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Natalie Smith - TLM Hero

A white Australian woman with dark hair in a pink top smiles at the camera

Natalie Smith was born to missionaries in Papua New Guinea and is the niece of Trevor and Heather Smith (fellow TLM Heroes), of the McKean Rehabilitation Centre in Thailand.

Natalie started her work with the Mission in Nigeria as a Prevention of Disability Project Officer. She managed projects and developed skills managing finance, programmes and staff. From Nigeria, she moved to Timor-Leste as Country Leader, staying for eight years. During her years there, Natalie invested in the national team so that could leave the office under local leadership.

When that time came, Natalie travelled again, this time to work in Myanmar, before moving to Papua New Guinea. In a lovely full-circle moment, she became Country Leader in the country of her birth, and has remained there in that role since.

Natalie’s colleagues around the world hold her in high regard. Gladstone Worthington from the London office says Natalie is a calm presence: “She doesn’t panic easily, she handles the uncertainties around her very well. She rises to challenges, she takes a step back and then starts to address the issues”.

Throughout her postings, Natalie has prioritised the principles of local staff development and capacity building, so that her work could eventually be handed-over to their management.