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Panel: Memorialization in the 21st Century

Panel: Memorialization in the 21st Century
How do we memorialize in the digital era? Join thought leaders from IDEO, Keeper, Better Place Forests, and Facebook in a lively panel discussion.

Panelists will share modern approaches to practices as old as civilization: remembering those we have loved and lost. Discussion will cover digital and physical memorials, the challenges and opportunities panelists face as leaders in this space, and evolutions in the way we memorialize.

Facilitator and Panelist Bios:

Sean Mulholland | Design + Team Lead, IDEO

Sean is fascinated by human computer interaction and how technology affects human to human interaction. He believes the internet is not just a conduit, but also a medium for stories, ideas, and culture. Despite hacking hardware and software since childhood he went to art school, and has spent the past 17 years in the design+technology space in San Francisco, currently working as a UX Design & Team Lead @ IDEO. As the techie of the family, Sean has played the role of digital archivist for several loved ones over the years, which kindled his interest in the area of digital memory preservation, ethics, and legacy.

Mandy Benoualid | Co-Founder and CEO, Keeper

Mandy Benoualid is the co-founder and CEO of Keeper. Since 2013, Mandy has been working with families and death care professionals developing Keeper - a collaborative online memorial platform - where friends and family can remember and celebrate those who are dearly missed with stories, tribute messages, photos, videos, milestones, and more. Thousands of families, along with cemeteries and funeral homes across North America are using Keeper’s platform to share their stories. This year Mandy worked with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration to launch the Veterans Legacy Memorial project, memorializing 3.7 Million American Veterans. Mandy is also the Editor of the death positive media site,, interviews death professionals for the web series #TalkDeath, and regularly speaks at funeral and cemetery conferences.

Sandy Gibson | Chief Executive Officer, Better Place Forests

When Sandy was a young boy, he lost his father to a stroke and his mother to cancer. For most of his life, his parents have been memories to him. After years of visiting their graves in a dreary Toronto cemetery, Sandy began to imagine what a better place to remember his parents might look like. In 2015, he founded Better Place Forests with his two best friends to help families write better endings to their stories.

Sandy graduated from Princeton University in 2006 with an A.B. in History. A lifelong entrepreneur, he headed several companies and worked in finance and software for over 10 years before starting Better Place Forests.

Vanessa Callison-Burch | User Research and Product Strategy, Facebook

Vanessa Callison-Burch is part of the team responsible for how Facebook cares for the accounts of people who have passed away. In addition to working at Facebook, she is currently completing Upaya Zen Center's Buddhist chaplaincy training program with a focus on end-of-life care. She has been involved in hospice care for more than 20 years, most recently as a volunteer with Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.

Photo by Ari He on Unsplash


Design+Tech Talk, Panel, & Conversation