We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Monica Torres a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Monica, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What do you think Corporate America gets wrong in your industry? Any stories or anecdotes that illustrate why this matters?
The one thing I feel that Corporate America gets wrong about my industry is that the people who work in death care like myself are creepy. There seems to be a stereotype that morticians are out to take advantage of grieving families. The reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most people in my industry are highly compassionate souls. It takes a great level of patience to work with grieving families. Compassion and sensitivity are needed to help guide families in the most darkest time of their life. Corporate America also doesn’t seem to understand the amount of work that morticians do to help the community. Like teachers, morticians are very underpaid and under appreciated. The work is back breaking and we often spend holidays working. Late nights and long days are common for morticians and because the general public does not understand what we really do they have a hard time finding value in the ministry of caring for the dead.
Monica, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Monica Torres is a licensed funeral director, embalmer, cremationist, desairologist and reconstructive specialist.
Internationally recognized as a leader in body preparations of deceased human remains, Monica works as a liaison and works closely with families, death care professionals and funeral homes to empower grieving families on the path toward healing with professional guidance and education. In 2018 Monica was recognized nationally as a leader in funeral service when she was featured on the cover of American Funeral Director Magazine as one of 2018’s young professionals helping to innovate the industry. Monica is known for her work on hard cases that are often described as “unviewable.” or “too far gone.” No matter the circumstances of the death Monica works to create a viewing experience for families at all odds.
Although her passion lies deep in the trenches of the prep room, Monica finds great pleasure in offering online or in-person embalming classes and public interest classes on embalming.
Monica completed her intensive training in post mortem reconstructive demi-surgery was completed at the Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills. Monica’s training in advanced embalming practices inspired her to help modernize antiquated embalming techniques for hair restoration and viewing. In 2015 Monica was honored by world-renowned embalmer, Vernie Fountain with the Distinguished Professional Service Medallion for the introduction of her post mortem hair implantation procedure, the No Wax Torres Technique. Following this award in 2015, Monica was also honored by the Arch Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Cemeteries and Funeral Homes for her commitment to serving families while acting as the responsible funeral director and general manager at Holy Cross Catholic Funeral Home and Cemetery with the St. Joseph of Arimathea Award.
Monica is passionate about all aspects of funeral service and is also certified through ICCFA University as a Crematory Operator, Crematory Administrator, and Cremation Arranger. Monica earned her bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management with Emphasis in Tourism and Event Planning from Arizona State University in 2001 and has been licensed with the California and Arizona State Boards of Cosmetology for over 20 years.
Over the past 10 years, Monica has gone on to produce other technical embalming courses in the U.S. and Canada and makes time to share her passion for the future of embalming with other professionals through online educational webinars and makes herself available for state associations to request her to speak and present modern embalming techniques and body preparation services that are designed to keep the focus on the body. All of the courses Monica teaches are focused on the art, science, and technical skill of embalming and preparation of the deceased human body for viewing. Monica lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her beloved Doberman Pinschers Fancy and Cash where she enjoys dog training/handling, city life, traveling to historical cemeteries, and meeting new friends.
How did you build your audience on social media?
I work hard every day to offer valuable content to my followers on social media. It took me years to figure out what platform to focus on. I do post and release content on all my platforms but once I figured out who my real tribe was it became easy. I am a firm believer in continuing education and I have found there are a host of incredible women on IG who teach classes on how to grow your social media and offer valuable content. I recommend taking an online courses for business owners looking to expand their social reach and attract loyal customers. Influencers and educators like @katcoroy or @jasminestar helped me immensely.
Another tactic I used to build my social media was collaborating with other death care influencers to help build my brand. Posting testimonials and engaging daily with followers are great tactics for building brand awareness and trust with your community.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
Reputation is everything when it comes to death care. Families trust me with their beloved and my funeral home clients trust me with their reputation. I work hard to show my clients that I have integrity and I pay special attention to details. Not only am I meticulous when it comes to how the deceased loved one looks but I also take great pride in how I run the back end of my business. I adhere to strict moral and ethical standards and do not compromise on what is right. I offer my clients much more than embalming service and educational courses. I strive to offer them the highest level of support and a seamless experience when they work with me. I use quality products and offer a high technical skill set that speaks for itself.
When I teach though my online educational platform I share my experiences, failures, insecurities and how to overcome adversity. I really try to make my online education programs more than just technical science based embalming seminars. The women embalmers or future morticians who invest in their learning through my educational programs learn how to fight fear, imposter syndrome, build inner confidence and they leave with real management skills.
- Website: www.nxtgenmortuarysupport.com
- Instagram: @coldhandshosts
- Facebook: NXT Generation Mortuary Support
- Linkedin: Monica Torres
- Twitter: @coldhandshosts
- Youtube: @coldhandshosts
Gina Di Sipio