November 2023

Page A14 november 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Section A 1-888-792-9315 • Scan QR for our website Cots not included MODEL # TR3 Triple Cot Roll-In Mortuary Cooler AMC N W FAST SHIPPING AVAILABLE ON SELECT PRODUCTS I grew up in a family of very powerful women. My grandmother, mom, aunts, and great aunts were all small business owners and very entrepreneurial-minded during a very male-dominated time. In my family, women were heard, and it was expected for them to be heard. I’ve had several male role models and influencers in business and my personal life, and I am very grateful for their positive impact. I have also been fortunate to carefully observe the women in my family operate their small businesses. These important women in my life often communicated with customers differently. Not necessarily better, but differently. My dad, George, was a big part of my life and passed on many pages of life hacks, lessons, and knowledge. Respect, be on time, family first, and acceptance are engrained from my father. Which have all served me well personally and professionally. My mom, Pam, was a single mom who raised me and 3 other siblings. Since women were such an important piece of my life, I found it very odd when I started in the funeral service and saw how male-centric it truly was. Here I was, surrounded by powerful, successful female influencers, and yet the industry that needed them was literally barren of women. My mom, aunts, and grandmother were all very active in their small business with suppliers and customers. Engaged daily in ALL aspects of the business, much like funeral directors. And they were successful and, most importantly, respected as leaders. Early in my funeral service career, I wondered, “Would there be a positive difference if women were the primary people meeting grieving families, rather than a stoic male in the dark suit?” What if, just what if, there was a mom who happened to be a funeral director? Would she understand the emotional impact of what these families are experiencing? The difference in characteristics between men and women is embedded in their genealogy. Women are more empathetic, process emotions better, and connect more meaningfully with families. Now, men are ofBy Jon O’Hara, CEO, Great Lakes Partnership ten physically stronger, perhaps more task-oriented and tend to be perfectionists in the mechanics of our profession. Male qualities are equally as important in the full circle of care. There are times in our profession where emotion needs to be sidelined, and men have been doing this with ease since biblical times. However, women, I would argue, are more emotionally engaged. Which is perhaps one of the most, if not the most important pieces to the care we provide families. I am encouraged by the trends we are seeing in mortuary schools on a national level. According to AFBSE (American Board of Funeral Service Education), women currently make up roughly 72 percent of recent graduates of funeral services education. Up until the 1970s, men dominated the field; however, every decade since then, the number of women entering the field has increased. Not only that, the graduates are younger, between the ages of 25 and 30. Gone are the days of men as the sole choice in a funeral director. Just by sheer math, the teams inside funeral homes will continue to look entirely different than your grandfather’s funeral parlor. Purely argument, but I think that the emotional impact of women in our profession will cement our value. This new flock of graduates may be a saving grace to a profession that seems to be fighting for our value. Yes, a premier facility and sweet cars are great, but they’re becoming less important than the people as traditions (particularly religious affiliation) continue to decline. Men in our profession tend to be very skilled at the operational aspects of funeral care and are visionary-oriented. We are fantastic at making sure every aspect of the business is crisp, and we are always wondering what’s next. We are perfectionists. And we also provide the strength (both physical and emotional) that families need in their most vulnerable time. We still need ALL these strengths in this next generation from ALL of my fellow brothers in funeral service. It’s easy for us men to immediately say things like, “Well, she’s definitely going to need help with that removal.” MayCritical Thinking: The Evolution of the Funeral Profession be we make these comments because we perceive women as a threat? But I promise, women aren’t the threat. And a removal will get done, keeping a family as your customer should be the focus. We aren’t participating in Strong Man competition here. Families need women’s empathy and built-in compassion just as much as our strength and vision. You can’t produce empathy. You can’t recreate it. You either have it or you don’t. And if someone has it, it could be your best asset. People will choose your funeral home when you care more. And, you probably won’t need to collect your competitor’s price list because you will be the empathy leader. Your community will care “less” about price, and more that you are unconditionally compassionate. And THIS comes more naturally to women. I’ve seen it and believe it with all my heart. Some of the best directors I know are women, and I could care less if they picked my family member up from the 3rd floor of an apartment. In