Joy Rosen CEO & Co-Founder of Portfolio Entertainment Has Died

Press Releases

June 9, 2023

Joy Lori Rosen (October 2, 1957 – June 8, 2023)

(June 9 2023 – Toronto, Canada) – It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that Portfolio Entertainment announces that our friend, colleague, co-founding partner and CEO, Joy Rosen, passed away peacefully on June 8th, 2023, with her family by her side.

Joy and long-time colleague, dearest friend and business partner Lisa Olfman founded Portfolio in 1991. Launched in a spare bedroom with a borrowed typewriter, a boat load of dreams and unwavering determination, Joy and Lisa transformed Portfolio Entertainment into a leading production, distribution and animation company of kids and family entertainment with an iconic roster that includes the PBS Kids Emmy® award-winning series The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!, Hero Elementary, Doki and the ground-breaking Groundling Marsh

Since the company’s inception, Joy led Portfolio’s global distribution division and catapulted it into a leading global player. Recognized for her intelligent deal-making and enduring relationships with both international broadcasters and content providers, Joy was a consummate entrepreneur. Her strategic vision and indefatigable optimism were instrumental in the company’s multi-faceted expansion and in 2015 the partners launched Portfolio Animation, a state of the art animation studio.

Among her many industry distinctions, Joy, together with Lisa, was awarded the 2015 WIFT-T Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Business, the Rotman Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and was named in Profit Magazine’s Top 100 Female Business Owners and Animation Magazine’s Top 25 Rising Women in the Business.

After a well-lived life cut too short, Joy passed away surrounded by her family at the age of 65. Beloved wife of Dr. Lawrence Freedman for 39 years and mother of Erin, Michaela, and Evan Freedman, she was a devoted daughter to Delores Rosen and the late Harry Rosen, and siblings Paula (Stephen Toope) and Eric Rosen (Rachel Nelson). Despite her many accolades and honours, Joy always maintained that her children were her greatest achievement. An aunt, cousin, friend, colleague and confidant to so many, her ability to navigate the world with force and sensitivity was a benefit to and marveled by all who knew her.

“We at Portfolio are heartbroken” says co-CEO Lisa Olfman. “Joy was my partner, my best friend, my sister-in-arms. Words can’t describe what a huge loss this is to her family, her friends, and to those in the business community who knew her. We will miss her tremendous heart, her wicked sense of humour and her buoyant optimism. A piece of us died today, but we will forever honour her legacy.” 

At Joy’s request, donations can be made to formidable nurses of the Princess Margaret Hospital at the Ontario Nurses Association’s Local 097 and Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.