Put a Face to the Name: Meet Michelle Imam Bakhsh
Michelle Imam Bakhsh
Regional Sales Associate,
North West, USA
Tell us about your death care profession journey and what led you to join OpusXenta?
My journey in the profession started right after High School – I wasn't certain which direction I wanted to go with my studies. A local funeral director allowed me to job shadow him, and after that experience, I decided to pursue a degree in funeral service. I attended the Mortuary Program at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham and graduated in 2013. I went on to work for 2 privately owned funeral homes and 1 corporate funeral home. I learned a great deal from my time at each place, and I am forever grateful to the amazing funeral directors I was able to work alongside. However, I knew that I needed a change but that I still wanted to stay in the profession. I found OpusXenta by chance, and I knew that it would be the perfect match for my skills and experience. I joined the OX team in August, and I have enjoyed meeting funeral directors across my region! I enjoy having the opportunity to share my knowledge with other funeral directors and keeping current on trends in the industry.
What do you feel has attributed to your success in your career?
I believe that my success is mostly due to the people I have been so fortunate to be surrounded with. Having a strong support system that consists of family, friends and coworkers is essential, especially with the situations we face when working in the funeral profession.
If you could have dinner with someone living or dead, who would it be?
I'm a fan of the late C.S. Lewis – I'd love to have a chat with him and to discuss his works. I was first drawn to him when I read The Chronicles of Narnia. Later in a Death and Dying course I took in college we watched "Shadowlands", which is about his personal experience with loss and grief. It is a very powerful story, and relatable in one way or another to the experiences many of us have had.
What is your favourite book?
Too many to count! I enjoy reading non-fiction and am particularly interested in philosophy, religion, and Ancient Egypt.
Tell us about yourself outside of work?
I'm a small-town girl at heart – I grew up in a small town and relocated to another small town in Oregon! I love to travel, read, and ski at Hoodoo. I also enjoy cooking vegetarian dishes and finding new recipes!
What is on your bucket list?
My bucket list includes an Antarctic Cruise with my husband, a trip to India with my BFF, and a journey to Israel and Jordan.
What favorite keepsake did you offer the most to families as a funeral director?
I was particularly fond of thumbies keepsake jewelry, and its variations (handprints for babies, paw prints for pets, etc.). It makes an excellent gift, and it is something that many people find meaningful and comforting long after the funeral is over.
When I travel, I like to...
Be active and go exploring! While I love a good beach vacation, I find places rich in history particularly exciting. My favorite place to visit is Egypt – there you will find a unique mix of historical sites, museums, amazing food, and beautiful beaches!
Cats or dogs?
I like both! But I have 2 kitties, Nermal and Merlin.
Burial or Cremation?
Cremation, for sure! I appreciate the flexibility that cremation provides, as well as the fact that it is more environmentally friendly than traditional burial. I also find that having the ashes of my loved ones nearby provides a sense of peace and comfort.