Remembering Julie Giera

Yesterday we received the very sad news that our great friend and wonderful colleague Julie Giera passed away earlier this week. Although we were well aware of the fact that Julie had been battling breast cancer for several years, I still find it difficult to comprehend the news – in particular since we had lost another great analyst colleague – Andrew Parker – only a few months earlier.

Julie was one of the great stars and a leading voice of Giga Information Group – the analyst firm later to be acquired by Forrester in 2003. She was instrumental in establishing and extending the Giga brand and influence across a wide community of different stakeholders, including many CIOs as well as the senior executives of many tech vendors. She later continued that fame with Forrester where she quickly became a thought leader around the broader IT services market change issues. Julie was one of the founding members of the vendor strategy research team and many of the key reports that she authored over the last years are still relevant today and represent key highlights of our team’s research portfolio. A lot of her great research can still be viewed and downloaded online, so check out the following:

Adaptive Sourcing: Outsourcing's New Paradigm (together with Andrew Parker)

Are Barbarians At The Gates Of Outsourcing?

Services Providers: Are You Ready For The New IT Ecosystem?

Her passion for helping clients even in the most difficult scenarios clearly went above and beyond anything that could be expected from an analyst. For example, she would get on an airplane from the US to Europe within just a few hours after a desperate salesperson calling her in order to assist a UK-based customer in a most difficult outsourcing contract negotiation. She was referred to as the “top advisor” by many top executives within the IT services industry. Her influence and guidance clearly extended that of her peers and framed many of the portfolio structures and go-to-market strategies of the leading market players.

But most important for me was the mentorship and guidance she offered to her younger colleagues. Over ten years ago – I was still in the early stages of my own analyst career – she took me under her wings and I can say today that this was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. With her intellectual background, her analytical capacity, and the strong dedication she always showed for her work and her clients, she was a shining example and an inspiration for junior folks like me. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have been able to work with her and I will deeply miss her.

Here is how other Forresterites remember Julie...

  • From George Colony: “When I was negotiating the merger of Giga and Forrester, Bob Weiler, Giga’s CEO would often tell me: ‘George, there are many excellent people at Giga, and you should make sure they all stick around. And among the greats is Julie Giera – she will help you and the clients of Forrester in many, many ways. Give her a call right now and I guarantee she’ll help you make this merger a success.’ I did, and she did.”
  • From Gene Laganza: “At IT Forum (which was called “Gigaworld” back in the day) we published (internally) counts of who did the most one-on-ones. Julie ALWAYS had the most and typically had about twice as many as the next highest analyst. I don’t think anyone ever figured out how she managed to fit so many in. Julie’s performance was always over the top. If you looked at her schedule, it was always an impossible pile of commitments. But any time I spoke to a client who had dealt with Julie they always said she was the pleasantest, most intelligent and knowledgeable analyst they had spoken to in recent memory.”
  • From Mike Gilpin: “I was Julie’s manager for a time, and at Giga we had document delivery goals that were set on an annual basis, rather than quarterly. So I was growing increasingly concerned one year (I think it might have been 2002) when Julie was way behind on her delivery against the goal, which was to deliver twelve Planning Assumptions – similar to today’s “long docs” – by year end. As of September she had only delivered four, so far. Julie assured me “not to worry,” and so I was somewhat amazed when, sure enough, eight Planning Assumptions rolled in, in December. Quite an editing workload for me, and I went into that effort somewhat worried that the docs might not be up to Julie’s usual standards. But no! They were all excellent. They all represented a significant body of research work and some strong thought leadership. Wow.”
  • From Connie Moore: “Julie was an amazing trooper -- always, always, always putting the client first. I remember one GigaWorld Europe (now IT Forum) where Julie persevered and overcame multiple obstacles – some combination of events like a migraine, a stolen/lost passport, and lost luggage -- to arrive as scheduled, go onstage, look marvelous and deliver an awesome presentation that wowed the audience. That was Julie to a T.”
  • From Rhonda Peek: “I felt the need to call Larry Bissinger at EDS, so I did today. He said that Julie was a trusted advisor. The C-Suite of EDS always had an open door for Julie. The relationship was unlike any other from any analyst firm. They thought of Julie as a friend and a role model. Julie was my friend also. She would do things for my clients, and personally for me if I needed something. Julie helped me succeed with my clients. She opened doors for me that I could not have done on my own. She was there to listen to my business concerns and personal issues.”

If you would like to share your own memories or thoughts of Julie, please comment.


