Susan Sheridan-Austin, 51, passed away on Feb. 13, after a two-and-half year battle with brain cancer. Prior to her August 2004 diagnosis, she had risen to the post of general manager at Sage Accpac.She began her career in the accounting software industry in 1996, joining SBT Accounting Systems in Marin County, Calif., as vice president of marketing. Sheridan spent five years building a strong reputation with the SBT value-added reseller channel as a marketing wizard, and was invited to continue that role when Accpac (then a division of Computer Associates) acquired SBT in 2000. She had a quick wit. Interviewed about her role in marketing, she commented that she was a housewife by trade, but had been "was unable to find a job in [her] chosen profession." Sheridan was also innovative -- persuading Accpac to forego the usual multimedia openings for its last reseller conference in Quebec City. Instead, each day started with a string quartet playing music that ranged from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" in a classical style, to folk songs.
And Sheridan had a strong focus on brand building, saying that that underlying key to success in marketing was taking a scientific approach that could be taught to virtually anyone. After the SBT acquisition, she took a brief hiatus to visit Antarctica and climb Africa's Mount Kilmanjaro. Even during her own illness, she reached out to others, taking pets to visit nursing home residents, and she spent time learning Swedish, adding to an array of languages that she spoke.
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