The Collaborative Speakers Bureau
CEOLC's Members Reflect an Inclusive End-of-Life Community
Welcoming All, Educating as Many, Reaching the Dying & Their Loved Ones
We Share What We've Learned & Teach as We Continue to Learn
With tenacity of spirit, passionate courage and warm generosity, the Collaborative's members are committed to culturally changing the way we think, feel and talk about death. Rather than avoiding even the mention of what has become taboo in modern times, dying is the one thing we all have in common, so why not talk about it openly?
We are aware this is a big ask. Sweeping change doesn't happen quickly, but this is how it begins. We are working toward an evolution of the heart, and we understand that the seeds planted today may not bear fruit for generations, but we plant them anyway. And we show others how we did it, encouraging them to make it their own—continue this work in their own way.
The humble knowledge and hard-won wisdom earned through failures and successes, noble dreams and harsh reality-checks have positioned Collaborative members to share their experiences, teach the curious, reach the resistant, and call for a new way of living that respects, but does not fear, the inevitable. Death is the most natural part of life, and honoring it with dignity and grace can deeply enrich the way we live.
If you or your organization would like a Collaborative Member to speak at your event, teach a workshop or class, offer a presentation about the end-of-life work we do, please search our speakers by topic or contact us for a customized program.
Emily Nelson is the Founder of Be a Tree Cremation, one of the first water cremation (alkaline hydrolysis) facilities in Colorado. She offers expertise in eco-friendly cremation and entrepreneurship. Emily has presented for numerous executive groups in her previous role at Service Corporation International as well as educational forums within the death care space. With nearly 10 years of experience in marketing for the healthcare and death care industries, she can speak to consumer trends and reaching customers in an ever-evolving space.
“As a Pioneer in the alternative/ “green” funeral industry, Emily Nelson has been an asset to have as a guest speaker for our DeathWives students. Her bold work in bringing water cremation to Denver is refreshing and environmentally impactful.” -Erin Merelli, Founder of DeathWives
Cindy Kaufman offers audiences her wide range of skills as an educator, speaker, and international best-selling author of “The Mortal’s Guide to Dying Well – Practical Wisdom From an End of Life Doula.” Cindy’s end-of-life experiences working directly with patients and families spans more than 25 years, giving her a breadth and depth of knowledge that allows her to create presentations, seminars, webinars, and courses befitting audiences of any size or variety. Sample topics range from advance care planning, end-of-life doula care, how to plan for dying well, designing your final days and hours of life (vigil planning), home funerals and green burials, caring for the caregivers, and much more. Feedback comments on past events include, “exceedingly well-presented,” “amazing information” and “gracious and loving.” If you are needing a topic not listed above, Cindy can craft something special and unique for your organization or community group.
Ed Gazvoda is a maverick in the funeral industry. He founded both Sustainable Funeral® and Fireless Cremation™ to bring Alkaline Hydrolysis 2.0™ to the world. His tell all speaking style led to his winning the 2020 Denver Startup Week Pitch Competition’s $100,000 prize pool. Even mortals who fear the topic of death find themselves enjoying, yes even laughing, as he compares the ecological impact of various end-of-life options. Discover what you need to know about funerals, embalming, burial, cremation, composting, and alkaline hydrolysis.
Kerry Arquette is an experienced speaker well known for her ability to craft talks for a wide range of audiences. She has been featured at the National Mensa Convention, on national podcasts, and for students in high school through university. Kerry, a certified death doula, holds a M.S. in Criminology. She looks for opportunities to talk about the work of end-of-life midwives, and a process of systematically preparing for death emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Kerry also lectures on the history of dying and death in America—a history that culminated in the creation of death doulas.
As a criminologist, Kerry explores the subject of dying while incarcerated, and how death doulas might play a role in easing the passing for the convicted who die without family support. Finally, Kerry believes death—the elephant in the middle of the dining room table—should be talked about. She mediates organic group discussions on death and dying. Kerry’s talks have been called “compelling, informative, and life-changing.”
Past speaking engagements include: The Chicago Mensa Convention, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado Community College, Southwest Writer’s Convention, and more.
Vanessa Johnston has delivered many successful presentations for all types of organizations, from small church groups to the statewide Colorado Guardianship Association. As an End-of-Life Doula, her passion lies in describing the many facets of the modern Death-Positive Movement. This new approach to death and dying attempts to demystify the process that is the natural final milestone for everyone. She can clarify the toxic history of embalming and introduce audiences to recent advances in funeral practices, such as more ecological choices like green burials and aquamation. In addition, Vanessa can reveal the work of an EOL Doula and the importance of thoughtful Life Reviews and Vigil Plans. Finally, Vanessa is happy to share various resources for completing legal documents like Advance Directives and helpful tips for having difficult conversations with loved ones. Her enthusiasm comes from inspiring the public to live their best lives by embracing death.
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