January 2023

Page A18 January 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A www.vischerfuneralsupplies.com 15 ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION & EXPO Marriott Gateway Atlanta Airport Complex and The Georgia International Convention Center Saturday, July 29 to Wednesday, August 2, 2023 SAVE THE DATE Walking into the funeral home, the phones are ringing before the lights are on. The paperwork piles are tall enough to hide behind. New Year’s resolutions are picking at our brains. This is January as a Funeral Director. The holidays have been spent caring for the families of others and we are tired. We persevere because this is our calling. We live a life of service. My name is Marika. I’m one of those directors. I have been given the gift of writing to you every month and I hope you join me on this ride. My goal in this column is to make you laugh, to think, to reconsider, and to fuel your passion for the ministry that we are in. Over the next few months, we will address residencies, the future of and challenges in the industry, why what we do is important and so much more. This month, allow me to give you a bit of my story. Even after 17 years in this industry, I still hear regularly, “You don’t look like a funeral director.” When the image they have is one crammed into their subconscious by the media, it’s no wonder. I may look young, but I have had a variety of distinct experiences which have given me a unique perspective. Staying home sick at the formative age of 13, I caught an interview with a Medical Examiner on television. She was funny, beautiful and brilliant. She was dressed in a fashionable suit and spoke eloquently about science, death and about being a woman in a male-driven field. She opened my eyes to possibilities. In that moment, I realized that I wanted to be her. I wanted to be that successful, ardent, yet compassionate, brainiac scientist in a killer outfit. The journey to get there has been more tumultuous than daytime television had led me to believe. I’m from a small town – a community in everyone else’s business. There were only three funeral homes in town, but I was organized, prepared and determined. gram to mentor MortSci students and new licensees. The path here was paved with heartbreak, fear, tears, misogyny, sleepless nights, and frustration. Like so many of us, my desire to serve my community has gotten me through it all. I am here, partially due my tenacity, stubbornness, and spite, but mostly due to my desire to change the world for the better. Ayesha Siddiqi said, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” We long-term licensees owe it to the next generation to support and inspire them. To you new licensees: I’m here to support and inspire you. Don’t give up. Don’t let the flaming hoops that you have to jump through keep you from your future. To those of you who are feeling the burn out: you can get through this. We all have so much to learn from each other, and the industry needs all of us. I look forward to bridging the gap between the generations. Our New Year’s Resolution: Be gentle on ourselves, adapt, inspire and learn. This is going to be a great year. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at Marika McMeans is a first-generation Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer, born and raised in the Midwest. She began her career in the industry at the age of fifteen and was managing a firm by age twenty-two. In 2015, she relocated to Rochester, New York. She is a graduate of the New York State Funeral Directors Association Leadership Academy, a member of their Bridge Commission and a past member of several Task Forces and Committees. She is the current President and Continuing Education Coordinator of Rochester Genesee Valley Funeral Directors Association. Her goal, now and always, is to help support and guide the next generation of funeral directors. As a teenager, I went to the first funeral home with a binder filled with research and questions. The director was happy to speak with me, but he was not willing to let me shadow there. Undeterred, I went across the street to his competitor and begged for a volunteer position. This time I succeeded and was given the opportunity. I grew up working at this firm. I navigated around clumsily, trying to take in as much as I could. I had incredible men take me under their wings and teach me, but this firm did not have any female funeral directors. In fact, none of the firms I knew about did. I assumed they just did not exist. But, still determined, I taught myself how to lift safely, utilizing my tiny teenage muscles, and I learned on my own how to dress professionally. I have had to teach myself a lot over the years, and I have realized that representation is everything. Since that first experience, I have had many more in the industry. I have gotten licensed in a different state, worked in corporate and family-owned firms, was a worker-bee and a manager. Now, I am the president of a six county funeral directors association, a past member of several state association task forces, and a part of a proBy Marika McMeans Musings with Marika CERRITOS,CA— Centinela Consulting Group has announced the launch of Envoi Cremation, a technology company that provides a full-service online cremation process, combining a fully-online purchase experience with the option for post-cremation services such as remembrance ceremonies and permanent memorialization. Envoi employs a simple user experience, affordable cremation options, with transparent pricing fully online. “Current online offerings solve only the most basic cremation needs with significant upcharges and few postcremation options like a remembrance ceremony or a There’s a New Way to Cremate and Memorialize Loved Ones Rick Miller permanent memorialization,” said Rick Miller, president and CEO of Envoi. “Envoi provides a holistic, streamlined user experience and newly imagined customer journey, using our relationships with physical locations to offer what no other online company does – a thorough selection post-cremation options.” Using Envoi, consumers can purchase cremation services 100% online, or connect with an Envoi Guide for assistance. Consumers also have the option to include a service of remembrance and permanent memorialization options at one of Envoi’s affiliate locations. All cremations include Envoi SecureCare™, their proprietary solution that provides updates to the family at each step of the cremation process, so the family is confident in knowing exactly where their loved one is at all times. “Data shows that there is a convergence of consumers looking for a hassle-free online buying experience who still desire full-service options like remembrance and memorialization,” said Miller. “Consumers want to shop online with assistance on their own terms, but they also want a wider range of offerings. That is the market that Envoi satisfies.” Envoi is immediately available for consumers in Southern California, with expansion soon to follow. Envoi is the only technology company that delivers a full-service online cremation experience which allows consumers to have the ability to chat with an experienced Envoi Guide as well as purchase post-cremation services such as permanent memorialization through its affiliate partners. For more information, visit www.envoicremation.com. Like @Nomis.Publications Like us on