“Thank you for asking me to help,” Carly Dalton says to new clients.

This courtesy and humility explains why Carly is so good at her job.

Carly, the 92nd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is the owner of Greenhaven Funeral Services.

Carly’s role is to provide guidance and support to vulnerable individuals when they need to arrange a farewell for someone they love. It’s work which requires high levels of emotional intelligence.

One reason Carly is good at building rapport is because she’s always been a people person. Another reason is that, before joining the funeral industry, she’d spent 20 years in human resources interacting with colleagues from entry through to board level.

When Carly was made redundant from her HR job, she switched to the funeral industry in part because she thought it could use some fresh thinking. Rather than treating each funeral like a transaction, it could be designed as a beautiful, supported experience for each family.

Carly was recently profiled by ABC TV, for a story on how COVID-19 has affected the funeral industry. One change is the risk of handling bodies that may be infected with coronavirus.