R.I.P Elizabeth Redding: Great Co-Founder, Business Partner and Friend

21 Aug

This is by far the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written.

Sunday night I received the tragic news that my good friend and longtime business partner Elizabeth Redding passed away victim of a very aggressive form of cancer. Elizabeth had been battling cancer for several months and her condition aggressively deteriorated over the last few weeks.

Elizabeth and I were introduced 4 years ago by our common friend and Tellago co-founder Joe Klug. Joe  insisted that Elizabeth would be a great fit for Tellago and planned a meeting while we both were in Seattle for a conference. To this day, I’ve wondered what in the world made Joe believe that we were going to connect.

  • I was in my late 20s, Elizabeth in her early 40s.
  • I was single (still am), never married (still haven’t) and didn’t have any kids (still don’t ). Elizabeth had a wonderful family including four incredible kids.
  • I wanted to build a company based on technical excellence and a hacker culture, Elizabeth was more interested on having the right team to deliver great solutions.
  • I was an immigrant with a really aggressive approach to business. Elizabeth embraced the kindness and patience typical of the Midwest.
  • I am a socially liberal, fiscally conservative person who tends to get frustrated to the ignorance of politicians of both parties. Elizabeth was as conservative as they come.

Somehow, despite our major differences, Elizabeth and I really connected. She helped to get Tellago off the ground and joined as our first president. For more than 3 years, we enjoyed and incredible ride. We managed to grow Tellago from nothing to an award winning elite services organization.

After things were rolling with Tellago, I approached Elizabeth with the crazy idea of starting a software company based on some ideas that I had been working on. I thought the idea was going to scare the heck out of her given that it required a significant investment on our side and it would likely distract my attention from Tellago. Knowing I was really passionate about it and had put a lot of hours working on the first prototypes, Elizabeth accepted without hesitation and that’s how Tellago Studios was born.

The rest is history, Elizabeth and I split our time between the two business with a firm believe that you can change enterprise IT via innovative software(Studios) and a creative service delivery model(Tellago). We went through the ups and down of any fast growing company; won a lot of projects/customers, lost some, managed to fight every week but always protected and cherished our friendship. It wasn’t uncommon for Elizabeth and I to end the week with a huge disagreement. However, she will still manage to call late Friday evening to see how I was doing after the craziness of the week.

When Elizabeth was diagnosed with cancer she approached her condition with the same eternal optimism she lived life. When her condition worsened mid this year, Elizabeth never ceased to put everyone’s interests ahead of hers and kept pushing really hard to accomplish our goals in both companies. I visited Elizabeth a few days ago expecting to find her really exhausted and unable to talk from the effects of the cancer. However, that day, after an exhausting physical therapy session, she still found the strength to talk to me for over two hours, attentively listening to the launch plans of our new Studios product,  listing all the things that needed to be accomplished and giving me an occasional hard time about a few things. Knowing that I was having a really intense week full of meetings and trips, Elizabeth called me that Friday night and managed to make me laugh making jokes about her medical condition.

Elizabeth was a great friend, my biggest supporter, one of my biggest critics and the person that always pushed me the hardest. She was the most optimistic person I’ve ever met. Elizabeth believed that pursuing a dream was more important than achieving financial success. She valued perseverance over talent, resiliency over skills, passion over business strategies and more than anything she believe in doing the right thing.

Last night, I found the strength to read the dozens of support emails sent by our employees, customers and other members of the Tellago family after knowing the news about Elizabeth. In those emails, there was a consistent adjective used to describe my friend: Good.

Elizabeth was good and always looked for the good side in people. She was good in the most difficult circumstances and inspired other to do the same. She remained good in a highly competitive industry known by its aggressive business practices. She was a great example that you can be good, do good and still win.

We will remember Elizabeth like the good person she was. I know we are going to miss her in Tellago. I know I am going to miss my friend, her advice, energy and even our fights ;).

Rest in peace my friend.

A great memory from last year, here is Elizabeth accepting Tellago’s American Business Award as the best software services company in the United States with less than a hundred employees.


Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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12 responses to “R.I.P Elizabeth Redding: Great Co-Founder, Business Partner and Friend

  1. Saravana Kumar

    August 21, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Hi Jesus, I’m extremely shocked to here this news. I met Elizabeth only 5 weeks ago at WPC 12 and spend about 30 mins discussing various things and how you guys are progressing. With that 30 mins chat I can tell, she is such a wonderful lady and willing to help wherever she can. She in-fact asked me to drop a line to introduce us to your customers. I’m currently on holidays and it is still in my to-do list to contact here after my holidays. I still can’t believe it.

    Convey my deepest condolence to her family and all of your colleagues.


  2. jesusmrv

    August 21, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Thanks Saravana

  3. Aaron Junod (@tranqy)

    August 21, 2012 at 10:14 am

    This is shocking and depressing news, I’m very sorry to hear this. Elizabeth was a great person will be greatly missed. So sad…..

  4. tomasrTomas Restrepo

    August 21, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Sorry to hear about Elizabeth, Jesus. Very sad. My condolences.

    • jesusmrv

      August 21, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Thanks Tomas. I trust MSFT is treating you well 😉

  5. Kurt Miller

    August 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Wonderful tribute, Jesus! You both were fortunate to find each other at just the right time! Blessings.

  6. kurtmiller01

    August 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Wonderful tribute, Jesus. You both were fortunate to find each other at just the right time. Blessings.

  7. Abdul Rafay

    August 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Sorry to hear about this news, may Elizabeth’s soul rest in peace. My condolences.

  8. Mary Quisenberry

    August 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Jesus, you captured so much of the essence of Elizabeth! I was blessed to know her as step-daughter, friend, and also colleague at several companies including her first start-up. I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting any Tellago folks and now see it is another loss for me. I hope her spirit and energy will stick around Tellago and you will continue ‘hearing’ her advice when you need it.

  9. John Havelka

    August 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Jesus…thank you for sharing such a wonderful tribute about Elizabeth. I am saddened at the passing of such a wonderful woman, who accomplished so much in such a short time. Please pass along my sincerest prayers to her family and friends

  10. Ray Grant

    August 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Elizabeth was a blessing to me and my career as a integration’s developer. She encouraged me and help me to build up the confidence to succeed in integrations. Wow! Elizabeth was super special and I am thankful to God for having her touch my life.

  11. Chibbler

    August 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Elizabeth in person, but I have corresponded with Elizabeth through email. Earlier this year, my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, and I shared the story at work with Elizabeth’s mother, Joan. Elizabeth contacted me and prepared me for what the treatments would be like, and to let me know it would be ok. I am forever grateful for her love and kindness and her strength to encourage another in her own time of need. She’s an angel!


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