Staff Profile: Theodora Issa

Name: Dr Theodora Issa

How long have you worked at Curtin?
Actually, I started as a sessional at the School of Information Systems in March 2003, then commenced my PhD with the School of Management, thus, moved to the School of Management as a sessional, then on part time contract, then on full time status but with the Faculty Office, then with the School of Management. And guess what, now the two schools are one! Here, I need to thank those who supported me throughout.

Where did you work prior to starting at the University?
I came to academia from the Financial Sector. I worked, overseas, in an International Bank (A British Bank that is now A Global Bank). There, I reached the rank of top executive, being the first female to be promoted to the rank of Resident Officer (the highest rank at the time). I did some voluntary work with charitable organisations in Australia and Overseas. Then, worked in insurance, a charitable organisation and an export company prior to making the move to the University.

What do you like best about your role?
Being allowed to learn from my students, and being privileged to share my experience with my students who will be the leaders of tomorrow. I hope that what I teach and share with them will have an impact on their character, thus their attitude towards their future work and their life in general. The aim here is for them to become great citizens not only to their own countries but globally. Further, as a researcher I am very much interested in the new findings and the knowledge that is generated on a daily basis as I continue my main line of research in ‘ethical mindsets’. This really excites me and keeps me going.

Why did you choose your current career path?
I started my working life as a teacher at an elementary school at the Church compound where I used to live, prior to going for my career in finance, where, and in addition to being a Credit Resident Officer, I was given the special task of Training Officer (trained and prepared the bank’s employees of all ranks to move to a higher information system). Therefore, training and teaching are part of my experience. In addition, as I hold three Masters degrees and was heading to my PhD, it seemed more appropriate to be at the giving side, thus give others from what I was fortunate to gain through my ongoing learning and working in different parts of the world.

First job?
Elementary school teacher, at our Church’s school.

Worst job?
I have been taught by my family to be thankful for everything no matter what, thus, with this mentality, I believe that all my jobs had taught me something new.

What project are you currently working on and what does it involve?
Several projects, including sustainability, Green IT, Social Networking, Learning and Teaching, Ethics, Spirituality and Ethical Mindsets

Your favourite place in the world and why?
Home, where family is, and where memories are created and treasured.

Your favourite cuisine and why?
The Mesopotamian cuisine.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Listen as twice as you speak. Well, I lecture, thus, I talk – so, I am not sure if I listened carefully to this piece of advice. But, the one that I always keep in the back of my mind is ‘do unto others as you wish to be done unto you’. The Golden Rule that was taught to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, and was the base that my parents raised me on.

Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know…

  1. Since 2013, I was elected by the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly to represent my Church as a member of the Central Committee… I now continue to hold this position with additional two positions in the Education and Ecumenical Formation Commission and the Permanent Committee for Consensus and Collaboration. I am the first female to occupy such positions on behalf of my Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
  2. As five siblings, we are currently finalising a book that talks about our Mum, and contains Mesopotamian recipes which we as siblings are doing in honour of our Mum (2016+). Hopefully, this will be ready prior to the third anniversary of her passing. May God the Almighty repose her soul.