136th VFDA Annual Convention

Marriott Oceanfront Virginia Beach

136th VFDA Annual Convention

The VFDA 2024 Annual Convention will be June 02-05, 2024 in Virginia Beach, VA at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront!

Start Date: Sunday, June 02, 2024

End Date: Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Important Links

Book your hotel TODAY.  Booking ends May 10, 2024.

  • While the booking window is open until May 10, 2024, the hotel reserves the right to sell rooms to anyone who books.  Therefore, booking as soon as possible, even before the booking deadline is the best way for you as a member of the VFDA to ensure availability of rooms at the hotel.
  • King bedded rooms are not guaranteed nor are Double Rooms.  First-come-first served is the hotels position on room types.
  • Included in rate:  Pool access, Pool Towels, Basic Wifi – Not included in rate:  Bikes, Beach Chairs, Metal Detectors, Upgraded Wifi, parking
  • VFDA Members who have a Marriott Bonvoy membership can receive additional amenities not included or covered in the $279 nightly rate.  Click to register.
  • A Family Room (i.e. Room for children during Tuesday night’s Gala) will be provided.  Families are encouraged to come to convention and bring your children to enjoy all that the area offers.



Please see below for the Convention Keynote Speakers

Amanda King

Title of program: Restorative Techniques to Keep That Casket Open

Bio: Amanda Marie Eilis King, CFSP, is an Embalmer and Funeral Director holding licensure in both MO & CT. She completed her embalming apprenticeship under Vernie R. Fountain, as well as extensive training in postmortem reconstructive work. In addition to her AAS in Mortuary Science from ACC in Colorado, Amanda holds a B.S. from Skidmore College for Studio Art and Biology, and a Post-Baccalaureate degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a member of the APFSP, the NFDA, the Association for Gravestone Studies, and the International End of Life Doula Association. Amanda approaches her work in this field from an artistic standpoint, and aside from specializing in and teaching reconstructive work, she often undertakes illustration and photography projects for publications within the mortuary field. 


Scott Lesnick

Title of program: The Future of The Funeral Home Workplace: How To Attract, Collaborate, and Retain A New Mix of Five Generations

Bio: Scott Lesnick is a Global Leadership Keynote Speaker. He presents powerful keynotes, training and interactive sessions at 40+ events a year and is an author. Also, Scott earned his CSP- Certified Speaking Professional from the National Speakers Association. Only 12% of speakers world-wide have this designation! Scott is also a Certified Virtual Presenter. Scott recently presented at TEDx. And, he’s run the equivalent of 2X around the planet. That’s 50,000 miles! In addition, Scott spent 24 award-winning sales and management years at Shaw Industries a Berkshire Hathaway Fortune 500 company. Scott served as the Dean of the Academy for Professional Speakers in 2016-17. He is a graduate of The University of Miami, Florida. His memoir, “Kidjacked – A Father’s Story” and his book Lifejacked: Life Lessons on Leadership were published to critical acclaim.

Learn more at www.scottlesnick.com


Damon de la Cruz

Title of program: Hot Dogs and Decomposition: Contextualizing Embalming Chemicals

Bio: Damon de la Cruz, PhD is a licensed Embalmer and Funeral Director. He is the Cypress College, Mortuary Science Program Director, the Director of Education for Frigid Fluids and has served on the American Board of Funeral Service Education Curriculum committee. He speaks nationally and internationally on a regular basis. His embalming career has spanned multiple states, countries, and continents. Damon has a bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and was awarded a Doctorate in Pathobiology from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California for his work on stem cell homeostasis.

Jeff Zealley

Title of Program: Ethical Issues and Funeral Service – Where to draw the line.

Bio: Jeff Zealley has been licensed in five states during his 30 years in funeral service, has been a member of DMORT since 2002, serves on the Utah Board of Funeral Service, and is currently an associate professor in the Salt Lake Community College Mortuary Science Program. He has an MBA and a Master in Bioethics. He is an avid tombstone tourist, loves to travel, study World War II history, and cook Cajun food. He and his wife have four children and five grandchildren.


Anna Adams
Brent Thomas