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'The Most Vibrant Soul I've Ever Met': Channel Remembers Vegas Shooting Victim Neysa Tonks, Beloved Saleswoman And Selfless Mother

Technologent's Neysa Tonks, a victim of last month's mass shooting in Las Vegas, is remembered as a cherished friend by those who miss her infectious laugh and boundless energy.

The party never truly started until Neysa Tonks made an appearance.

An outgoing, energetic and driven demeanor made her well-suited for life in Las Vegas and a career in IT sales. Known as a top producer in her field who worked at Micros, Cisco and, most recently as a global account executive for Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider Technologent, she excelled at forming strong customer relationships. But she was also a popular face across the city, and a single mother who worked tirelessly to provide for her three boys -- Kaden (24), Braxton (17) and Greysen (14).

On Oct. 1, those sons lost their mother and the channel lost a cherished friend when a gunman opened fire on concertgoers gathered outside the Mandalay Bay Resort, killing Tonks and 58 other people in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. She was 46.

[Related: GoFundMe: In Memory Of Neysa Tonks ]

Vegas lost an "icon" in Tonks, friends said, describing her as someone who could build friendships with anyone and charm those around her with her infectious laugh. Her influence on others was clearly felt, and perhaps best illustrated at her celebration of life held last month, when the memorial service drew between 2,000 and 3,000 people to the outdoor pool area of the Red Rock Casino.

"It was jam-packed, standing room only. Wall-to-wall people," Technologent Executive Vice President Marco Mohajer told CRN. "You couldn't let anybody else in. People from all around the globe had flown in just to be at that event. She was very well-loved."

City council members made that day, Oct. 9, Neysa Tonks Day in Las Vegas, and a GoFundMe campaign created in her honor raised $250,000 in just 16 days – clear testaments to the rich legacy she wove during her life.

With a demanding sales job, a flourishing social life and three children at home, time was usually at a premium for Tonks. But her ability to juggle those responsibilities and find time to help others around her consistently amazed co-workers.

"It's an understatement to call her a 'boss lady' from what I've seen her do, in terms of raising her kids to be amazing people, as well as enabling and empowering her customers," said Patricia Scull, a Google Cloud sales representative who worked with Tonks at Cisco.

Matt Taite, a Cisco systems engineer who was partnered with Tonks across her sales accounts, said family and friends were always priority No. 1 in her life – even as she excelled professionally.

"The reason why she worked so hard and the sales life she chose with the companies she worked for was to have the success that she could provide a good life for those kids," Taite said.


Selflessness was wired into Tonks' DNA.

Mohajer recalled one instance when Tonks, while driving him to a client site, pulled over her car to help a "drunk bum" who had gotten into a bicycle accident and was bleeding. He witnessed more striking examples of her selflessness around Christmas time, when Tonks would buy dozens of backpacks, fill them with gifts – such as clothing and jewelry – and distribute them to the homeless women and children of downtown Vegas alongside her boys.

"Who does that? Who does that?" Mohajer said. "She was always in a giving mode. She never, ever thought of herself. Ever ... She was the most vibrant soul I've ever met in my life. She had a cape on. She was a super-woman."

Since Tonks' death, her parents have come out of retirement and moved from Wisconsin to Las Vegas in order to take care of their grandsons.

"She was a fireball from the minute she got up in the morning to the time she went to bed," her father, Chris Davis, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal a few days after her death. "Everyone loved Neysa. She was very adventurous and spontaneous. She was just so full of life," he told the paper.

Mohajer, who has been in constant contact with the family in recent weeks, said the Tonks boys have been "super strong" throughout the ordeal. Scull echoed that sentiment while reflecting upon a conversation she had with Kaden, the oldest son.

"Neysa was one of those people that lived more in 10 years than most people do in their whole lives," Scull said. "She always wanted to be with her family, her friends, her kids and her co-workers ... She was conflicted in a way because she wanted to be with everyone. What he shared with me is that now, she's with all of us all the time. That showed me how strong they are, and it's given me a lot of strength over the last few weeks."

