memorial Gardens in Cincinnati, OH and Robert Hunsaker of Hunsaker Partners in Marrietta, GA.
  • Lacy Robinson encouraged the embrace of the DIY consumer with ideas to keep services personal and meaningful.
  • Chris Cruger of The Foresight Companies proved the importance of business ethics by sharing new data from research about consumers’ post-pandemic buying habits and how the profession can meet these trends.
  • CANA’s own Barbara Kemmis and Jennifer Werthman, joined by educator panelists Glenda Stansbury and Martha Thayer, introduced new strategies to strengthen business operations by retaining quality staff and investing in professional development.

“Such a great event is not developed by accident,” explained CANA Executive Director Barbara Kemmis. “CANA’s committee members carefully choose presenters who have insight into new ideas and practical strategies that attendees can put to use right away to meet today’s needs. Look for content from the Symposium in The Cremationist magazine and Cremation Logs blog in coming months.”

CANA understands the industry and its challenges and works help its members—and the profession—find success. That’s why CANA also announced a new credential to help the profession better support cremation customers. Launching widely in 2022, the CANA-Certified Cremation Specialist training covers the many competencies that ensure that everyone is treated with the same level of care, service, and compassion. Learn more about this new program here: goCANA.org/CCS

Thank you to the many attendees and sponsors who chose to join CANA in Las Vegas! Please save the date to attend CANA’s 104th Cremation Innovation Convention in Atlanta, Georgia this August 17-19, 2022 and stay tuned for details: goCANA.org/CANA22

About CANA
Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) is an international organization of over 3,300 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization.

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