1 April 2023

Vale Jo Bartell: honour award created in CIT stalwart's name

| Travis Radford
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Michael accepting Jo's award on her behalf

Michael Mundy accepting the award on Friday on Jo’s behalf. Photo: Supplied.

Joanne ‘Jo’ Bartell has been recognised for her 20 years of service to the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) with a customer service award created in her name.

She died at work in February during her 20th anniversary year with the Institute. A coronial inquest will be held into her death.

She was mother to Liz, stepmother to Alex and Doug, daughter to Barbara, sister to Gavin and Nichola and wife to Michael Mundy.

Jo’s partner of 11 years and husband of five years said his late wife would be remembered for her unwavering loyalty.

Jo Bartell at her CIT graduation ceremony, holding her certificate

Jo Bartell graduated from the CIT in 2002 with several business qualifications. Photo: Michael Mundy.

Even as the CIT experienced public challenges, Michael said Jo never spoke ill of her beloved workplace.

“The CIT was everything to her,” he said.

“She would go in on open days for new students on the weekends.

“She was always out promoting the CIT for its students.”

Michael said Jo’s commitment was always to CIT’s students first and her career second.

“She was happy about students being happy and students knowing what to do,” he said.

“Everyone knew at the CIT if there was a problem to ring Jo and that’s what used to happen.

“Even if they weren’t in her realm of what she worked in, she would always help them out.”

Young people had also been front and centre of Jo’s life for the 13 years prior to her beginning work at the CIT, when she had been a full-time single mother.

She studied at the CIT as a mature-aged student in her 30s and graduated in 2002 with a certificate II, III, IV and diploma in business administration.

The following year she started work with the CIT on a short-term, three-month contract without knowing it would become a permanent vocation.

“The CIT recognised her as a great person to keep on their books so they gave her an extension,” said Michael.

The rest is history.

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Over her two decades with the CIT, Jo worked in administration and support for the computing, accounting, project management, business and legal teaching areas.

She also worked in student services during her tenure and served as the Institute’s international student pastoral care officer for many years.

“Jo [was] someone who went above and beyond at CIT and was always helpful and knowledgeable,” said a CIT spokesperson.

“Nothing was ever too much trouble for Jo.”

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Michael recalled being constantly surprised by how many people’s lives Jo had touched through her work at the Institute.

“From Bunnings to restaurants, a student or an ex-student would come up and say, ‘Do you remember me? You helped me,'” he said.

“No matter where I went, she knew someone and they would always come up to her and say, ‘Thank you for helping me out.’

“I’d say, ‘Oh my God, is there anyone you don’t know?’ And we’d joke about it all the time.”

But it wasn’t only former and current students who recognised Jo’s effort.

“We went shopping and someone came up to her and said, ‘Hello Jo, how are you?,'” Michael said.

“And Jo’s standing there and she sort of looked a bit confused and I’m thinking, ‘Okay, it’s another teacher’.

“And then when she left, Jo said, ‘Actually that’s the CEO of the CIT. She actually knows who I am.'”

Michael said Jo knew her many roles, the Institute and its people from back to front.

“She was the engine room of running business admin,” he said.

“Whoever steps into that role has got huge shoes to fill.”

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