Bringing broad and deep experience to a new regional role

Theresa joined Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS) as Executive Director in April 2006.  In this role, Theresa had oversight of the Good Shepherd welfare services in Malaysia. 

She was a member of the Good Shepherd Asia Pacific Partnership (GSAPP) Team from 2007 to 2015.  The focus of the GSAPP team is to co-ordinate the growth and development of partnership for mission in the Asia Pacific region.  

Theresa was a member of the Congregational Chapter Planning Committee, preparing for the Chapter held in Angers, France in June 2015.  She was chosen by the Congregational Leadership Team as Congregational representative to the Chapter in 2015.

In 2016 Theresa accepted the role of Regional Manager of the Mission Development Office, Asia Pacific.

This is her personal story.

About

I started work with Good Shepherd Malaysia on Monday, 24 April 2006.  Little did I know that it was the Feast Day of Saint Mary Euphrasia.

Over ten years have since passed. 

In Good Shepherd

As I look back, what comes to mind immediately is the relevance of Good Shepherd mission in today's context.  It is amazing that an organisation founded in the 1800s in France to reach out to women and girls in crisis situations, is still very much relevant and needed today.  Good Shepherd mission continues to extend its compassionate presence of reconciliation and restoration of dignity to countless women and girls who are exploited and live on the margins of society.  It is against this backdrop that Good Shepherd Malaysia embraced mission partnership for its sustainability into the future.  

The Challenges

In 2005, the Good Shepherd Sisters opened their doors to lay staff at all levels of management in Good Shepherd Malaysia.  This development called for new ways of corporate governance, management of roles and responsibilities, refining of policies and operating procedures. It entailed  taking the huge risk of letting go of “the old”, and embracing and trusting in “the new”.   I pay tribute to the sisters for the audacity and vision to risk for mission as there were many difficult moments of not knowing, of just trusting the Spirit to lead us.  

As the first lay Executive Director of Good Shepherd Malaysia, I have not only witnessed, but am party to, the challenging transition experienced by both Sisters and lay partners as we work side by side to live out the Good Shepherd Mission.  Often, we were challenged to support each other in new ways as we assumed co-responsibility to perform our roles in the organisation.  The process of transition was inevitably fraught with difficult moments, but with generosity of hearts and resolve, we have managed to refine and define our own calling and purpose in being Good Shepherd people.

The Inspiration

I belief that we are now reaping the fruits of this prophetic change and new vision on religious-lay partnership.  During the last seven years, the organisation was able to rapidly introduce new services and programmes to meet needs.  This is a testimony of the success and synergy of mutual and collaborative partnership.  The number of lay persons who are either working or supporting the Good Shepherd mission in one way or another, has increased significantly, and more importantly, these partners have brought with them much resources - talents, skills, experiences and connections.  

There is a renewed hope that Good Shepherd mission in Malaysia will outlive its founders, and be carried forward by mission partners (sisters and lay persons) who will continue to make a difference to the lives of many women and girls in need of assistance.

 

Projects

Facilitation as a way of life

Facilitation as a way of life

In organizing a session, workshop or meeting, who do you look for to facilitate the event? This article may give you some good ideas....

Good Shepherd Korea plans for the future

Good Shepherd Korea plans for the future

In March 2018 important gatherings of all sisters, facilitated by Theresa Symons, were held in South Korea to plan the way forward for their Sector

Mahila: A Women's Movement Rising

Mahila: A Women's Movement Rising

Watch a compelling film produced by the Good Shepherd International Foundation featuring three Dalit women from a Good Shepherd Economic Justice Project

Learning the Art of Skilled Facilitation

Learning the Art of Skilled Facilitation

16 participants from many provinces of Asia Pacific responded to the call to learn the skills of facilitation at a workshop held in Ipoh, Malaysia from 31 March to 8 April

Grant Proposal Writing & Presentation workshops

Grant Proposal Writing & Presentation workshops

Good Shepherd Mission Partners gathered in Singapore from 8 countries to participate in dynamic training workshops in Grant Proposal Writing and Presentation

Good Shepherd represented at Global Forum

Good Shepherd represented at Global Forum

Sr. Magdalena Saavedra and Ms Theresa Symons attended the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Dhaka Bangladesh from 8-9 December, 2016

Partnership for Mission session in Indonesia

Partnership for Mission session in Indonesia

Theresa Symons leads a session for 44 Mission Partners - sisters and lay - in Cisarua, Bogor on 25-26 February 2016

A meeting with President Barack Obama

A meeting with President Barack Obama

When Mission Partner Theresa Symons accepted an invitation to attend a round table discussion with officers from the US Department of State she had no idea she would find herself at a small meeting with President Barack Obama

Session for Formation and Partnership

Session for Formation and Partnership

Historic first Formation and Partnership Session in Asia Pacific creates a distinct shift in the understanding of Partnership for Mission

Report from the Asia Pacific Partnership Team

Report from the Asia Pacific Partnership Team

Comprehensive overview from the GSAPP team - how Good Shepherd Partnership for Mission is developing in this region

Adaptive programme at Rose Virginie Centre

Adaptive programme at Rose Virginie Centre

In Malaysia a Good Shepherd Centre continues to adapts to new needs, opening its doors to unaccompanied refugee minors

Mission Partner speaks at Vatican Youth Symposium

Mission Partner speaks at Vatican Youth Symposium

Anne Baltazar from Malaysia speaks on Prostitution and Human Trafficking at the Vatican, and meets Pope Francis

Story of Good Shepherd Beyond Borders

Story of Good Shepherd Beyond Borders

From 7-11 November 2014, 18 Mission Partners from Singapore-Malaysia visited Myanmar - a Good Shepherd Beyond Borders experience

Volunteers acknowledged in Day of Appreciation

Volunteers acknowledged in Day of Appreciation

Pusat Kebajikan Teenage Centre in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia celebrates Volunteers Appreciation Day

The Story of St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

The Story of St Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

Learn more about the foundress of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd through this booklet and youtube video produced by Good Shepherd in Singapore-Malaysia

Rose Virginie Microenterprise, in Malaysia

Rose Virginie Microenterprise, in Malaysia

Providing skills training and income generating opportunity for women in crisis - empowerment and a sense of dignity