Joan Andersen – In Memoriam

November 18, 2022

MOSAIC is saddened to share that Joan Andersen, former Director of Employment and Language Programs at MOSAIC (2009-2017), has passed away.

“Along with all my colleagues at MOSAIC, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Joan’s family and all those who are impacted by this sad news,” said Olga Stachova, MOSAIC CEO. “Joan was such an incredible leader, full of positivity and energy. But more so was her impact on those around her, and the many fond memories she created and left behind.”

After a long, successful, and varied career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where she rose through the ranks to become one of the top executives, Joan joined MOSAIC in 2009, leading the Employment and Language department.

As the daughter of an immigrant, she was particularly interested in services to immigrants and refugees as a way to give back to the community – and MOSAIC gave her that opportunity.

Joan made the transition from broadcasting to employment and language programming seem effortless. She applied herself with intensity to learning, to her work, and to her health and wellness, starting her workday before most of her colleagues were even awake and riding her bike through all kinds of weather. The excellence she applied to her work inspired others also to strive for excellence.

Among the many achievements in her 8.5 years at MOSAIC, Joan:
• Was instrumental in leading partnerships to include government, employers, post-secondary institutions, and other community agencies.
• Helped MOSAIC obtain a WorkBC contract, making MOSAIC the first and only settlement organization in BC at that time to operate the provincial service which assists all job seekers.
• Pioneered unique programs for newcomers to assist them with finding employment quickly, and helped launch several innovative projects.
• Was instrumental in shaping MOSAIC’s first annual Job Fair, which is now a signature annual event.
• Was the recipient of the David Hutson Leadership Award from the Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training (ASPECT BC) in 2012, for demonstrating exemplary leadership and integrity in the community-based training sector.

The formalities of her career pathway don’t quite describe the caring and energetic person she was.

“I know I speak for all staff at MOSAIC when I say it was a privilege to have worked alongside Joan. Joan was a person of integrity, deep conviction on the things that spoke to her heart, and inspired those around her to be better,” said Larry Chan, Senior Manager of Employment Programs. “Joan’s presence at MOSAIC and the larger community was such that she did not need to lead people; people just naturally followed her. Joan will be missed by staff at MOSAIC but will remembered through many fond memories.”

Mei Lee, MOSAIC Senior Manager for WorkBC (Vancouver Northeast) and Business Performance, echoed the comments: “Joan came across to me as someone who was a strong leader. She could walk into a room and when she spoke, everyone would pay attention to what she said. Such was her presence that she was respected by so many people in the community and amongst the ministries. She was efficient, a no-nonsense person and I wanted to emulate her leadership and clear thinking in many ways.”

Staff have also described Joan as someone always in a good mood, having an outstanding work ethic, believed in empowering people, brought treats for her team, loved bicycling to work no matter the weather, and enjoyed her afternoon snack of dry foam cappuccino and a biscotti.

Outside of MOSAIC, Joan was also Board Chair for the Vancouver Public Library; Treasurer of Literacy BC; Board member for National Steering Committee 211; Advisory Board member for the UNESCO World City of Literature; Advisory Committee Member for the BCIT Broadcast and Media Communications and the Brooke Forbes Legacy Fund, for which she was also Founder.

She also worked closely with a women’s group to privately sponsor a refugee family from Syria, and helped them settle in Vancouver.

Joan loved her work at MOSAIC so much that even after retirement she continued in a consulting capacity and led the development of a number of successful, large-scale proposals. She will be sorely missed by all.

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