Who to Meet and Where to Eat at the ICCFA Convention This Week

Posted by Kim Stacey

Professional Business Woman and Man Sitting at AirportAre you doing your laundry, making lists of last minute things you need to buy or do, and packing your bags—destination, Tampa, Florida? I know a few folks here at FrontRunner who are busy doing exactly that; all in preparation to attend the 2013 ICCFA Convention and Expo. I know they are going to be really busy on the Expo floor, but I also know “my” team—they are going to make the time to enjoy some of the fine dining available there!

Getting Acquainted with Tampa…Long Distance

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I love history; the arcane facts, as well as the heart-pounding stories of bravery, sacrifice; cowardice, and commonalities. Whenever I am planning a trip, I do my best to learn what I can about the depth and breadth of life in the cities I am to visit. Last year, it was my first trip to Charlotte, North Carolina—for the annual NFDA event—and once again, I did my level best to acquaint myself with its rich history.

Even though I’m not boarding a plane bound for the Tampa International Airport, I found my natural curiosity hard at work–again. Don’t worry; I’m not going to bore you with what I learned. But here are two sites of value to those of you wondering about the origin of the city’s name (it is believed to mean “sticks of fire” in the language of the Calusa, a Native American tribe that once lived south of the area, but there is debate on the subject), or the role the city played during the U.S. Civil War. (Here’s something you may have learned in school, but have forgotten: Confederate soldiers were able to consistently run the Union blockade of Tampa Bay during that conflict, resulting in the rather disappointing 1862 Battle of Tampa.) Now, if you curious about why the battle was disappointing for both sides, check out one, or all of these websites:

Back to Haute Cuisine

Google Map of Restaurants Near Tampa Convention Center

Here’s another moment when the power of the Internet hits me, full-force; right between the eyes. My search for “history of Tampa” yielded over 58 million “hits”, and that didn’t surprise me (after all, history is deep, and there can be many differing interpretations). But restaurants? I didn’t see that as a subject with almost infinite scope. But just Google “best restaurants in Tampa” and you’ll see what I mean: over 28 million search results—and 3,900 of those were in the ‘local search’ category. Seems like “fine dining” will be well within their reach!

Are You a Foodie, Too?

Place Setting in Fine Restaurant If so, I bet you’re going to love your stay. After the workshops, sessions, and round tables are done; and you’ve walked the aisles of the Expo floor, you’ll be able to step outside the Tampa Convention Center and stroll (the weather should be divine, especially for those of you still facing winter’s chill, even though it’s spring) to any one of a dozen restaurants, specializing in a veritable laundry list of cuisines: Asian, American, Deli, BBQ, Mexican, Mediterranean, French, Greek, Cuban, Japanese; and of course, Southern. Whether you want sushi, or lasagna; steak, or lobster—I think you’ll be happy. Here are some wonderful websites to help you make what might be a difficult decision:

The Tampa Convention Center website also has information, and restaurant listings explorer tool, to help make your stay in Tampa the best it can be. Speaking of the best…

“If Wishes Were Horses…”

describe the imageIf I were going, I’d attend the Keynote presentation on April 11th for sure—how about you? That’s when Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The New York Times best sellers The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Black Book of Connections, and The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude (just to name a very few—check him out on Amazon) will be sharing his views on “shifting the emotion from death to life in your sales process and in your business”. The ICCFA webpage dedicated to the event also this to say: “In his trademark brutally honest style, Gitomer will challenge you and your staff to take your service and sales to the next level.” Sounds fascinating, as do many of the other presentations.

describe the imageLike Ryan Thogmartin’s Social Media May be Meaningless, scheduled for Saturday, April 13th, at 11:00 a.m. Ryan  is founder and chief executive officer of DISRUPT Media Group LLC, and many of you know him from Connecting Directors LLC. Ryan’s going to answer two really pivotal questions:

  • Are your customers using social media?
  • Do they really want to talk about death?

He’ll also “explain why social media, like almost any plan in life, is completely worthless without the right foundation and strategy.” And I’d love to get access to his give-aways: the presentation slide deck, a guide to getting started with social media, and a goals worksheet that will walk you through the process of setting social media goals, which is essential to achieving success. Sounds like a winning presentation to me. Good luck, Ryan!


If you’re attending the ICCFA event this week, be sure to stop by Matthews International, Booth 241, to spend some time with Kevin or Ashley Montroy, Jon Clare, Will Wright, of FrontRunner Professional or John Garrett, of ObitsforLife. And let us know what impressed you most about the city, the restaurants…and of course, the convention itself. I, for one, can’t wait to “read all about it”!

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About Kim Stacey

Kim Stacey is an anthropologist, licensed funeral director, and certified grief counselor. She has been writing trade journal articles, as well as generic and custom website content, for funeral service professionals since 2005. Not only does Kim enjoy her work, she is deeply appreciative of the intellectual challenges each day brings.

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