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Susie Steiner – Leaving a (Hopefully) Indelible Mark

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StartupBus Miami 2011 Crew

The Tampa contingent of StartupBus FL 2011 (Miami Bus)

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece

– John Ruskin

Susie Steiner was a original member of the StartupBus Florida family, but so, so, so much more. She passed away last week and it has taken some time to get my thoughts together enough to write a note here.  I wasn’t sure if, when, or where I would ever post this, to be honest. I decided to post it here out of respect for what Susie meant to our whole community.

Most of us knew her as a friend, a mentor, a sponsor, an advocate.  While that is all true, it doesn’t come close to describing Susie.  Those are the kind of platitudes that aren’t befitting one of the most complex people I have ever met.

Compatriot, leader, partner-in-crime, true believer, damn-can-I-be-you, fuck-all-this-work-let’s-do-a-margarita-lunch conspirator… Maybe that’s closer to how I knew her, but it still falls short.  I could tell you about all her work with StartupBus, Startup Weekend, Up Global, her half dozen (or more) active startups, how many “people to watch” lists featured her, and how she did all that while running a successful transportation and logistics company.  While that is amazing, it still doesn’t capture the essence of how impressive Susie was as a human.

Susie would literally run across the world if the cause was noble. She was the most complex, interesting, and fun to watch person I have ever met. Fascinating. that’s probably the right word.

How can someone who bestows so much awesome – so much amazingness – so much grace-mixed-with-complexity… to everything that she touches be gone?  Why is the world allowed to be so “m’eh” mixed with bullshit if she is allowed to be taken from us… It’s not fair. It’s not right. She made this place better. For literally everyone.

Some people dedicate themselves to standing up for kids that don’t have a voice. Some people connect the lines to help build a tech ecosystem. Some people have the balls to build businesses. Some people have the soft touch to get EVERYONE to jump on board their cause. Susie was lucky enough to be all those people together and so much more.  She commanded respect without demanding it.  I’m still not close to describing the entirety of who she was. But for those lucky enough to have been touched by her, there is no replacement.

I know how empty things feel around Tampa right now – so it’s not just me that has a place Susie occupied in their heart – a place that feels a bit empty, raw, and tender.  She had so many different facets to her life, certainly people all over world feel the same way. I only had the privilege to call Susie my friend for the last four years or so – I can’t imagine how her family and those that knew her for forever must be hurting… I wish I could hug you all.

To remember Susie and serve her memory well is to remember the ways she impacted my life and certainly so many others.  For me, I can distill much of that down to this:

Action is way more impressive than talking
Doing good is better than doing well.  

That’s what Susie exemplified in word and deeds.  Now that I think about it, it’s time I focus on making things better, not just doing more work.  I hope anyone and everyone who knew Susie will do the same.  Amazing things will happen. You might not change the world in a day, but you can change someone’s life by imparting those simple lessons she demonstrated to us.

Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level.

– Alexander Haig

We all miss the hell out of you already, Susie.  There will never be another, that’s for certain.

Only a great friend will take pictures with you when you are a grown ass man with a ridiculous mohawk

Only a great friend will take pictures with you when you are a grown ass man with a ridiculous mohawk

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