What second-career funeral director Heather Kreider discovered when she left event planning for funeral service.
Each summer, I’m privileged to lead a group of funeral directors in a training seminar I call “WHY We Need Funerals.” It’s a chance to gather with funeral gatekeepers from across North America to review the essential reasons humankind has relied on funeral ceremonies since the beginning of time. The discussions prepare participants to educate the families they serve about the many “whys” of the elements of funerals.
A funeral director named Heather Kreider, from Colorado’s Horan & McConaty, attended the most recent WHY training. I soon learned that funeral directing was her second career. Before entering funeral service three years ago, she had been an event planner for almost two decades.
I’ve often discussed the differences between party and funeral planning, so when I had the good fortune of meeting and learning from Heather, I knew she could add valuable insight to this important distinction. I invited her to do a Q&A on the topic. I’m sure you’ll be as fascinated by her unique viewpoint as I am.
- Why did you change careers from event planning to funeral service?
Almost 10 years ago, my father died unexpectedly in a small town in Ohio, where there is one funeral home. As you so eloquently say, th funeral director was an “order taker/undertaker,” and the funeral planning experience was not a good one.
About a year later, I really started thinking about funeral service and how my family’s experience should not be the norm. My father was not honored through the services. As I like to say, it was an “insert name here” memorial. The director did not guide us through the decisions. Instead, he made assumptions, and he made a lot of the decisions on his own.
I started connecting the dots with my background in event planning and funeral service and realized that my background would be very valuable to me in the profession. So, almost seven years after my father’s death, I took a leap of faith into the funeral profession when John Horan hired me.