This afternoon an e-mail was sent to all members of the National Association of Funeral Directors announcing that Mandie Lavin, the CEO appointed just under 15 months ago, is no longer employed by the Association.
No explanation has been given for her abrupt departure, but as the current President steps in to take the reins of the ‘Voice of the Profession’, we have received a guest post from Louise Winter, a progressive funeral director in London, in which she puts forward some thoughts that the organisation might like to consider as they look to the future.
An Open Letter to the NAFD
Dear National Association of Funeral Directors,
In light of the sudden change in leadership at the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) which was announced today, and as the leading trade association representing the funeral profession in the UK, there are a few considerations I’d like you to make when debating the future of your organisation and appointing your next CEO.
Funerals are important. A good funeral can be profound and transformational in helping to acknowledge and accept that someone has died. As the homepage of your website points out, ‘funerals matter’.
With this in mind, please consider the following:
- To introduce an underlying commitment to better serve the needs of the bereaved public and to make this the determining factor in any decision that is made.
- To become a force to be reckoned with, representing both traditional, modern and progressive funeral directors, corporates and independents.
- To be seen as universal – as interested in the smallest independent funeral directors as the needs of the biggest corporate firms.
- To share best practice and encourage collaboration for the sake of the future of the funeral profession.
- To offer modern, useful and thorough training to develop the next generation of the funeral profession.
- To improve the reputation of the funeral industry in the interest of making funerals a desirable career path for the brightest employees of tomorrow.
- To behave as a forward-thinking organisation that helps funeral directors to prepare for the market of tomorrow, where complacency and arrogance is not encouraged.
- To take immediate, effective and decisive action over those funeral directors who do a disservice to the funeral profession by behaving in an unprofessional manner.
- To not just encourage complete transparency regarding prices, but to make it a requirement of membership.
- To provide a clear and transparent procedure to allow complaints to be dealt with in a professional, unbiased and effective manner.
- To employ a diverse workforce of thought leaders who are enacting actual change.
- To be at the forefront of leading this change whilst retaining the values of the past.
- To be responsible for creating a network of funeral directors of which the UK can be proud.
- To value integrity, openness, honesty and transparency in all matters.
I hope that the NAFD will be the change we need to see in the funeral profession and wish you all the best in the appointment of a new CEO.