LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Joan Mawer

Position: Central Administration Building Receptionist
School: Port Huron Area School District
School District: Port Huron Area School District
City, State: Port Huron, MI


Joan Mawer was nominated by a colleague, Sharon Cadrette.

In late summer, countless families enter the Port Huron Schools offices to register their children for school. Registering children for school and going through a household move can be very unsettling to families. Ms. Mawer does an excellent job of guiding parents through the enrollment paperwork, and even comforts children when they are in the office waiting. She sees "customer service" not only for adults, but for children, as well. Ms. Mawer sets a very nurturning and welcoming atmosphere for parents and children when they walk in.

"Everyone knows that a first impression can never be taken back. With Joan as our receptionist at the Central Administration Building for Port Huron Schools, we can ensure a great first impression - whether it is on the phone or in person. She exemplifies customer service in everything she does," Cadrette said.

For those calling or visiting her building, Ms. Mawer is the face of Port Huron Schools.

"We know, without a doubt, that visitors will leave with an incredibly positive impression of our district!  I honestly have never, ever seen Joan down," Cadrette said.

When dealing with difficult challenges, she personally assesses the situation to see if there is anything in which she could improve, often asking for constructive input from her coworkers. If, for some reason, she does not have an answer for a visitor/caller, she will investigate and get back to them. This goes a long way in developing an attitude of trust between the community and the school district, as individuals remember that "someone actually got back to me."

Cadrette's office is located very close to the receptionist area, and Cadrette often can hear the interchange between Ms. Mawer and whoever is at the desk.

"I find myself thinking, 'I want to be like Joan.' I want to always be that cheerful, helpful, and give that top notch level of customer service.  She is a great example for all in our district to emulate."

Ms. Mawer does not wait for information to come to her - she seeks it out so that she can be as prepared as possible for any visitor who might come through the doors or call on the phone.  As part of the 22nd largest school district in the state and second largest employer in the county, Ms. Mawer is constantly busy with both visitors from outside the district and district employees. In the midst of this, multiple meetings occur throughout her building on a daily basis. She investigates meetings ahead of time, and quickly and easily guides staff and visitors when they arrive. This has made a huge difference in the flow of traffic at her station, and also sends the implicit message to these guests that the district is glad they are there and are prepared for them. This is one example of how Ms. Mawer goes "above and beyond" in her work duties.

She has a track record of excellent performance at every building in the district where she has worked. At Port Huron Northern High School, she was awarded the Principal's Award - an award generally reserved for teachers - for her contribution to the school. She is a forward thinker, always looking for ways to do tasks more efficiently.  She is highly trustworthy and willing to do "whatever it takes" in any situation.  

Ms. Mawer's pleasant personality puts everyone at ease. She has made it her mission to personally greet each staff member with a cheery "Good morning!" each day when they pass her desk. This starts everyone's day on a positive note and greatly influences the working climate of the Central Office. When she is out of the office for whatever reason, her absence is felt by all staff.

"It can be intimidating for first-time visitors to enter our building to conduct business, attend meetings, register their children for school, etc.  Joan ensures they are sincerely welcomed, and never made to feel rushed or "a bother" - even when they walk in right when the building is closing!" Cadrette said.  

The individuals would never know from her demeanor that she is staying late to care for their needs. Her patience and listening ears are a trademark of her caring personality.  Each person receives her undivided attention, and no question is too small.  She is very skilled at dealing with individuals who are upset, for whatever the reason. She listens carefully to their concerns and guides them to the person who can best help them with the issue at hand.

Ms. Mawer possesses the unique quality of being kind and caring while also being straightforward and honest. Staff and visitors trust her implicitly. She handles confidential information with the utmost care and sensitivity.

"There is absolutely no question that Ms. Mawer has the highest moral and ethical standards. These come through in the way she deals with all visitors to her desk," Cadrette said.


Comments (30)


Celine Groff Posted 15 days ago

So here's the thing about Joannie, when you meet her she talks to you like you've known her forever. She's so convincing at this, that you believe her. It's not just that she greets everyone with a smile, or that she calmly helps people work through situations. She's the whole package. Being stagnant is not her style. If she has a rare "non-busy" day, she sends out requests to help her coworkers. I've personally noticed the mood lifting since she began working at the Administration Building. Her infectious laughter resonates and even though I have no idea what she's laughing about, it brings a smile to my face. If she's having a bad day, you'd never know it. When she's at work, it's "Joan on the job." She's adamant at helping resolve issues with our students and families. What more can I say? I love working with her and seeing her brighten others' days.

Julee Ferguson Posted 3 months ago

Sharon did such a great job describing the Joan that we all love and depend on. I am impressed every time I see or hear Joan interact with employees and families. We all feel very proud and very lucky to have her be the face of our Administration building!

