We lost a great friend and co-worker this weekend. Joanna started with us in 2003, just a few short months after our company was founded. She started as our accountant, and later added all our HR responsibilities.
She was always happy. So much so she would sing while she worked. As happy as she was, there was a dark side. She always had a contentious relationship with the microwave in the break room.
An incident in 2006 blew the door off of our first microwave when the egg she was cooking (still in the shell) exploded. Since she was our in-house accountant, she then had to approve the purchase of the replacement microwave (kind of a microwave karma thing).
With the team we have there was no way we would let this go and a small plaque was created and mounted to the wall noting the place of the “Great Egg-plosion.” Joanna being Liberian she loved spicy foods.
A couple of years after the egg-plosion there was an incident of habanero peppers being heated in the “New” microwave. This produced an eye-searing invisible gas that cleared all the offices for an hour or so.
It was a nice day, so we sat outside and laughed till Haz-Mat gave us the approval to go back in. Actually, there was no Haz-Mat team. A couple of us just pretended to be and would walk in every few minutes to see if our eyes teared up. She made us laugh and we loved her for it.
Students and teachers will recognize her as the HR person in all our virtual internship courses.
Her personal story is one of great success. She survived the Liberian civil war (barely). Her experiences in that war were chilling. She was always grateful of the US Marines and how they literally stepped out to protect her and her family.
During the worst days of that war, she trekked out of Liberia with six kids in tow. Came to America and then worked so very hard to get every child through college and herself through to get an MBA. She valued education and passed those values on to her children. She had incredible strength.
In the twelve years that Joanna was part of our team she always exuded a cheerful, loving and friendly manner. Strong in her beliefs. She was protective of us all. She was an incredibly loyal friend who was loved by all. We are saddened for losing her, but each of us are so much better for her having been here and our friend.
This weekend her extended battle with cancer ended.
We miss you Joanna.