Tribute: Remembering Judy Elder

'For Judy Elder, success at the top of the corporate world came a bit easier than it does for most people. A born leader, she had the kind of striking intellect, confidence and ambition that many others have to forge.' (Stephanie Cesca, Toronto Star)

‘For Judy Elder, success at the top of the corporate world came a bit easier than it does for most people. A born leader, she had the kind of striking intellect, confidence and ambition that many others have to forge.’ (Stephanie Cesca, Toronto Star)

The marketing community suffered a sad loss on Thursday, March 28, 2002, with the sudden death of Judy Elder, Chair of the Canadian Marketing Association’s Board of Directors.

General Manager of the consumer group at Microsoft Canada, Judy Elder was responsible for driving the evolution of Microsoft’s consumer offerings, including MSN.CA and the Home & Retail Division.

She was also a driving force at CMA.

One of the most energetic and dynamic people in the industry, Judy Elder made a significant impact on both the agency and corporate sides of the business during her career.

Everyone marvelled at her enthusiasm for her career. Judy defined the term ‘life balance,’ giving her time with equal generosity to all three, said a recent tribute by Microsoft.

In business, she brought an enormous amount of intelligence and passion to her work. Her deep understanding of marketing and the technology industry and her ability to define and clarify a vision will not be easily replaced.

Judy was widely respected for her ability to champion new challenges and to be successful with them. Most importantly, Judy created success by helping others succeed. She was a mentor and friend to almost all who crossed paths with her throughout her career.

In a recent article in the National Post, Judy said: ‘The only advice I’d ever give anybody is do something you’re passionate about, something that’s going to give you joy and pleasure and engage you for the rest of your life.’

Over the past two years, Judy Elder led CMA through an extremely intensive rebranding exercise that saw CMA introduce a new vision ‘to be the pre-eminent marketing association in Canada representing the integration and convergence of all marketing disciplines, channels and technologies.’ In fact, Judy long discussed the implications of business convergence and integration on the marketing industry, even before convergence and integration were an issue.

Judy then set about leading the Association restructuring to ensure its ability to achieve that vision. Thanks to Judy, CMA is well on its way in delivering its new vision to its members.

Being on the leading edge with Microsoft, Judy understood the importance of the Association’s initiatives. For example, she was a very strong supporter of the Association’s proactive position as it relates to the importance of protecting consumer privacy.

With government, media and members, she helped convey the message that marketers operating in today’s current business environment need to have the highest standards of ethics and respect for the customer to be successful.

We are all certainly better for having known and having been associated with Judy.

Our condolences go out to her husband, David Powell, and their two children, Peter and Jack.

John Gustavson is the president and CEO of the Canadian Marketing Association.