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David Kessler

David Kessler is one of the world’s foremost experts on death and grief. He is the author of six books, including the new bestselling book, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. He coauthored two books with Elisabeth Kubler Ross. His first book, The Needs of The Dying is often the #1 hospice book in the USA and received praise from Saint (Mother) Teresa. David’s personal experience as a child witnessing a mass shooting while his mother was dying in a hospital inspired him to begin his journey. David has taught physicians, nurses, counselors, police, and first responders about the end of life, trauma, and grief. However, despite his vast knowledge on grief, his life was turned upside down by the sudden death of his twenty-one-year-old son. It moved him to write his newest book, Finding Meaning. He is the founder of which has over five million visits yearly from 167 countries.

Shari O’Loughlin

Shari O’Loughlin is Chief Executive Officer for The Compassionate Friends (TCF). Shari came to know TCF’s life-saving support 8 years ago after the sudden death of her beloved 14-year-old son, Connor. Prior to joining TCF, she was the Executive Director of the Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico and spent over 25 years in executive leadership roles within the business and entrepreneurial sectors. Shari published the book, Life from the Ashes; Finding Signs of Hope After Loss and is both a bereaved parent and a bereaved sibling from her youth. She has an MBA and is a certified Leadership Coach and Business Consultant. She is a speaker on loss, grief, and the healing journey and has been a national workshop presenter for TCF. Shari was named a Forbes Western Women Business Leader, a New Mexico Woman of Influence award recipient, and is a proud mom of two loving, young adult daughters.

David Wood

David E. Wood is a corporate trial lawyer and devoted husband, father and grandfather. After the shattering loss of his son Galen at age 29, he found there were few sources of support for bereaved parents in recovery, and that the 12-step model can be inadequate to their needs. David now writes and speaks to groups about the struggles of parents walking through the agony of out-of-order death, while coping with addiction in their families and in their own lives. David offers hope to families that no matter how hard it gets, there are tools to help them stay sober, as well as a community of people who care. They are not alone. Recently, David presented at The Compassionate Friends annual conference For Parents in Recovery: Staying Sober After Losing a Child.


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