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September 13, 2019

Don't Let Your Profits Go Up in Flames

Today, more people are getting cremated than buried, and “traditional” doesn’t mean anything when it comes to funeral service. With that comes challenges – but also opportunities.

At the Cremation Innovations Summit in Columbus, Ohio, you’ll discover how to recognize and respond to both.

Learn how to:

  • Navigate the approval process to open a crematory.
  • Improve chain of custody to reduce your chance of being sued.
  • Incorporate receptions and events into your offerings.
  • Merchandise cremation products to boost family satisfaction and revenue.
  • Provide cremation families what they really want.

The conference will include keynote speakers as well as mini-presentations from some of the most innovative companies that are offering new products and services to help cremation families honor loved ones.

Meet Your Experts

Doug Gober

Partner, The Foresight Companies

Larry Stuart Jr.

Founder of Cremation Strategies & Consulting

Mary Andres Russell

Professional Development Director at Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions

Michael Schoedinger

President of Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Services

Poul Lemasters

Licensed funeral director/embalmer, attorney and owner of Lemasters Consulting


Friday, September 13, 2019

7:30 AM - 8:00 AM

Registration and Morning Refreshments
Arrive early to pick up your conference materials, meet the event staff and jolt yourself awake with a cup of coffee and an assortment of bagels, muffins and other refreshments.

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM

Welcoming Remarks and Introductions 

8:15 AM - 9:00 AM

Share Your Best Ideas
Team up with your peers to share your best and most profitable ideas focused on serving cremation families. Each group will share their three best ideas. The members of the group with the best idea will receive a free copy of “The Complete Cremation Handbook” – a $129 value!

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Step 1: Making Sure You Cover Your Assets
Poul Lemasters, licensed funeral director/embalmer, attorney and owner of Lemasters Consulting

It seems we can’t go a week without hearing a story about a wrongful cremation or a funeral home that has mishandled remains. But are providers really getting sued all the time, and if so, what can you do to prevent from being one of them? In this presentation, acclaimed attorney and licensed funeral director Poul Lemasters highlights current litigation affecting the industry.

Learn how to:
• Pinpoint where problems are most likely to occur. 
• Inspect third-party providers to protect your interests.
• Design forms and contracts that clearly spell out the services you provide.
• Document procedures to minimize problems should a mistake be made.

Take the necessary steps to protect yourself, your business and the families you serve with Lemasters’ invaluable guidance.


10:00 AM - 10:15 AM


10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Step 2: Creative Ways to Boost Cremation Revenue
Michael Schoedinger, President of Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Services

As the president of central Ohio’s most preferred funeral and cremation provider, Michael Schoedinger knows a thing or two about serving cremation families.

In this wide-ranging presentation, he hits upon some of the most successful strategies his team has implemented to not only improve the satisfaction of cremation families – but to bolster revenue for his business in the process.

He explores how to:
• Focus on pet families to win customers for your human business.
• Provide information to capture price shoppers.
• Market to key influencers in your community.
• Offer catered receptions that customers will actually buy.

From all the above to DNA retrieval, grief therapy dogs and more, Schoedinger’s creative thinking has won his firm business in a competitive environment – and some of his ideas are sure to be right for you.

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Step 3: Are You Ready to Own and Operate Your Own Equipment?
Larry Stuart Jr., Founder of Cremation Strategies & Consulting

With the constant increase in the cremation rate, more and more funeral professionals are looking at owning and operating their own cremation equipment. Preliminary research and answering fundamental questions before spending a large sum of money can be overwhelming, and it’s crucial to know that it’s not just about the money. 

Stuart will outline what to know and provide insight into answering the important questions surrounding a project of this importance: 
• Can I afford to do it?
• Can I afford NOT to do it?
• What other things do I need to consider in addition to the equipment?
• What are the responsibilities of ownership?
• Shouldn’t I just leave the headaches to my third-party cremation provider?

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM


1:15 PM - 1:30 PM


1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Step 4: The Art of Cremation Phone Inquiries
Mary Andres Russell, Professional Development Director at Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions

Most funeral homes receive cremation phone inquiries weekly, if not daily, which is why Mary Russell, professional development director at Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions, offers this workshop to provide practical tips to convey the value of the services you offer.

Relying on case studies as well as clear and understandable language, she’ll help you and your staff:
• View the call as an opportunity and your staff as the specialists.
• Introduce yourself to callers in a friendly manner.
• Answer the top 10 questions asked by families.
• Engage callers in meaningful conversation with discovery questions.
• Use words that add value.

When potential clients call your business, you must take practical steps to build relationships, use proper business phone etiquette and do what competitors overlook to win new business. Find out how to do it, step by step, in this workshop.

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Step 5: What Cremation Families Really Want
Doug Gober, Partner, The Foresight Companies

Even though more families are opting for cremation than burial, some funeral homes and cemeteries are still trying to convince them there’s something wrong with not getting buried.

Those funeral homes are doomed.

Instead of trying to convince customers that they’re shortchanging themselves and their loved ones by not viewing someone they lost in a casket, Doug Gober says we should give them what they want.

Gober walks you through how to:
• Offer families broader and more personalized services.
• Rethink product and service offerings.
• Exceed the expectations of cremation families.
• Enhance business by appealing to the guests at memorial services.
• Boost margins with innovative merchandising and marketing techniques.

Gober will complement all the above by sharing groundbreaking research on what today’s cremation consumers want from service providers and his own insights on where funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries keep coming up short.

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

BONUS: Closing Remarks and Q&A with Our Speakers

Hotel - $125 per night

Embassy Suites by Hilton - Columbus, OH

2700 Corporate Exchange Drive

Columbus, OH 43231



Hotel Reservations

Embassy Suites by Hilton - Columbus

Please contact the hotel directly at 860-890-8600 to book a reservation by phone and mention that you are with the Cremation Innovations Summit to get the best rate available. If you have any problems booking a room, please contact Conference Coordinator Thomas Parmalee at tparmalee@kbpublications.com.


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Thomas Parmalee, event coordinator


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