Remembering Julie Giera

I was an analyst colleague of Julie's, but our research areas didn't allow for much in the way of collaboration, and I know my friends from Giga and Forrester will have much to say there. I'll just speak of her personal qualities, mainly her throaty laugh, that fierce intelligence, and if you'll forgive me for saying so, the tough sexiness of a woman of the world, someone who had grappled with life, lived through adversity, birthed and raised unruly sons. We both loved the early music of Diana Krall, and those records -- by another beautiful, talented, smoky-voiced performer -- will always remind me of her. An inordinately accomplished professional, there is no doubt, but I will remember her most as a formidable woman.

I miss you, I miss you, I miss you ...

Best friends are often the ones who leave as first.
What a wonderfully sad, but sadly wonderful world ...

Dear Julie, whereever you are, please keep a seat near you free, for me!

Thanks Julie

When I was starting out at Forrester almost 6 years ago, I regularly worked with Julie on consulting projects. Two stories stand out from these years: the first was when I was working on a large project with a leading IT services player. Some of the timelines I was managing were slipping, and I was in the difficult position of trying to balance Julie's intense workload while keeping the project on track. I asked the client if they were interested in having additional analyst resources come on board to help with the project. "No thanks" they said. "We'll work with Julie. If that means waiting, we'll wait." She just had that kind of extra level of demand from clients that NO other analyst I've ever worked with had.

The second story was more personal, and is entirely consistent with Pascal's note about mentorship. After that same project, Julie wrote me an long and detailed email about how I had helped on the project, and how she enjoyed working with me. That note is still one of the highlights of my career at Forrester. I called her afterwards to thank her -- it was a sunny Friday afternoon before a long weekend. Despite her busy scheudle, we talked for at least 45 minutes about personal things - life at Forrester, her intense travel schedule, and my own career development. At the end of the conversation she said "Ok, I'm going out back to throw sticks to my dogs" and I got the feeling that, despite her intense schedule with clients and all the work she seemed to love, she would never be happier than doing just that.

Julie - Wonder Woman, Wonderful Woman!

Julie was one of those people who always came through. And she also took time to share some of her real self as well - and to inspire us all!. I kept in touch with her through her illness, leaving phone messages and sending cards and prayers, although I only rarely connected real-time. I wish now that I'd saved the many sweet voice mails she left for me. Despite all her life's challenges - and she had more than most people I've known - she was always and forever optimistic. A fighter to the end, convinced shed find a way to solve the problem. Well, I guess she has finally - leave it all in God's hands. Professionally, Julie was fairly notorious for winning the hearts of some of our most demanding vendor and enterprise clients. At every IT Forum (and the Gigaworlds before them), she would always have a long line up of one-on-one "hopefuls' who hadn’t been successful booking a time slot with her because she often arrived at the event I suspect already fully booked. I'm convinced that many who'd met or talked to her on the phone put notes in their calendars to sign up as soon as online preregistration opened! But if they happened to be a smoker, they might succeed in getting about seven minutes with her, shared by others in the know, not that she was proud about it ... Her single vice.

I worked with Julie on a handful of projects over the years. One I keep a momento of in a 3-inch binder, six years later. December 2004. I'd somewhat reluctantly agreed to do a fast turnaround contract review and provide guidance on what I had been led by the client to understand was a network & telecoms outsourcing deal they urgently needed to renegotiate. By the time the paperwork was ready and they had forwarded to me a 1,500-plus page hardcopy of the contract, final delivery was just 36 hours away (not kidding). Julie hadn't been involved because she was seriously overbooked already - and because the contract (supposedly) wasn't about IT services outsourcing. When I started to read the document, it became apparent that in fact, it was ALL about IT services outsourcing and 98% NOTabout network & telecoms (my coverage). The client wasn't reachable, and absolutely expected our recommendations in their inbox by the deadline. I couldn't reach Julie either, so I went through my files in search of Julie-materials, which I used as the basis for my review, producing a 42-page report. With six hours to deadline (midnight, Dec. 17th), and concert tickets that my husband had go to great lengths to get for my birthday, I tried Julie's line one more time, on the off-chance that I might get lucky. I did, and she didn't hesitate for a moment. She said that if I would promise not to tell anyone! (because she'd get in trouble with her boss :)), she'd read my report through and send it to the client. That was Julie – if she could, she would. I sent her the report about 7pm and left for my concert. When I returned home about 11pm, I saw a copy of her note to the client - posted at 9.07pm. In less than two hours, she'd COMPLETELY REORGANIZED the report, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The client’s feedback was "Excellent. Exactly what we needed." They came back for more - a lot more - of (now Julie's) expert guidance. The day after, Julie called me. “Where did you find this stuff? I recognize it as mine, but haven’t been able to find it for years – thank you, thank you!). LOL, I told her that anything I ever worked with her on I had protected. That’s just one example among I’m certain, hundreds of others. Julie was the quintessential collaborateur - as a colleague, as a friend - and a rescuer! Yes, the tears are quietly streaming as I write this. She had a VERY tough life but a tougher spirit. I will remember her always, with a prayer and a thank-you-Julie each time that I do.