fact, I would prefer they didn’t so they could be on-point with my family during one of, if not the most important part of our professional duty. The arrangement conference. Will Women Save Funeral Service? FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Monthly Columnsonline at Jon O’Hara is a forward thinking funeral director & CEO of the Great Lakes Family of Companies. Jon is a first generation funeral director and in addition to working as a funeral director, he has also worked for Aurora Casket Company,, and The Outlook Group. He founded Great Lakes Partnership in 2018, which has grown from solely a pre-need marketing organization to a strategic consulting partner for funeral homes. He is also currently building his first funeral home location in Chesterfield Twp, MI. He lives in the Detroit area with his wife, Michelle, two sons, Henry and Teddy, and Labradoodles Sydney and Annie. Contact Jon O’Hara at 586-636-6611 or Memorial Classic Golf Tournament Benefits both NFDA and ICCFA Foundations BROOKFIELD,WI— The Funeral Service Foundation announced that it has received a $100,000 contribution from the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament. The Memorial Classic was founded by Tom Johnson of Johnson Consulting Group more than 40 years ago with the intent of bringing together friends in funeral service together for fellowship. With more than 136 participants every year, the tournament is a philanthropic force that gives back to the funeral service profession. Since 2010, the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament has contributed more than $744,000 to the Funeral Service Foundation and has created the Foundation’s permanently endowed Memorial Classic Scholarship, the impact of which continues to grow. Since 2013, 27 students pursuing their mortuary science degrees at accredited institutions have received the Memorial Classic Scholarships. “As a lifelong professional we are excited to give back and help the funeral profession educate the next generation of leading minds,” said president and CEO of Johnson Consulting Group, Jake Johnson. Named in memory of some of the funeral profession’s finest – Bill Bischoff, Mike Fleming, Dave Hirt, Steve Mack, John Morrow, Ed Murphy, Mike Stephens, Ed Tuggle and Joe Weatherford – the endowed scholarship at the Funeral Service Foundation is funded through proceeds from the annual Memorial Classic Golf Tournament, which is led by Tom and Jake Johnson. “This generous gift and the continued legacy of giving from Memorial Classic, the Johnson family, and all who participate continues to open doors for so many who feel called to work in the funeral service profession,” said Funeral Service Foundation board chair, Mark Krause. “These gifts that honor and memorialize some of the funeral profession’s greatest advocates ensures that their legacy lives on in the opportunities for compassion and care that this scholarship creates.” Since 1945, the Funeral Service Foundation has served as the philanthropic voice of the funeral profession and has identified as the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association since 1997. Donors and volunteer leaders profession-wide support the Foundation in its mission to lift up grieving communities by investing in people and programs that strengthen funeral service. ICCFA Educational Foundation Receives $75,000 ICCFA’s Educational Foundation has announced that it has been generously endowed with a $75,000 donation courtesy of the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament. Over the past eleven years, the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament has exemplified its commitment by contributing more than $475,000 to the ICCFA Educational Foundation. Gino Merendino, president of the Educational Foundation, stated, “The annual support we receive from the Memorial Classic Golf Tournament enables the Educational Foundation to fulfill our charter and make educational opportunities accessible to all ICCFA members. We are thankful and honored to have such committed donors that share the vision to give back to the profession in such a positive way.” These proceeds have made it possible for the Educational Foundation to award more than 100 scholarships to the 2023 ICCFA University held at Emory University. “As someone deeply dedicated to our profession, I’m excited to be a part of our ongoing effort to assist and guide those in the funeral industry,” shared Johnson. The ICCFA Educational Foundation, founded in 2005, seeks to make education accessible to the future leaders of the deathcare profession. It does this by awarding scholarships to the educational programs of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, as well as advancing initiatives designed to promote the profession and support the individuals who answer the call of service. Johnson Consulting Group is committed to providing business solutions and tools to achieve increased performance, profitability and success as one navigates the journey towards an exit strategy. Their expert services include succession planning, selling funeral homes and cemeteries, financing solutions, business coaching, accounting services, business performance analysis, customer survey programs, customer experience workshops, incentive compensation plans and leadership and management trainings. DIGITAL DIRECTORY Available Download instantly at Save on Shipping!