Marilyn Kreiner Posted 3 months ago

Joan Mawer has been a friend to every soul that has been blessed to be in her presence. She is both beautiful and resilient. She gives the shirt off her back to anyone that is seeking warmth or comfort. She is a Saint.

Patty Whymer Posted 3 months ago

Joan is so deserving of this award. It is true that Joan is always cheerful and helpful. I had the pleasure of working with her at Port Huron Northern and she could always bring a smile to my face. She is always organized and prepared and takes the time to listen to any questions or concerns. Joan is a wonderful person!

Kathryn Kirk Posted 3 months ago

Although I've only known Joan for a few months, it feels like I've known her forever. She is beyond kind and caring. There is nothing she won't do to help another out. She's intuitive and empathetic and has a shining personality that just makes everyone happier being around her! Joan deserves the highest honor for being such an amazing person!!

Michelle Bailey Posted 3 months ago

Having known Joan for nearly 40 years and worked with her in the past I can attest that her nominator's words are spot on. Joan has a caring and generous heart full of empathy for other people. She is one of the most compassionate and sincere people of have ever known. I am truly blessed to call her my friend. You will not find a more worthy candidate!

Tonia washe Posted 3 months ago

I have been a life long friend of Joan. We both attended the same school from elementary to high school. We actually did not become close until we kinda forced to be roommates. Since then I have been blessed to have her as a very best friend. Joan is a consummate example of a thoughtful, kind, intelligent woman. Through our life she had taught me what it is to be truly kind, responsible, thoughtful, so many things. I have witnessed what a wonderful loving daughter she was and a wonderful example of what being a mom is all about. I also have to say, Joan did not miss any days from school, not many can say that. Joan represents what we all should try to live by, not just because she is my friend and I love her because she is what is good and true in life.

Jakelyn Spencer Posted 3 months ago

LOVE Mrs Mawer! I was lucky enough to grow close to her while a student of Port Huron Northern. She's always been an incredible help to me and other students within Port Huron Schools. She is an incredible human being with a heart of gold. Thank you for all you do!

Nandita Mishra Posted 3 months ago

Just got to know Joan through my interaction with Port Huron Schools Bond program. She is just an amazing persons both inside and out!

Jerrod Black Posted 3 months ago

Joan is one of the first people I met when I was hired to teach at PHN. Sharon's description of Joan is spot on. Joan is a caring, kind, genuine, articulate and hard working professional. She goes above and beyond to ensure that the staff has what they need, that families feel welcomed and her job is done well. I can't imagine a better person, one we should all aspire to emulate. Joan is an asset to the district and one of its best. Thank you, Joan for always being a bright light in education. I certainly miss seeing you everyday!

Deana Tuczek Posted 3 months ago

Joan is one of many shining lights at Port Huron Area School District. Her kind and welcoming demeanor engages families as they enter the district either by phone or in person. She is able to address the needs of all of the staff and families who cross her path. She is efficient and seeks to provide answers that support those whom she is assisting. Her kind heart and caring mannerisms assist families to have a welcoming and positive experience. I feel blessed to have worked with her and will willingly refer families to her kind and caring arms at Port Huron Schools.

Kristen J Schramm Posted 3 months ago

I have known Joan for 30 years. She is a wonderful, loving and very helpful person. She handles life's challenges with grace and poise. She is a caring and sweet lady who puts the needs of others first. She's one of the hardest working people I've ever met & I can not think of anyone more deserving of this recognition than her.

Catherine Woolman Posted 3 months ago

We are so blessed to work with Joan! She handles the hardest conversations with ease and ensures all families who come to our office are treated with respect and supported. She is a joy to work with!

Kate Peternel Posted 3 months ago

Every word of this is true. Joan embodies customer service as she advocates on behalf of the district's families and customers everyday. She brings joy to everyone she encounters and it just comes naturally. She is a treasure!

Kim Randolph Posted 3 months ago

Ms. Mawer is always so helpful when I approach her with my questions.

Rachel Sullivan Posted 3 months ago

I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Mawer at Port Huron Northern High School when I was in my junior year (2011-2012). I worked at the front desk switchboard and Mrs. Mawer's desk was right behind mine. I fully endorse the words Mrs. Cadrette have written here. Mrs. Mawer was truly a role model for me, and became a close friend. By watching her meet parents with patience and students with smiles, I learned how to be a better person. She would go above and beyond her job description for anyone that asked for help. I went on to work at another front desk while attending the University of Michigan, in which I was often complimented on my welcoming smile and greeting to staff members, as well as by visitors who I worked as hard as I could to follow-up with even if I didn't know the answer, something I learned from Mrs. Mawer. Although I didn't have Mrs. Mawer at my back any longer, I had her at the back of my mind, thinking about how much joy she brought to our office with her positive energy, I wanted to channel that in my new office. I couldn't agree more that this award should go to her, she deserves it!