Lessons learned too late...

Julie taught me so much during her life, and now in death. I regret not honoring Julie more in her life. She would be proud of all the kind comments said about her this week. I will take this as a lesson learned from her. Show proper respect and honor to everyone. (1 Peter 2:17)

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.
--Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

We've lost one of the great people

There's a hole in my heart. I have to second much of what has been said already. Many of my colleagues know how I felt about Julie. I loved her as a friend and as a professional, and I will miss her.

When I hired Julie into GIGA all those years ago, I knew that she could do the job, but had no idea how well she would end up owning the relationships with her fellow analysts and clients.

There are so many stories about her dedication that they would fill volumes, we all know. What means so much to me were the times that I had to lean on her for help and was NEVER turned down. Those times included emergency client assistance, as well as internal help on how we should proceed with company decisions. She was the first on my list for attendance to the GIGA President's club when analysts were first able to attend. She was THAT good and THAT important to the company.

When we were acquired by Forrester, the analyst community on both sides were nervous about what would happen. We had a kickoff meeting at the Hyatt in Cambridge, and in a back room, I asked a couple of key analysts to sit with us to help get over the hump. Julie, of course was one of them. Her insight into what was needed to meld the analyst communities was invaluable and you could always count on her to help get things done. She is one of the reasons why the integration was successful, and many people never knew her involvement. She was a rock that I could always lean on.

And to echo Brownlee, she had more challenges than anyone deserved. I used to call her my Joe Btfsplk. For all you Li'l Abner fans, that's the guy who always had a black cloud over his head. That was Julie; but she always got through everything, except for that last, big challenge.

I was lucky enough to visit her at home on Dec 31st. She was still fighting and I left with high hopes that she would be with us for a long time, but like many things, she was probably hiding the pain on the inside so that others wouldn't worry.

We have lost a true human being.


Looking at the eloquent and

Looking at the eloquent and moving comments posted so far, and shared by email, I'm not sure there's anything much left for me to say. But I still want to add my own little bit, and add to the anecdotes of just what a trooper and true professional Julie was. I will never forget the first time I met her in person: a desperate salesperson in Giga's Windsor (UK) office approached me one morning and said "can you help - Julie Giera's due for a consulting engagement shortly, but she's come down with a migraine, she's upstairs in the flat, and we don't know what to do". So I went upstairs to the apartment, crept in upon not having the door answered, to find a heap of utter misery on the bed. I said "Hi Julie, it's Martha Bennett - we haven't met ...." - before I could even continue to ask what she needed, she gave me this big smile and said "oh great, I've so wanted to meet you". Needless to say, Julie was very clear about what she needed to get back on her feet, and the consulting engagement went ahead without a hitch. At that first meeting, I had no idea about all the hardships and sheer bad luck in Julie's life, and with every little extra bit I learned, my admiration for her grew - if there's a definition of grace under fire, Julie fits the bill! May she rest in peace.

What beautiful remarks!

I'm so moved by the comments of all the Giga-folks here. Julie was a joy to work with during the editing process. Always friendly, respectful, relentlessly positive, whip-smart -- and impossible to reach on the phone! May she rest in peace.

You are missed

10 years ago, when I was starting off my career in analyst relations, Julie was one of the first analysts I had the opportunity to work with. Despite my lack of experience and the fact that I was working for a smaller vendor, Julie was always willing to take the time to talk to me and took every effort to make me a better AR professional. Julie was one of just a few analysts where I actually looked forward to the Wave process because she was so fun to work with, and I looked forward to the interactions.

Follow the track, and keep Julie in mind

This is the homage of the the world Julie lived in together with all us to the one and only Julie Giera the world ever knew and never ever will get to find on this Earth.
See you there, Julie!

The link to cut-and-paste for the heavenly acoustic and emotional tasting adventure on Julie's track:

Remembering Julie Giera

On behalf of the AR Team at Symantec, please accept our sincere condolences. Our thoughts are with Julie’s family at this very sad time.

Julie, you'll be missed

I'd also like to echo Pascal's comment about mentorship. I remember the early days of Forrester's Vendor Strategy team very well. I was just then starting to build my career, on a new team, very uncertain how to fit in. Julie was incredibly generous with her time, helping a young guy like me understand the situation. She helped me with research content; personally introduced me to senior decision-makers at Forrester clients; and provided extensive moral support during a few very trying quarters for our fledgling team. What she taught me during that period -- was invaluable, both then and now. Julie, you deserve all the kudos and fond memories expressed in the comments to Pascal's post...and then some. You'll be missed!!!

