In May of 2023, the NFDA hosted “Future’s Forum 23” where 70 attendees representing the death care space met to analyze, discuss, and strategize the future of our profession. This event was facilitated by Jim Austin and Paul Schoemaker, two gentlemen whose careers focus on strategic decision-making for businesses of all kinds.
On this episode, host, Gabe Schauf, is joined by Jim and Paul to discuss the Future’s Forum event and what the future of the funeral profession could look like. Is your firm only operating in the present or is it looking ahead? Do you know what you can do to innovate, where there are opportunities to grow, and how to begin moving forward? This episode is a great place to get started.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Future’s Forum event and access reports and resources from the conference.
Funding in part for this event was provided by a grant from the Funeral Service Foundation:
About Jim: Jim Austin, a former senior executive at Baxter Healthcare, combines business strategy and organizational development theory with extensive industry experience. As a Consultant at the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School, Jim tailors senior-level seminars for several leading entities including CUES, SIFMA, Boston Scientific, Coca-Cola, Lincoln Financial, GE, GlaxoSmithKline, and China Minsheng Banking Company.
Jim is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Brown University where he teaches Leadership & Marketing in the School of Professional Services.
In his consulting work, Jim developed scenarios of the future for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions; a new vision/priorities at RAND Health; and strategic priorities for the Board of Unity Medical Center, ND.
Jim has written two books (Transformative Planning; and Leading Strategic Change).
Jim holds a BA in Economics and Politics from Yale University. He was a Special Student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Urban Studies Department and received a joint Master of Public Affairs (MPA) and Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) from Princeton University.
About Paul: Paul Schoemaker is a pioneer in the field of decision sciences, among the first to combine the practical ideas of decision theory, behavioral economics, scenario planning, and risk management into a set of strategic decision-making tools for managers. He is co-author of a landmark book on the subject, Winning Decisions: Getting It Right the First Time. He also co-authored See Sooner. Act Faster, which focuses on anticipating threats, spotting opportunities, and how to act faster.
Paul is also an entrepreneur: he was founder and served as CEO as well as Chairman of Decision Strategies International, Inc. and co-founded Strategic Radar, Inc. In addition, he has been a dedicated educator, serving on the faculties at the University of Chicago, and the Wharton School. He was the Research Director of Wharton’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation and served as a board member at the Decision Education Foundation in Palo Alto, CA. In these capacities, he has given hundreds of lectures and executive seminars around the world.
As a leading expert in the fields of strategy, innovation, leadership and decision-making, Paul has advised more than 100 companies and non-profit organizations around the world. In addition to having written twelve books, his highly cited research appeared in such leading academic journals as Management Science, the Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Brain and Behavioral Sciences, and the Journal of Economic Literature. His numerous managerial articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, the California Management Review and in his 75 columns for Inc.com. In 2016, Paul sold his company Decision Strategies International, Inc. (DSI), which offered consulting and training in strategic management, executive development, and multi-media software, to Heidrick & Struggles.