The family has requested privacy and was not contacted by CRN.

As a friend, Tonks possessed the natural ability to uplift and encourage those around her. She also had a knack for connecting with her colleagues on a deep, meaningful level.

Scull and Taite, who are now dating, were indirectly introduced to each other by Tonks, and each of them recalls a time when Tonks was able to help them through tough moments in their personal lives.

For Scull, that began with the challenges of being a woman in the traditionally male-dominated IT industry; over time that evolved into weekend ski trips to the mountains around Salt Lake City, where Tonks could "school any guy" on the slopes.


"I feel fortunate to have learned the amount of things I did from a business perspective, and how to work in a guy's world and be successful and not let things eat you alive inside that you can't control," she said. "That working relationship turned into a beautiful best friendship. We have [a trip] booked on her credit card in the spring. I honestly don't know that I'll be able to go skiing this year without her. On the mountains, especially in [her hometown of] Salt Lake City, it's one of those special places for me because of the time I spent with her there."

As a saleswoman, Tonks was ambitious, authentic, driven, reliable and "no-bullshit," said Andre Laurent, worldwide director of engineering for Cisco's Enterprise Networking Sales business, describing her as someone who was first and foremost a cheerleader and protector for her customers.

He noted that Tonks joined Cisco at a time when the vendor had several strained relationships in the Las Vegas market. Very quickly, the company realized it had found the right person to revitalize those accounts.

"She was able to get into accounts and work with customers where we had tarnished relationships, and they weren't willing to entertain conversations with us before," Laurent told CRN.

Soon, Cisco's Vegas fortunes rebounded thanks to what Laurent characterized as Tonks' unorthodox approach to the job, including frequent text communications with clients at a time when that was rarely seen. She was resolute in her methods – and with the results she delivered, few at the vendor tried to convince her to change them – and often managed to earn the respect of her customers by tactfully challenging them on previously-held beliefs.

"She was a good model for how women should approach their careers within technology," Laurent said. "Never be afraid to be themselves, never second-guess themselves, get into things without having to make sure it’s a perfect fit from the beginning ... There was no 'be careful' in her vocabulary.

"My mother was always saying, 'Be careful, be careful.' She was not like that. She was like, 'Dude, go and do it, and if you fall down, scratch your knee, put a Band-Aid on it and stop crying. Keep going. Try it again. Try something different,'" he said.

When Cisco hired Taite to be Tonks' engineering sales partner – and it was Tonks herself who referred him for the job – the two quickly became a professional powerhouse. In time, the working relationship developed into a sibling-like bond, with the two enjoying nights out in Vegas after a long day of work, or perhaps meeting up on weekend trips after Tonks left for Technologent.

"I don't really recall having a 'downer' conversation with her," Taite said. "Even when something would happen, she would almost make fun of herself and her own situation in a way that you didn't feel bad. You were joking with her ... She was that type of person who could turn it around and make it seem lighter than it was. I have to imagine that's also what made her such a great mom."

Taite and Scull used to joke about whether Tonks would be a best man or a bridesmaid if they got married. Imagining a wedding without her there is crushing, Scull admitted.

Tonks possessed a true love for life above all else. For friends, family members and colleagues struggling to process her untimely death, their memories of such a compassionate, caring woman have only made coping with her loss more difficult. Nobody can believe she's gone, Mohajer said.

As the weeks pass, however, friends of Tonks continue working to make sure her legacy remains well-preserved. Technologent will honor her memory Dec. 8 as a sponsor at the Technology and Diversity for Charity Holiday Gala, which works to support underprivileged children in the Las Vegas Valley. Tonks surely would have approved of the cause.

"She lit up the room every time she walked in," Mohajer said. "I don't think I'll ever meet anybody like her again."

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