Sussman was a native of St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1995, she moved to Cambridge and married her husband, Harris Sussman.
Sussman was hired as a senior secretary in EF&A in 1999. She was promoted successively over the years to administrative assistant, senior administrative assistant, area officer, senior area officer, and ultimately, in 2012, to administrative officer, all within EF&A. Last year, she was recognized with an MIT Sloan Appreciation Award, the highest honor bestowed upon MIT Sloan staff members. Colleagues say she was an integral part of EF&A.
“Her time with us was a great gift, and in her work and through her friendships, she set an example of leadership for our community,” says David Schmittlein, the John C Head III Dean of MIT Sloan.
In her roles as area officer and administrative officer, Sussman managed approximately 20 EF&A administrative staffers.
Joseph Weber, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, who worked with Sussman, notes that she participated in many Institute-wide committees. “She sat in on some of my classes, simply because she wanted to learn more, and was actively involved in a wide variety of projects to make Sloan a better place,” he says. “She is one of the most caring and compassionate people I ever met, and I will miss her very much.”
As the administrative coordinator for the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering (LFE), Sussman also collaborated closely with its director, Andrew Lo, the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor of Finance at MIT Sloan. She supervised the construction of the LFE computer lab, coordinated many research grants, dealt with corporate sponsors and managed the day-to-day activities of the lab.
“But her most significant contribution to LFE was shepherding the many students who came through each year and prospered under her warm and supportive mentoring,” Lo says. “She became their ‘LFE mom’ and meant more to us than words can express.”
Sussman was also the founder of an effort to help blind students in Russia, which grew to provide assistance to more than 1,000 students and their teachers.
Sussman is survived by her husband, Harris; her son, Leo; and her grandson, Tigran.