Jan 10, 2022
Our new ASD Spotlight series introduces you to the dedicated Team ASD superstars you have been speaking with over the phone for the years to learn about the real people behind the voices you hear every day. In this post, we profile four of our long-time employees and ask them a few questions about their experiences working for our company.
Ann Marie Callahan
Joined ASD: October 2002
Positions Held: Senior Call Specialist
What have you gained or learned since working at ASD?: I have learned that everyone grieves in their own way. No matter how much time has passed. I try to give them the love, and compassion they need.
What are some of your hobbies, interests and passions outside of ASD? I love scrapbooking and reading. I made a scrapbook for each of my children and am still working on them.
What advice would you give to a new trainee at ASD? Stay calm. A lot of times we are the first person that the family will be speaking with. The compassion, love and understanding we can give these families even just over the phone is so important.
Do you have a favorite funeral director you enjoy talking with? What do you like about him/her? I love Sherrill Kirk from Kirk Funeral Homes [in Marion, AL]. He is always so nice to speak with.
Joined ASD: March 2017
Positions Held: Call Specialist & Training Specialist
What are some of your hobbies, interests and passions outside of ASD? Outside of ASD, I do portrait and event photography. I also am into music and technology. I’m all about electronics and gadgets and am taking courses to get an IT certification.
What advice would you give to a new trainee at ASD? Something I tell all my trainees is not to get bogged down thinking about everything you can or cannot say using proper call control. I remind them on the other end of the call is another human person and to acknowledge them accordingly. I would like to think I’m not training current trainees, but future trainers.
What is a fun fact about you other people might not know? I wanted to be a musician growing up. I learned to play the flute when I was 9. I was part of the marching band from middle school to college and my original major was for Music Performance.
What is your motto or personal mantra? “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”-WILLIAM JAMES.
Joined ASD: June 2018
Job Titles Held: Bilingual Call Specialist & Training Specialist
What have you gained or learned since working at ASD? I have gained more knowledge of the funeral industry and have a clearer picture of what goes on behind the scenes. There is a lot involved in caring for someone’s loved one. A lot of respect should be given to those who care for someone’s loved one until they arrive to their final resting place. Nice to know that I play a small part in that by taking that first call.
What advice would you give to a new trainee at ASD? I would advise a new trainee to listen carefully to the callers. If you are not clear on what the caller needs, do not be afraid to ask a few questions to clarify. It takes time to feel comfortable with the fast-paced call volume. So, be patient with yourself and the callers. Brief message that are to the point are best. Type as they talk so you won’t forget what they said. Above all, be kind to all callers no matter what.
What’s a fun fact about you other people might not know? A fun fact about me is I have an identical twin sister. So when a personal day is not granted, she may or may not be filling in for me. (lol – wink)
What’s your motto or personal mantra: It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.
Joined ASD: October 2017
Job Titles Held: Call Specialist & Training Specialist
What have you gained or learned since working at ASD?: I’ve gained a greater knowledge and also a greater appreciation of the funeral profession.
What are some of your hobbies, interests and passions outside of ASD? I enjoy any and all outdoor activities, mainly hiking and snowboarding. I’m also a collector of antique/modern firearms.
What advice would you give to a new trainee at ASD? Just do what comes naturally; because helping people comes natural.
What is your favorite memory from a Team ASD event in the past? My favorite memory was of the first Tough Mudder run I did with ASD. It was a grueling eight-hour journey through 10 miles of mud, but at the end we all enjoyed a delicious Philly cheesesteak.
What is your motto or personal mantra? When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Be sure to check back next month for more Team ASD Staff Spotlights to help you get to know the dedicated individuals answering calls for your funeral home.
About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com