Shari Fisher Epstein
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Passed away suddenly on October 26, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Shari was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 28, 1963. She graduated from Isidore Newman School in 1981. She earned her BBA in Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin in 1985. Shari continued her postgraduate studies at Texas A&M University, where she earned her MBA in Marketing from the Mays Business School in 1987.
Shari was an accomplished market research professional with 25 years experience working for international nonprofit business associations. Following graduate school, Shari followed her sister to Dallas, and began her career with a market research agency. In 1987, she joined what is now the Promotional Products Association International, where she established the research function within the trade association. She also conducted numerous studies assessing attitude and awareness, member needs and satisfaction, trade show evaluation and magazine readership, among others.
While working in Dallas, Shari met the love of her life, Joe Epstein, during Joe's first month in Dallas after graduating from law school. Shari and Joe knew right away that they were meant to be together. After Joe returned home to Houston, Shari soon followed.
In January 1993, Shari began a nearly 20-year career with the International Facility Management Association, where she advanced to the position of Director of Research. Shari directed all aspects of the association's research activities and was an invaluable, dedicated resource to IFMA members, many of whom became close friends. She was a sought-after industry speaker and expert, and interviewed frequently by the business media on workplace facility trends. While at IFMA, Shari published numerous research and benchmarking studies and forecasts. She earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives in 2009.
At the time of her passing, Shari had just started a new position as Research Project Director with the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, based in Alexandria, Virginia, overseeing all aspects of funded research projects.
Shari mastered the delicate balance between being an accomplished professional and taking care of her family. She was a devoted mother, daughter and wife who made family the focus of her life. She made sure that Anna and Jessica were solidly grounded and understood the values of education, hard work, and commitment to community. She was an enthusiastic and highly capable volunteer who cared deeply about her community by contributing her time and talents to numerous organizations and causes.
She is survived by her husband, Joe Epstein, and daughters, Anna and Jessica Epstein, all of Houston; and her sister, Judy (Fisher) Levene, of Dallas. Shari was preceded in death by her father, Beryl Fisher, and her mother, Jean (Shabason) Fisher. She is also survived and remembered fondly by many other family members, friends, colleagues and community members.
Memorial services will be held on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 4 p.m. at Congregation Brith Shalom, 4610 Bellaire Blvd. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Shari's memory to the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (erjcchouston.org), Jewish Family Service of Houston (jfshouston.org), Beth Yeshurun Day School (byds.org) or The Emery/Weiner School (emeryweiner.org).
Published in Houston Chronicle on Oct. 28, 2012