Brookfield, Wis. – The Funeral Service Foundation awarded a record 11 scholarships to women to attend the 2017 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference, which was held April 8-9 in Franklin, Tenn.

The recipients were selected based upon their answers to questions about why they chose a career in the profession; the professional accomplishment of which they are most proud; a mentor who has helped shape their career; and reasons for wanting to participate in the conference.

“It’s evident that this year’s record number of recipients work every day to build meaningful relationships within our profession and our communities, which is central to our mission,” said Foundation Executive Director Danelle O’Neill during a special luncheon to honor the scholarship recipients. “They constantly strive to help families understand the importance of meaningful memorialization, and they value continuing education experiences such as the Professional Women’s Conference.”

The 2017 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference Scholarships were made possible, in part, through the generosity of long-time Foundation donors Nomis Publications Inc., Wilbert and Trigard. Scholarships covered the recipients’ conference registration fees, and provided a $1,000 travel and accommodation stipend; a record $11,000 was awarded to this year’s winners. In addition, Foundation Partners Group, for the fourth year in a row, sponsored the Foundation’s annual conference kick-off event.

“The Foundation has been an integral part of the NFDA Professional Women’s conference from the very beginning. Annual support for this professional development scholarship program has allowed us to award scholarships to nearly 125 deserving women since 1998,” said O’Neill.

The 2017 Professional Women’s Conference Scholarship recipients are:

  • Lisa Hedges Bacon, Rogers, Ark.
  • Berri Lynn Cooper, Chicago, Ill.
  • Heather Hill, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Laura Holland, Land O’ Lakes, Fla.
  • Heather Jennings, Arkona, Ontario, Canada
  • Dawn Nelson, Brownsville, Wisc.
  • Kathene Mary Rodgers, Dearborn, Mich.
  • Lori Sheeler, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Tracy Spiess, Redford Township, Mich.
  • Joan Stasi, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Martha Swanson, West Grove, Pa.

The NFDA Professional Women’s Conference Scholarships are part of the Foundation ’45 Awards, which are offered on the premise that access to solid education and resources can help funeral service professionals propel their career to the next level. The Foundation ’45 Awards also include an expanded array of academic scholarships, NFDA’s Meet the Mentors program, and the newly created Career Development Awards, which underwrite registration fees for a single NFDA Arranger Training, Cremation Certification or Certified Preplanning Consultant seminar of the recipient’s choosing.

Information about the Foundation ’45 Awards can be found at Dates and deadlines vary. Applications for scholarships to attend the 2018 NFDA Professional Women’s Conference will be available online early next year.