Julie, remembered with love and admiration

It was with sadness that we hear of Julie's passing. On behalf of the analyst relations team of CSC our condolences to Julie's analyst associates, her friends and her family. I started working with Julie about 10 years ago and she was a very skilled analyst who managed to overcome many obstacles as she continued to deliver to her clients. She was a delightful soul and she will be remembered with affection and admiration and she will be missed.

Julie left a legacy

I honestly don’t know where to begin…She was the consummate professional and so approachable on so many levels. I’m very grateful for having the chance to work with her when I was running Consulting at Giga. Julie was always in demand. It was hard to get her to say “no” to a client so she traveled all over the world to deliver her insights and expertise. She was loved by Sales for the support she provided to the clients and it will always be a mystery to me how she was able to keep up that level of travel. Perhaps most important, was that Julie was so approachable and responsive to everyone and I cannot recall her having a bad word to say about anyone. It is a sad time for those of us who knew Julie. She definitely left a legacy.

I learned from her

I knew Julie for at least twelve years, and was her supervisor for a few (though me supervising Julie was like M supervising Bond). She’s one of the five smartest people I’ve known, high energy, real world experience and creative. She was genuinely interested in your life, not just waiting for a pause to tell you about hers (though hers was much more interesting than most). But she had no blinders and no off switch. Giga was and Forrester is a place where ideas, projects, areas of research float around constantly. If, like Julie, you have a very large brain, a broad range of experience, an overwhelming curiosity, and are naturally good at sales, you can easily get pulled in 15 directions til you collapse. And given a personal life that would have caused most to give up , I am amazed she accomplished so much and with such compassion for others.

I think I learned something from knowing Julie. I can’t match her talent - I’m more of a hedge hog while she was whatever hedge hogs look at and say “how do they do that?”. But her decency and class while playing a tough hand is something I’ll remember.

Missing Julie

I met Julie about 10 years ago, like so many of my AR friends. I was one of the lucky folks who knew that I had to book my time with Julie far in advance because she was, by far, the most popular analyst at GigaWorld (and subsequently, IT Forum) events. We shared many drinks and dinners (although I remember more of the drinks - I always had her gin and tonic waiting) and spoke of her inexhaustable dogs with whom she loved playing fetch until her arm ached and she could throw no more.

Even knowing she was quite ill, it was heartbreaking to lose her. The world shines a little less brightly without Julie in it. My condolences to the Forrester gang and to Julie's family.

Julie (Baker) Giera

I knew Julie was revered in her field but I had no idea. Julie is my cousin. I was very proud of her before, if only for her greatest battle, but now I immensely proud to call her cousin.

I am happy to see the impact she has made on all of you. She will forever be remembered and missed.

From everyone in my family, thank you.

Julie Giera: One of a kind, one in a million

Julie Giera and I started at Giga within a couple of months of one another and initially we sat in nearby cubes. Our friendship which began as an accident of geography blossomed into a frequent workplace collaboration and a close, enduring friendship over the last 13 years. It's touching to read such touching tributes and Julie is deserving of every one of them. She was a loving mother (including to her four legged canine friends), devoted daughter, an inspiring colleague, a loyal friend and a wonderful human being. She was incredibly intelligent and yet she identified with everyone and always went out of her way to treat everyone with equal courtesy and friendliness whether she was talking to the janitor or a corporate CEO. I was privileged to work with her on a number of projects including producing a series of reports and seminars on Microsoft licensing and contract negotiations. ALL of Julie's vendor and end user clients loved and appreciated her willingness to give 150% to deliver the best advice. I know that she saved many customers literally millions of dollars while unraveling the intricacies of their licensing contracts.

To say that Julie was courageous in the face of cancer is an understatement. She never gave up and never quit despite incredible pain and numerous setbacks. I am proud to have known and worked with Julie and count her among my closest friends. Godspeed, Julie!

Thank you all so much

I deeply appreciate all the comments that were said. I know who almost all of you are through over the years of listening to my mothers business calls. This is truly touching and I can't help but cry every time I read it.

Julie - a true inspiration!

Time passes, but memories do not even come close to fading. Each time I'm a bit concerned about delivering a tough message to a prestigious audience, I think of Julie - and I'm inspired. Just thinking of how she "handled a room" of very smart business and IT professionals, I'm inspired to recall her qualities including humility and conviction. Sometimes as I walk to the front of a hall with an audience of dozens, or onto a stage with one of several hundred, Julie's image comes to mind - yes, wonder woman, wonderful woman! - forever in my memory and often in my prayers.