Hello, I’m Mirjana and I’m the Senior Director of Refugee and Victim Services here at Mosaic. I came to the U.S. as a refugee from Croatia/Bosnia in 1998 with my husband and my 9-month-old son. Before that, I spent 7 years as a refugee in Munich, Germany. I like to think that I have two homes or two places that feel like home – my home country, and the U.S. I am grateful for that. I could write a book about my life and maybe one day I will, but for right now I just want you to know that I have learned many things about life and humanity during my journey as a refugee. I’ve learned that life circumstances can change overnight and every one of us can find ourselves in a new and unfamiliar world in the blink of an eye. I’ve learned that every human being is seeking human kindness and that it sometimes takes only one word to make or destroy someone’s day or life. I understand many of the struggles that refugees face when they come to the U.S. and I know from my personal experience how important it is to treat everyone with dignity and respect. My favorite quote is “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
In April of 1999, I came across Mosaic’s job posting for a domestic violence case manager. That was my “AHA” moment and my dream to help those who are victims of family violence came true 3 weeks later when I was hired. Mosaic became my second family and today, 22 years later, I still believe in its mission and values. I love to see wonderful people from all around the world every day when I come to work, and I love how we are all able to coexist and are open-minded toward each other’s culture. Our work truly makes a difference in the lives of survivors of human rights abuses.
I am currently a member of the Collin County Council of Family Violence Coalition, the Dallas Area Refugee Forum, the Metroplex Refugee Network, and the Family Violence Prevention Coalition. I served two terms as a Chair of the DFW Metroplex Coalition and I am currently a Chair of the Professional Development Committee of the Collin County Family Violence Coalition. In October 2017, I was presented with the Collin County Advocate of the Year Award at North Texas Facing Family Violence Conference.
For my undergraduate studies, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and I am currently working on my master’s degree in Management at Ashworth College. I am fluent in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (I must separate them, but it used to be one language). I can also write using both – Latin and Cyrillic alphabet. My husband, my son, and our two dogs, are my only nuclear family here in the U.S. We speak our language at home, and I am proud to say that my son who was only 9 months old when he came to the U.S. knows how to speak, read, and write our language. In addition to my nuclear family, I have my Mosaic family and many friends who became a family.
Now, about my hobbies. Back in my country, I loved to play handball and volleyball. I earned a brown belt in taekwondo when I was 15 years old. In elementary school, I played accordion and went to music school for five years. Nowadays, I turn to nature whenever I want to recharge my physical and emotional batteries. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, walking my dogs, hiking, traveling, reading, and fighting for social justice.