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Local entrepreneur wins national tech award

Paradata co-founder honoured


Whistler entrepreneur Shannon Byrne Susko was recently presented with a national award that recognizes leading women in technology.

Byrne Susko is the co-founder of Paradata Systems, a software company that designed efficient credit card processing systems. Paradata was acquired by California-based Payment Processing (PPI) earlier this year.

The mother of three was honoured by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance for her technological and community leadership. As well as having been on the boards of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Byrne Susko worked her way from software development manager to president and chief executive officer of Paradata. She is now PPI’s vice-president of technology.

The Nova Scotia native was presented with the Sara Kirke Award June 20 in Ottawa at the annual CATA awards gala. Sara Kirke, who lived in the 17 th century, is considered North America’s first entrepreneur.

A graduate of St. Mary’s University, Byrne Susko has two undergraduate degrees and a M.Sc. in Computing Science. Contacted by cell phone en route to taking her family to Nova Scotia for the summer, Byrne Susko said although she’s been a member of CATA for many years the award was unexpected.

"I knew I was nominated but when they called me a couple of weeks ago I was definitely quite surprised because it is a national award and there’s lots of worthy candidates," she said.

Byrne Susko said although software development is a field traditionally dominated by men it is a good field for young women to consider.

"It’s very welcoming from a gender perspective in being a woman. People respect you and look to you for your expertise and knowledge and they don’t question in a minute gender either way."

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