Annual Conference Education




altUnplugged & Uncorked: Uninhibited Discussions of Today's Pressing Challenges (1 hour CE)
Thursday, April 25 l 4:00-5:30 p.m.

What problem is keeping you up at night? Join other funeral service professionals for this year’s opening session, which will provide you with peer-supported advice on your most pressing problems over craft beer and local wine. Come “tap” into the wealth of knowledge and experience that OGR members possess.

Opening Keynote: Becoming a Difference Maker in the Midst of Change – Chad Porter, Difference Maker (1 hour CE)
Friday, April 26 l 8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Experience how a young man overcame a horrific tragedy not only to survive but to defy all odds and turn, what most would find insurmountable, into a life of inspiring people across the globe for over 20 years. Zig Ziglar Certified Motivational Speaker Chad Porter will share his personal story of overcoming adversity and the tools he’s learned to make a difference in the midst of change. You’ll explore strategies for increasing your and your staffs’ motivation to become difference makers and identify ways to overcome obstacles in the way of reaching goals. What excuses are holding you back? Come learn what’s needed to step outside your comfort zone.


Handling Price Shoppers Effectively – Adam Martin, Martin Funeral, Cremation & Tribute Services and Nancy Weil, OGR  (1 hour CE)
Friday, April 26 l 9:45 - 10:45 a.m.

Many funeral directors are terrible at handling price shopping calls. How do we know this? Because OGR has price shopped them. Learn how you can set your funeral home apart from your competitors by participating in this session to experience price shopping calls that went wrong, learn conversation techniques that answer families’ questions appropriately, and discover tools for improving your funeral home’s approach to callers. When families contact you, are you ready?

Friday, April 26 l  Choose from Three Breakouts -- Each PresentedTwice l 2:00 p.m. and 3:05 p.m.

Breakout: Opioid Epidemic: How to Be a Respond to the Crisis without Being an Expert  – Charles Castiglia, Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home (1 hour CE)
Friday, April 26  l  2:00 - 2:55 p.m. l  3:05 - 4:00 p.m.

Has your funeral home been impacted by the opioid epidemic? If it hasn’t yet, it will. Join OGR’s immediate past president Charles Castiglia as he shares his experience with the epidemic and how it may impact you. You’ll discuss circumstances which may impact how you interact with the deceased's family and friends, identify potential safety issues to guests and staff, discover how to actively address the crisis in your community and find ways to walk survivors through this difficult and unexpected journey. Learn practical suggestions for responding to the opioid crisis without being an expert.


Breakout: How End-of-Life Practitioners and Funeral Professionals Can Serve Families Together - Lee Webster, National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (1 hour CE)
Friday, April 26  l  2:00 - 2:55 p.m.  l  3:05 - 4:00 p.m.

Today’s families are looking for more eco-friendly, affordable end-of-life options and expect transparency, common sense solutions, and a model of care that follows a continuum. Along with this change are death doulas, home funeral guides, and other end-of-life practitioners who stand ready to assist the dying and their families. How can funeral professionals partner with these end-of-life practitioners to play a valuable role in serving families? Lee Webster, an advocate for alternative end-of-life options, will provide practical tools for working with this emerging field. She’ll give tips for bridging the gap between conventional service and families’ desire for different products and services and show you what doulas and guides can bring to your practice that is unique and profitable.  


Breakout: Improving the Health of Your Business to Better Serve Families: A Case Study - Stephanie Ramsey and Doug Gober, the Foresight Companies (1 hour CE)
Friday, April 26  l  2:00 - 2:55 p.m.  l  3:05 - 4:00 p.m.

Do you know why you make money or lose it in a given year? Gaining a better understanding of your finances and profit and loss may be the answer. Stephanie Ramsey of the Foresight Companies and one of OGR’s members will share how looking at your books, firm’s prices, product mix, and more will open the door for increasing profitability while maintaining a high level of service to families. Come learn how to create a road map to hit your profit goals and ensure the health and well-being of your business for years to come. 

altSolution Talks – Fellow OGR members (1 CE when entire hour is attended)
Saturday, April 27 l during Solution Center hours -  1:00 p.m.

Held in the Solution Center, these short talks will give you solutions from fellow service professionals. Find solutions for finding and hiring exceptional funeral service professionals, ways to get free PR, strategies for coping with PTSD, and generating alternate revenue sources. 


altGreat Ideas Exchange  Member-led (1 hour CE)
Saturday, April 27  l  2:15 - 3:15 p.m.

What professional challenge are you facing that you could use help with? Have you tried a new idea and found success with it? Join us for this year’s round-table discussion and learn how other funeral directors in North America and around the world are responding to families’ needs while increasing revenue. 

Closing Keynote: The Challenges are Real but You’re Ready   Caleb Wilde, Funeral Director and Author (1 hour CE)
Saturday, April 27  l  3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

With rapid changes and significant challenges facing traditional funeral homes, it’s easy to feel discouraged. How can funeral service professionals continue focusing on families and serving them well with the growing demand for affordable cremation options, a heightened interest in eco-friendly alternatives to funerals, and a break from tradition? Award winning author and sixth-generation funeral director, Caleb Wilde will share how he’s found the balance between running his traditional family-owned business and meeting families’ changing preferences. You’ll leave this session inspired and energized, knowing you don’t have to start over in order to serve today’s families; you already have what it takes!

Continuing Ed
The Annual Conference will offer up to 8 CEs in states where approved. Visit for a current list of approvals.