ELLEN NEWMAN - Host/Organizer
Ellen Newman is a newly licensed funeral director, having just graduated with Honours from the Funeral Service Education program at Humber College.
For the past 20 years, life has found her hovering at the crossroads of people’s lives – first as a DONA/CAPPA certified doula and childbirth educator and then as a Unitarian Universalist Lay Chaplain. She also served as a full time Realtor for a while – which is another kind of transition. She is a graduate (2014) of the Contemplative End of Life Care program at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto, where she first learned of home funerals, home funeral guides and thanadoulas, and her passion for green and natural funeral and burial options was born. She found her work with grieving families as a Lay Chaplain the most rewarding to date and that led her to decide to begin a new career as a funeral director at the age of 50.
Ellen also has a keen interest in the concept of graceful aging, and is the founder and creator of the Welcome the Crone women’s retreat celebrating the age of power and wisdom. She has spoken on the topic of graceful aging to students of the Sociology Department at York University.
She is the host/facilitator of the Halton Hills Death Café, and serves on the Infant and Pregnancy Loss Committee of the Home Hospice Association. She continues to serve her congregation as the chair of the Lay Chaplaincy Committee. Discussions with fellow congregants at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, and a desire to showcase the talents of Unitarian Universalists Lay Chaplains in creating meaningful celebrations of life and memorials, led to the creation of the Natural Death Expo – a consumer information fair highlighting green, natural and family centered options in death and dying, of which Ellen is the Chair, and eco Cremation and Burial is a key participant.
In her spare time, you will find Ellen colouring in adult colouring books, doodling Zentangle (a new love), gardening, singing, cooking, dancing, and meditating, either at home or at the cottage in Parry Sound -where you might also find her in neon green kayak named Oya.
LISA GILLETT - Web Design & Promotion
Inspired by the funeral director who served her own family after the death of her father, Lisa began her journey into the death care industry at the age of 35. In June of 2013, she graduated, with Honours, from the Humber College Funeral Service Education Program and was also the proud recipient of the Central Ontario Funeral Director’s Association Award for outstanding achievement. She has been employed as a Class 1 Licensed Funeral Director in Ontario since July of 2013 with a proficiency for embalming and preparation of the deceased. Having spent time in both traditional and alternative funeral home settings, Lisa understands the value that both of these options provide to the families she serves. She believes strongly in individuality and personalization when planning to memorialize a loved one and always enjoys seeing the unique ideas that families have for this.
In her desire to understand every aspect of the processes that may take place after death, Lisa also became a Certified Crematorium Operator in July of 2014 after attending The Ontario Association of Cemetery and Funeral Professionals Crematorium Operators Certification & Training Program and completing her fifty cremation cases.
Lisa’s passion for death care continues to grow with each passing year and she looks forward being a part of the funeral industry of the future.
When not caring for the recently deceased, Lisa’s hobbies and interests include art, creating original jewellery pieces, writing horror fiction, web design, exotic pets and adding to her natural history collection.