Stephanie Knotts, a licensed funeral director with Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium, was selected by the National Funeral Directors Association to participate in the Meet the Mentors program in March, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia.
Stephanie was one of 50 funeral professionals aged 40 or younger or new to the profession (first licensed within the last five years) selected to participate in Meet the Mentors. It’s an annual opportunity to meet, learn from and talk with innovative and successful funeral professionals. It is also a great chance to network and gain insights with others in the industry.
“It was an amazing opportunity to gain knowledge from these well-respected funeral professionals,” Knotts said.
The mentors who attended and presented at the event included NFDA president, Charles Bowman; NFDA CEO, Christine Pepper; Rosemarie Forsberg, CFSP, owner and operator of Heritage Funeral Home and Tisdale Funeral Home in Saskatchewan, Canada; Mark Krause, president of Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Services in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area; and Jeff Smith, owner of Smith Family Funeral Home, with several locations in the Little Rock, Arkansas area.
A grant provided to the foundation covered attendees’ registration fees, lodging and select meals. Over the course of the three-day program, the mentors and mentees had informal opportunities to get to know and learn from each other, such as group dinners and bowling. The program ended with group presentations by the mentees for the mentors.
“Overall, it was an excellent program, and I really gained some wonderful insight that I will share with my fellow funeral directors at Phaneuf. It was also a nice opportunity to experience the warmer weather in the middle of a long New Hampshire winter – and what better a place for a funeral director to enjoy it than a walk through Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery?” Knotts said.
Stephanie embodies the purpose-driven tradition of excellent customer care at Phaneuf, said Buddy Phaneuf, President of Phaneuf.
“I admire her passion for helping families facing a difficult time, and her ability to guide and comfort people in their time of need is unmatched,” Buddy added.
Nearly 600 young professionals and emerging leaders in the funeral industry have participated in the Meet the Mentors program, which underscores the foundation’s mission to support funeral service by building meaningful relationships with the families and communities it serves. The program is part of the Foundation ‘45 Awards, which are designed to transform the careers of funeral service professionals through scholarships, awards, resources and mission-focused outreach.
Stephanie is a first-generation funeral director, and graduate of the New England Institute at Mount Ida College. She has been part of the Phaneuf family since 2016, the same year she moved to Manchester, New Hampshire. Stephanie loves taking advantage of New England’s gorgeous landscapes, and during her free time, she is often hiking, skiing or camping. Stephanie is also an avid supporter of the community arts.