International Grief Institute was founded in 2017, and is dedicated to investing in community resilience by helping funeral professionals, organizations and individuals develop and execute programs and services that have a positive impact on their community and those who lose someone they love.
LYNDA CHELDELIN FELL
Lynda Cheldelin Fell is founding partner of the International Grief Institute, and international bestselling author of over 35 books including the award winning Grief Diaries series. With her background as a firefighter/EMT, Lynda specializes in trauma, grief, compassion fatigue, and holds a national certification in critical incident stress management. A popular keynote speaker and educator, she is a member of the continuing education faculty at Whatcom Community College where she teaches classes on resilience, managing grief in the workplace, and compassion fatigue. To research grief’s impact on society, she has interviewed people around the world including societal figures such as Martin Luther King’s daughter, and Heaven is For Real’s Pastor Todd Burpo. She has earned six national literary awards and five national advocacy award nominations for her work.
Linda Findlay has worked with grieving families for over 30 years. After losing her daughter in 1989, she started a resource and referral service for grieving families. Soon after she began providing personalized aftercare solutions for hundreds of funeral homes across the nation. Linda is now an aftercare specialist who has created, facilitated, and coordinated hundreds of workshops, services, and support groups. A Christian lay counselor, Linda’s highest honor is to enter people’s lives and help make a difference. To date, Lin has supported over 158,000 people on behalf of funeral homes across North America.
When Herb Knoll lost his wife Michelle to pancreatic cancer in 2008, he resigned his position as a bank executive and dedicated his life to serving as an advocate for widowers and those who love them. In 2014, he founded the Widowers Support Network. As an advocate and instructor, his teachings are life altering and suited for both widowed men and women. After nine years of research, Herb released his breakout book, The Widower’s Journey in 2017. Playwright Neal Radice was so moved by Knoll’s work, he was inspired to write the new play, “I’m Fine” which was awarded the Emmanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play in 2017.
REV. ROLAND H. JOHNSON III
Rev. Johnson is an ordained minister and a retired sociology professor with a substantial background in academia, sociology and religious publications. He is past head of Sociology at Blinn College in Texas, and was a member of the teaching faculty at Texas A&M University and Texas State University. Now Honorary Chaplain of the Galveston Police Department, he served as both a crime victim liaison and as Head Chaplain for a number of years. Johnson holds multiple certifications and memberships including the American Sociological Association and International Conference of Police Chaplains.
With over 26 years as a business professional, Deana innovative and critical thinking skills provided a solid foundation for her experience in corporate training, clinical research and international project management. After her only two children died in a car accident in 2011, Deana focused her passion on the bereavement field. Certified in peer grief support, Deana’s extensive background is augmented by her interest in psychology and organizational behavior. She is an ordained minister, author, and national grief educator.
Nancy Weil is a leading authority on the relationship between humor and grief, and is known for her energetic, content-rich programs. Nancy is the founder of The Laugh Academy and serves are Director of Grief Support for Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, FL. She is also the Member Resource Director for the International Order of the Golden Rule. She has certifications as a Grief Management Specialist, Grief Services Provider, Funeral Celebrant and Laughter Leader. She is the author of the book If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might.