Spotlight on 2023 IFDF Annual Conference Speakers: Modernizing Ceremonies Panel

Posted By: Ruth Bedell, PhD, QAS News,
Modernizing Ceremonies: Beyond the Traditional
A Panel Discussion

Presented By

Todd Reinholt

Life Celebrants International; Licensed Funeral Director;

Certified Grief Recovery Specialist; Public Speaker

Kimba Griffith

Founding Partner of Last Hurrah Funerals;

Funeral Director; Ceremony Creator; Jazz Vocalist

William Turner Heath, Moderator

Co-Founder; Licensed Funeral Director;

EOL Doula; Co-Creative Director of

About the Panel

Consumers' preferences for funerals and memorialization are rapidly changing. Even before the pandemic, large demographic segments of American society were moving beyond traditional rites in search of offerings that break from the past. Panelists will discuss what happens when less emphasis is placed on religious elements, the growing importance of the Celebrant, and explore what happens to services when they push outside of the funeral homes or churches into non-traditional venues that blend seamlessly into hospitality realms. 


Course Objectives:

Reimagine modern funerals and memorials with concrete examples, inspiration, and discussion. 

Understand changing consumer relationships to organized religion and accordingly ceremony. 

Discuss the key role celebrants holds in diversification of funeral home offerings.

About the Presenters

Todd Reinholt is an incredibly experienced and well-respected licensed funeral director, funeral celebrant, and grief recovery specialist. With over a decade of experience and service to over 1,500 families, he is an expert in providing comfort during that most challenging of times - the loss of a loved one. His passion for the profession goes beyond his work as a funeral director and funeral celebrant, as he is also the founder of Life Celebrants International, an organization dedicated to training and certifying funeral celebrants across North America. Todd is also a professional speaker and educator, giving presentations at conferences and events about the funeral service profession. His presentations focus on maintaining a relevant future for funeral service and are geared towards all funeral service professionals, owners, association staff and boards of governance.

Kimba Griffith’s skill set is broad, having worked across a myriad of creative and deeply human pursuits, but one thing is clear. She is comfortable working in the spaces others fear to tread. Kimba is able to meet grieving families just as they are, and offers a safe container for people to create meaningful farewells, while also gently acknowledging feelings of loss, sadness and confusion. As an acclaimed jazz vocalist, birth attendant, life cycle celebrant and compassionate companion to the dying, Kimba is able to hold space in a quiet and composed manner, be assertive when advocating for families needs and desires, and brings her skills as a writer and ceremony creator to craft an authentic ritual, ceremony or ‘last hurrah’. 

Her work as a death doula, family assistance specialist for Kenyon International, and independent funeral director have given her a unique skill set to assist families navigate planning a funeral or farewell in a simple and authentic manner.

Kimba has led hundreds of funerals, send offs and ‘Last Hurrahs’ and each one has been uniquely different and authentic. From day-long events with many different rituals and ceremonies to forest funerals, at-home vigils, and even a viking metal band with a coffin on the pool table, Kimba has the capacity to help families meet their vision of the perfect send off.

Kimba has spoken at panels and been a keynote speaker on the topic of death literacy and family-led funerals for the Wheeler Centre, ABC radio, the Malt House Theatre, Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, Association of Independent Funeral Directors, and also runs her own funeral celebrant training program. The Last Hurrah also produces a free series of webinars around all sorts of topics to do with death and dying, and these have been accessed by hundreds of people.

William Heath completed his degree in Mortuary Science from Miami Dade College, where he graduated with highest honors. William brings an intriguing set of skills and life experiences to his work as a licensed funeral director, all of which make him uniquely qualified in guiding families through the painful experience of loss and in helping them transform grief through ceremony and spiritual expression.  

In past incarnations, William pursued work in the visual arts, both as an artist and curator connecting communities through his work at numerous museums and galleries. William’s early career took him from Gainesville, where he completed a B.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Florida (and where he opened his first gallery, The Art Store), to NYC, to Los Angeles, Austin, and internationally with the U.S. Consulate. Through his work as a curator and art director, William honed his communication skills, facilitating connections between artists, community and art collectors.  

Bridging the professional, spiritual and artistic is of utmost importance to William. To that end and in his current capacity as a funeral director, he has rounded out his education with an End-of-Life Doula Certificate through the University of Vermont. William is currently in training as an interfaith minister at the Alliance of Divine Love while he concurrently volunteers at Haven Hospice.

With the heart and empathy of an artist and his skills in and knowledge of funeral services, William thoughtfully guides clients toward rituals and ceremonies that speak to that which is meaningful and comforting to them and that reflects the religious and family traditions that they hold close. William is also an enthusiastic proponent of Green Burial and Natural Organic Reduction, and accordingly frequently speaks to groups about alternative dispositions options. William volunteers with Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery. 

Conference Schedule

Thursday, June 1, 2023

3:00pm - 4:00 pm ET

(1-hr CE Course)

Registration Links for 2023 IFDF Annual Conference & Trade Show Sponsored by Argent Trust