TNF’s managing partners are Karen van Vuuren, Daniel Ziskin, PhD, and Seth Viddal.
Meet the Team
Karen van Vuuren, Chief Executive Officer, Education and Outreach Ambassador
Karen van Vuuren has been a natural death care educator and end-of-life transitions guide since 2001. In 2003, she founded the non-profit Boulder-based organization, Natural Transitions, and has been the executive director since then. As a transition guide for Natural Transitions, Karen has supported hundreds of families to participate in green and holistic home-based death care.
Karen has organized and taught workshops on natural death care in Colorado and in other venues across the US. She is considered a pioneer of green and holistic funeral care in the US. Karen is a founding member of the National Home Funeral Alliance and in 2008, organized the first national green burial conference in the US.
Since 2011, Karen has worked as the managing editor of Natural Transitions Magazine, a biannual publication, distributed nationally and internationally. The magazine focuses on holistic and green approaches to end of life. Here is a link to a recent issue.
In addition, Karen is an award-winning documentary-maker. Her work on end-of-life issues has screened at film festivals nationally, and at the annual clinical conferences of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Her two hospice documentaries on end-of-life are Dying Wish (a dying doctor’s decision to stop eating and drinking, 2008) and Go in Peace! (the caregiver’s role in healing the soul wounds of veterans with trauma, 2015).
Karen has also worked in independent and public radio as a reporter, and has produced radio documentaries. Her feature on wilderness rites of passage led by hospice physician and author, Dr. Scott Eberle, The Practice of Living and Dying, aired on National Public Radio.
Karen is a contributing non-Buddhist author to Andrew Holecek’s book, Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition.
Finally, Karen and her husband, Jamie (author and math missionary), own Jamie York Press Inc., a Waldorf-inspired math book publishing business. Karen is the business manager and public relations director.
The Natural Funeral is the culmination of her life’s work of revisioning end-of-life and funeral care. She is thrilled to be part of The Natural Funeral, Boulder county’s first holistic funeral home, and supports its values and ethics 100 percent.
Daniel Ziskin, PhD, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Finance and Technology
Daniel Ziskin is an Earth scientist, working for NASA, NOAA and currently NCAR. Although his professional specialty is data management of satellite observations, his life-long passion has been as an environmentalist. His expertise makes him a valuable member of The Natural Funeral team. Daniel is responsible for finance and technology.
Daniel has channeled his interest in the environment into service on the boards of many environmental, animal welfare and civic nonprofits. Currently he sits on these boards:
In addition to his scientific and nonprofit work, Daniel has been an entrepreneur. He owns and operates a computer support business called Escape Goat Data.
“I feel that I am at my best when I’m either helping people in their moment of need or in service to Mother Earth. That’s when I feel most satisfied with my life. At The Natural Funeral I often am doing both at the same time.”
Seth Viddal, Director of Solutions, Marketing and Growth Strategies
Seth started with The Natural Funeral as an intern as part of his studies at Naropa University. He added so much talent, enthusiasm, and over-all problem solving to so many aspects of the business that we wanted to make him our partner. Our clients tend to embrace his integrity and willingness to be present during their most difficult moments. His greatest gift is his uncanny ability to make each situation better than how it was before he arrived.
Seth had a diverse path before he found The Natural Funeral including, military service, information technology, a role as clergy, and co-owner of a commercial construction business.
“I have never experienced a more authentic connection with a stranger than when standing beside them to care for a loved one. My favorite part of being a holistic funeral director is recognizing and serving every family as uniquely as the beloved life they are celebrating. And, I love empowering our clients – whether they are looking for in-home death care, a multi-day vigil, water cremation, burial on private land, or a more conventional celebration of faith through ritual or ceremony.”
Madi Larson, Holistic Funeral Coordinator
Madi joined The Natural Funeral team in January after moving to Colorado from Montana. She is passionate about empowering families with meaningful and environmentally friendly options surrounding death. She brings enthusiasm, compassion, and a gift for organizational management to the table. In addition to her work at The Natural Funeral, Madi is in the process of completing a degree in Mortuary Science, and is excited to use her degree to be a catalyst for change in the funeral industry.
Rev. Carolyn Carpenter, MSC, LRC, Celebrant and Support Specialist
For the past 30 years Carolyn has blended her careers as an Interfaith Minister, Ceremony Celebrant, Spiritual Counselor, Hospice Chaplain, Nutritional Psychotherapist, Relationship Coach, Pet Loss Counselor, Speaker and Seminar Leader. She offers holistic and spiritual programs, guidance and support for individuals, couples, families and organizations in various stages of personal, health, relationship and spiritual growth. You can find out more about her at her webpage.
Vicki Viddal, Human Resources and Family Support Specialist
Vicki brings her experience as mother, teacher, manager and friend to The Natural Funeral. She lets her heart lead when she serves families. When she isn’t working with The Natural Funeral, Vicki raises goats and chickens, tends her beautiful garden, and volunteers at her favorite local farms and schools. She is the proud mother of four spectacularly diverse children – Brittney, Jeremy, Ragen and Shepherd.