Trade Organisations

NAFD reshapes senior team as part of five-year strategy

Jon Levett, CEO of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), has launched the process of reshaping the association’s team around the “challenges of the future”.

It comes as the NAFD is set to embark on a “bold” five-year strategy, which is designed to ensure that the association delivers “unrivalled” support, services and professional development for its members.

As part of the plan, it will look to build on its wide network of stakeholder relationships, champion a national conversation about funerals and bereavement and help to shape the policy environment in which the sector operates. 

Levett’s first move in the reshaping has been to create a senior team, responsible for internal and external leadership of the key areas of the NAFD’s strategy: member services and support, education, and policy and public affairs.  


Going forward, the senior team will drive the NAFD’s delivery across events, education, member benefits and support, policy development, communications, complaints, finance and government relations, amongst others. 

The senior team includes Rachel Bradburne, previously policy and public affairs manager, who becomes director of Policy and Public Affairs in recognition of the important leadership role she plays in campaigning, stakeholder and policy development. 

Meanwhile, Karen Van-Richardson, who is the architect of the association’s new Education Framework, expanded range of qualifications and new online CPD learning hub, becomes director of Education and Development.

The team is further strengthened by the appointment of a new commercial director, Elaine Walder, a trade association insider with a “track record” of delivering member services, systems improvement and commercial growth in both not-for-profit and private organisations, including the NHS Federation, the National Housing Federation, and the Confederation of British Industry.

Levett will continue to be supported by Wordsmith Communication, with Deborah Smith focusing on strategic activity and communication in England and Wales, while Nick Britten focuses on Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Levett said: “Since my arrival, three and a half years ago, the NAFD has essentially been on a war footing – dealing with the first CMA market investigation, and then the pandemic and the enforcement of the Funerals Market Order.

“We are a very small team of staff and it’s a great achievement of this team that the NAFD is often assumed to be much bigger than it actually is! However, for far too long, we’ve been working at full pelt to support members during a very difficult and uncertain period and, although the external affairs agenda for 2022 is already huge, it is time for us to return to a more proactive, strategic and measured way of working that will enable us to properly deliver on the challenges of the future for our members.” 

He added: “In Rachel, Karen and Elaine – and supported by Wordsmith as our strategic communication advisors  – I have a strong senior team who can lead and develop the Association’s daily activity; enabling me to devote more time to engaging with members, building partnerships with key stakeholders, shaping the long term policy agenda and developing new opportunities for the Association.”

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