This year, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked mothers that pioneered impactful enterprises and are part of our Ethical Lifestyle Hub Directory, what is driving them to lead a business with purpose. Those we highlight are mothers of strength, compassion, and resilience - working toward betting the world around them as well as being a mother. This blog highlights Karina R Ojeda R of Mosaik Experiences
Mosaik Experiences is a social enterprise that aims to inspire a sense of community by immersing people in fun and authentic Cultural Experiences. They include the most exotic cultural elements: music, dance, arts & craft, food and language. Experiences are offered by migrants and people of diverse backgrounds. We offer workshops, programs for older adults and people with disabilities, and entertainment for the corporate, community and other events.
Tell us about you (get personal here) and why you started your organisation, what drove you to start your impact organisation?
I am a passionate social entrepreneur, facilitator, mentor, and community leader, originally from Barranquilla, Colombia in South America. I have lived in Australia for 12 years with my beautiful family; my husband, my daughter of five years old and expecting a baby. I have 17 years of professional experience; as a project manager in the corporate and government sector internationally and as a social entrepreneur, community leader, facilitator, and mentor in the not-for-profit and social enterprise sector here in Melbourne, Australia.
I have professional experience working in the social sector in Melbourne; and across different non-profit organisations such as Engineers Without Borders, Leadership Victoria, Thriving Community Partnership, and Neighbourhood Houses in Moreland. Currently, Cross-Cultural facilitator at Brotherhood St Laurence, part of the team of associated facilitators at Social Enterprise Academy Australia, and a board member at Latin Stories Australia. Internationally, I am a social entrepreneurship mentor and consultant at the “University Los Andes” in the Centre of Entrepreneurship, and a board member and social entrepreneurship consultant at the Verbum Dei Fraternity Community, Colombia.
I am a co-founder and CEO (Chief Empathy Officer) at Mosaik Experiences, a social enterprise that addresses social isolation, loneliness, and disconnection in Australia using the power of the arts and culture. I started this social enterprise eight years ago, after finishing a master’s degree in project management at UQ university, where I started learning about social enterprises and their great impacts on the world.
I came to Australia to pursue my dreams to support social development and to work reducing material poverty in my country of origin, Colombia. Then, it was here in Australia, where the doors were opened to materialize my professional dreams; this country offered me wonderful opportunities to build my career as a social entrepreneur. I started Mosaik with a clear belief in bringing positive social changes, running a business whose heart and drivers could help solve a social problem related to a lack of community and belonging. As a newly arrived migrant, my cultural identity began to wake up in a deep way and a powerful desire to share my culture with others was born.
In this journey, I found people with similar desires, and passions about community, social development, and culture, we had the opportunity to share our dreams and experiences. We joined forces to give life to Mosaik Experiences and then the magic happened. We were convinced that the meaning of a mosaic “a picture or decoration made of small, usually coloured pieces of inlaid stone, or various pieces of music” could be changed to a real picture where the pieces were people, and the colours were cultural elements; then we created a new “Mosaik;” a “Mosaik of Authentic Cultural Experiences.”
Did motherhood encourage you to set up an impactful business? Why? OR Did motherhood encourage you to change your business?
Motherhood has encouraged me to continue working and progressing with my social enterprise which started before taking this journey as a mother. Undoubtedly, the motherhood brought substantial changes to my life, but each of those changes has been supporting and motivation to keep advancing in my personal and professional purposes to “contribute to alleviating spiritual and material poverty” to advance the next economy, diversity and social cohesion in Australia and South America. I hope this impactful business can be an inspiration and motivation for my children and their future dreams.
Motherhood has allowed me to observe my business and its operation from different angles and with different eyes, compared with my first years of leading this. Motherhood has helped me to maintain a balance and a mindful mindset in my decisions and actions. My daughter has been a great signal to slow down and reflect which is extremely important in the efficient and effective operation of a business. I have had huge lessons by leading a business and at the same time building a new pathway in my life around the parenting journey; it has been like I had two babies to take care of.
Motherhood has been a school to be more patient, work more efficiently, recognize vulnerabilities and be more compassionate with me because I cannot do it all. Leading a social enterprise and being a mother is a privilege, but it is a big challenge as well, where the motivations and inspirations have changed a little bit because my children play a crucial role in my vision to keep working and contribute to having a better and a good society. It is wonderful seeing my little daughter participating in Mosaik Experiences, being herself a youth ambassador of culture, diversity, inclusion, authenticity, and enjoyment. She loves what I am doing, and she is already part of my team! Motherhood has enriched my life and my career as a social entrepreneur and propelled me further.
What impact do you hope to achieve through your business (or are achieving already)?
Mosaik believes that “every individual deserves to live a healthier and more harmonious life which can be achieved starting with a good physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health” and this will lead to a healthier, more empathic, inclusive, and connected society. This is the impact I hope to achieve through my social enterprise. We have a social model that looks for:
Creating employment opportunities for migrants.
Supporting wellbeing to improve quality of life
Embracing Cultural Awareness
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
Strengthening cultural and artistic activities to alleviate loneliness and community disconnection.
And I am achieving tangible results with this model, we work with love to deliver, educate, entertain, inspire, and create wonderful authentic experiences - bringing communities and groups together regardless of the age, background or ability and making a difference in our very own way. Our holistic approach to wellbeing, based on the implementation and combination of cultural elements to deliver multisensory experiences has allowed individuals to connect with themselves and others.
What legacy do you want to leave behind as a mother to your children?
I want to be part of a learning process that gives my children the opportunity to fully live, filling their thoughts and actions with purposes, dreams with clear convictions of why do what they do, a process that drives them to always seek a balance and harmony in everyday life, accepting the circumstances that arise with a mindful, confident, mature, and wise attitude.
I want to leave them a legacy that helps them learn to cultivate a soul and a spirit capable of sharing life experiences, that motivates and helps them learn to observe and listen attentively, accepting, and letting go of what must go, embrace those things, opportunities, and people that life gives them, so they can give flavour, colour and meaning to their lives full of passion, purpose, faith, hope and lots of love.
I want to leave them a legacy of cultivating and maintaining values that allow them to face the challenges of life with strength, respect, commitment, dedication, and maintaining self-compassionate and empathic attitudes along with their lives.