Walker's Women in the World Alumnae Weekend Panama 2018

Panama Alumnae Weekend

El Valle Panama

March 8-11, 2018

Yolanda Eleta de Varela ’81 and Ximena Eleta de Sierra ’83 invite you to gather in Panama for a Walker’s Women in the World Alumnae Weekend on March 8-11, 2018 in Panama City and El Valle de Antón, Panama.

Join Walker’s leaders and friends in a beautiful mountain setting for professional connections, intellectual, social, and cultural activities with a dynamic group of women!



For a discounted group rate at the following hotels, mention The Ethel Walker School in care of Ximena Eleta de Sierra ’83.

InterContinental Miramar Panama

InterContinental Miramar Panama (Panama City)

Miramar Plaza
Balboa Ave., Panama City

Use booking code ET3 for room plus breakfast
Use booking code ET8 for room without breakfast

Los Mandarinos Hotel

Los Mandarinos Boutique Spa and Hotel (El Valle)

Calle El Ciclo
999999 Valle de Anton, Panama


Air Travel

Tocumen International Airport (PTY) is the international airport of Panama City (www.tocumenpanama.aero).

Coach Transit

A coach transit will be provided to and from El Valle.

What to Pack

  • Panama hikeWorkout gear
  • Walking shoes
  • Casual resort attire
  • Summer cocktail attire for Panama City
  • "Mountain-chic" attire: Dresses, jeans, slacks; whatever makes you comfortable!
  • Swimsuit
  • Binoculars
  • Book: In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende


Special Weekend Offerings

  • Yoga, massage* and dance opportunities

Massages will be offered at a discounted group rate

Thursday, March 8 - Arrival in Panama City

7:00 p.m.Evening welcome reception with Walker's staff and alumnae
Hosted by Maribel Heilbron P'03

Edificio Torre Imperial

Ave. 2ª Norte

La Cresta, Bellavista

Friday, March 9 - Panama City to El Valle

10:00 a.m.Scenic coach trip to El Valle (approximately two hours)
1:30 p.m.Welcome luncheon, introductions and Walker's Update
At the Los Mandarinos Hotel restaurant, La Tasca de Triana

3:00 p.m.Panel: "Women Impacting Their Communities"
5:00 p.m.Sunset bike ride
8:00 p.m.Dinner and Varela Hermanos rum tasting
Hosted by Graciela Quelquejeu de Chapman P'80, '81, '83

Saturday, March 10 - El Valle

8:30 a.m.Ornithologist-led hike to waterfall
12:00 p.m.Poolside book discussion*: In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
1:30 p.m.Lunch and Café de Eleta tasting*

3:00 p.m.Rest time
4:30 p.m."Envisioning Walker's in the 21st Century" with Dr. Meera Viswanathan
8:00 p.m.Dialogue Dinner*

*At the home of Graciela Eleta '80

Sunday, March 11 - El Valle to Panama City

8:00 a.m.Coach to Tocumen International Airport (PTY)
Time TBDAfternoon private tour at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Monday, March 12 - Panama City (Optional)

6:00 p.m. -
8:00 p.m.
Join Head of School Meera Viswanathan at a reception for alumnae, educators and prospective families
Hosted by Caterina Henriquez de Bern '91

Look Who's Coming



Cecily Chilton Matthai, Trustee (Baltimore, MD)


Myrthia Moore (Coral Gables, FL, United States)
Marisia Jiménez (San José, Costa Rica)


Anne Callender Crawford (Milton, MA, United States)
Yolanda Eleta de Varela, Host (Panama)
Veronica Leger (Cambridge, MA, United States)
Felicia Lopez (Caracas, Venezuela)
Dr. Shelley Marks, Trustee (San Francisco, CA, United States)
Motria Procyk (Davidson, NC, United States)
Pam Safford (New Canaan, CT, United States)
Mary Bebel Schinke (Roxbury, CT, United States)
Amy Storrow (Washington, DC, United States)


Emily Eckelberry Johnson (Locust Valley, NY, United States)
Rocio Pellerano (Miami, FL, United States)
Tracey Reifler (Seattle, WA, United States)
Kit O'Brien Rohn, Chair, Board of Trustees (Darien, CT, United States)
Cynthia T. Vega (Coral Gables, FL, United States)


Ana Duran (Panama)
Ximena Eleta de Sierra, Host (Panama)


Carrie O'Brien Thomas (Cohasset, MA, United States)


Mari Aixala (Healdsburg, CA, United States)


Caterina Henriquez de Bern (Panama)


Daniela Diaz Heilbron (Panama)


Maribel Heilbron P'03 (Panama) - Thursday Reception Host
Graciela Quelquejeu de Chapman P’80, ’81, ’83 (Panama) - Friday Dinner Host

Other Members of the Walker's Community

Dr. Meera Viswanathan, Head of School (The Ethel Walker School)
Amy Wheeler, Associate Head of School (The Ethel Walker School)
Teresa C. Younger, Trustee (New York, NY, United States)
Gretchen Orschiedt, Director of Advancement (The Ethel Walker School)
Marion Paterson P'17, '19, Director of Alumnae Relations (The Ethel Walker School)


Dr. Meera Viswanathan, Head of School

Meera ViswanathanDr. Meera Viswanathan is a lifelong educator who holds her undergraduate degree, her M.A., and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Dr. Viswanathan was appointed head of The Ethel Walker School in July 2016 after a thirty-year career as an associate professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies at Brown University. While at Brown, she earned the Barrett Hazeltine Award for Outstanding Teaching and the John Rowe Workman Medal in the Humanities. She is the recipient of several National Endowment of the Humanities grants and awards. Dr. Viswanathan has studied and speaks a number of languages including Japanese, French, German, Latin, Classical Greek, Old English and Old Norse. Dr. Viswanathan and her husband, Dr. Eric Widmer, were asked by King Abdullah II of Jordan to establish the Middle East’s first co-educational college preparatory boarding school with financial aid which opened in 2007. There, she served as the school’s principal architect of the curriculum and dean of faculty. King Abdullah II personally awarded Dr. Viswanathan the King Hussein Medal, Jordan’s highest honor, for her endeavors.