Claire Posted 3 months ago

Mrs. Mawer always had a bright and shiny personality when I worked with her! She remembers you, and goes the extra mile to make students and their parents feel known, and provides comfort in all circumstances. I 100% agree with everything that Mrs. C stated about her in this nomination. She deserves accolades for her kindness!

Mary Jo Posted 3 months ago

Joan Mawer is a true gem. Her genuine warmth and big heart touch everyone she comes into contact with and is apparent in everything she does. High school kids adore her ... enough said!

Denny Dwyer Posted 3 months ago

I've know Joan and her family for a long time and have always known her to be a very positive, caring individual. Very deserving of recognition like this. I also know as a retired employee of the PHASD that entering that building at times could be very intimidating even for employees, let alone members of the public who should feel right at home in the central office of their children's school district. Congratulations, Joan!

Jeanette Parker Posted 3 months ago

Joan is one of my oldest and dearest friends! Your description of her is spot on in her professional and personal life!! We should all strive to be like her! Truly a blessing!

Maria Fagan Posted 3 months ago

Very sweet and caring, an exceptional individual!

Tammy Fontenot Posted 3 months ago

Joan is the most compassionate -and sincere person I know.she is always willing to help anyone in need of anything. You would never know her personal trials/tribulations because she always keeps a professional/upbeat attitude when when she is dealing with adversities in her life. Proud to call her my friend and she's very deserving of this award!

Robin Sargent Posted 3 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly with everything said in Joan's profile statement, she is truly an amazing lady! I cover her work station every day for her lunch hour, and she always leaves notes for me so I'm prepared for whatever might come my way. I also work in payroll and can attest to her above-and-beyond attitude, because when someone comes in needing something for payroll she will just do as much as she can for that person and a lot of times I'm not even needed because she has it covered! For example, if someone comes in with questions about changing or starting a direct deposit for their paychecks, she will print them a form from our website and help them fill it out, asking them very specific questions to make my job that much easier. She is the definition of team player, and I absolutely love working with her, she's so much fun and has a great personality :)

Alicia Fowler Posted 3 months ago

Joan Mawer has an awesome outlook on life & a beautiful soul! She is smart, knows her duties & is always kind to everyone she meets! I hope you win because I don't know anyone who deserves it more.

Elise Gallagher Posted 3 months ago

Joan Mawer has been such a helpful, loving, positive part of my life. Always so helpful and positive with anything that comes my way! Love her. Well deserved. <3

Erin Gallagher Posted 3 months ago

To quote the above: "I find myself thinking, 'I want to be like Joan.' I want to always be that cheerful, helpful, and give that top notch level of customer service." Where others have to really work at being cheerful, helpful, and exceptional at their jobs it just comes naturally for Joan. I think that's what makes her so special and such a deserving candidate.

Jill Latham, Finance Department Posted 3 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly with Sharon Cadrette's description of Joan Mawer. Joan is a "breath of fresh air" for all of the staff in Central Office. Her cheerful disposition and sincere concern for others helps to set a positive tone for the entire building. In addition to her duties as the main receptionist for the School District, Joan also enters invoices and cash receipts for the Finance Department. She is very careful and conscientious in her work for us. We are so glad she moved to this position a little over a year ago.

Martha Maxwell Posted 3 months ago

I have known Joan for several years now and a better secretary you will never fond. She is kind and. Commpationate, efficient, and very professional. She is an true example for us all!

Anna Sparling-Jamison Posted 3 months ago

Joan is such a kind, caring and compassionate person. I had the privilege of working with her at Port Huron Northern High School. She is friendly and welcoming. She maintains the highest professional standards. She is truly a heartwarming individual, and I am happy that she is being recognized for this award.

Annie Austin Posted 3 months ago

I can't think of a better nominee for the LifeChanger of the Year Award. I have had the good fortune of working with Joan since her years as a secretary at Port Huron Northern and every statement Sharon Cadrette has made regarding her demeanor and commitment to customer service is true. Joan is the consummate professional who never forgets what it's like to be on the other side of her desk. Her welcoming smile and commitment to serving our district's staff and families well is exemplary. We know longer work in the same building so I am always thrilled to see her when a visit to Central Office is required. That she was nominated by Sharon Cadrette, who is equally good at her job and every bit as kind, speaks mountains to who Joan is. Good luck, Joan, I will be rooting for you!! Annie