Kit O'Brien Rohn '82, Chair, Board of Trustees

Kit O'Brien RohnKit O’Brien Rohn of Darien, Connecticut graduated from Walker’s in 1982 and from Dartmouth College in 1986. She double majored in Environmental Studies and Studio Art. Kit is currently Walker’s board chair. She has served on the board for four years during which she chaired the Head of School search that found Meera. She is the sister of Carrie O’Brien Thomas, class of ’84. Her mother, Katie O’Brien, is a past trustee and was a driving force behind the Save The Woods Campaign that ultimately protected Walker's 350 acres. Kit also serves on the Board of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, the first all-girls Horizon’s program in the country. Kit volunteers each spring and fall as a bird bander for CT Audubon. Before becoming a full-time mom of three, Kit worked in the 1990s for the National Audubon Society as an educator. She is a founding member of Conservation International. She is looking forward to sharing her love and passion for birds and seeing for the first time the birds of Panama!

Ximena Eleta de Sierra '83, Host

Ximena Eleta de Sierra

Ximena Eleta de Sierra (Class of ‘83) was born and resides in Panama City, Panama. She completed her undergraduate degree (Languages and Linguistics - Japanese and Asian Studies) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and her master’s degree (Curriculum and Instruction - Literature and Composition) at The University of Texas at Austin, with honors. She worked briefly as an English professor, as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations, as an independent college counselor for 20 years, and has danced professionally (aerial and contemporary) for the past 16 as a member of CIA Gramo Danse. Ximena is president of the board of directors of Fundación Gramo Danse, and founder and co-director of PRISMA–International Contemporary Dance Festival of Panama, now in its 7th edition. She is also member of the Georgetown Club of Panama Board of Directors, as well as of the National Theater Board of Trustees.

Yolanda Eleta de Varela '81, Host

Yolanda Eleta de Varela

Yolanda Eleta de Varela was born on December 16, 1963 in Panama. She completed her undergraduate studies in International Relations at Tufts University in Boston and graduated with honors "Magna Cum Laude". She has worked in the telecommunications industry for the past 25 years. She is currently president of Corporación Medcom and member of the Board of Directors of Cable Onda, S.A., Marketing Events and Grupo Eleta. Yolanda has been president of Special Olympics in Panama for more than 20 years, and belongs to the International Board of Special Olympics, Inc. She has also been a member of other social support organizations such as Asociación Pro Niñez Panameña, Operación Sonrisa and the Ann Sullivan Center.

Yolanda is currently leading the project Mi Escuela Primero, whose mission is to adapt the school infrastructure nationwide, through private public partnerships. Additionally, she has joined the Fundación Hazme Brillar, whose mission is to improve education and employment opportunities for young adults in Panama. She recently received “Luz de la Comunidad” Award from the Association of Businesswomen and Professionals of Panama. Yolanda has been awarded recognition as “Volunteer of the Year” by the United Nations, “Woman of the Year” by the Latin American Glamour Magazine and “Maria Ossa de Amador” Distinction by the Government of Panama.

Amy Storrow

Amy Storrow '81

Amy Storrow is a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State. She has served in Hermosillo, Mexico; Skopje, Macedonia; Riga, Latvia; and Washington, DC. Through the Una Chapman Cox Sabbatical Fellowship, she is currently studying meeting ecosystems in large organizations.

Dr. Shelley Marks '81, Trustee

Dr. Shelley Marks

Shelley Marks currently serves on the Walker's Board of Trustees and has been an active host and supporter of the school in the San Francisco area. She graduated from Walker’s in 1981 at the tail end of a long lineage of Walker’s Dials including her mother Virginia Backus Caulkins ’40, two aunts, Barbara Backus Jewett ’31 and Dorothy Backus Lunken ’38, as well as her first cousin, Virginia Backus Vanocur ’54. Her godmother, Susan Ford ’63, is a former Walker’s trustee. After three years at Walker’s, Shelley went on to double major in Art History and Neurobiology at Wellesley College. She then followed the path of her older brothers and moved to San Francisco where she was a research associate in the Neurology Department at UCSF prior to attending medical school at UHS/The Chicago Medical School. Shelley did her surgical training at UCSF and Stanford, serving as a Chief Resident at the latter institution prior to returning for her fellowship at UCSF in Minimally Invasive Surgery under the mentorship of Dr. Lawrence Way. Shelley has worked as a general and laparoscopic surgeon at The Palo Alto Medical Clinic since finishing her fellowship in 1999. For many of those years she served as Department Chair. Shelley has derived the most professional satisfaction from her involvement in the Stanford General Surgery Training Program. She has been deeply involved in surgical societies including serving as president of the Northern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons and the San Francisco Surgical Society as well as secretary/treasurer of the UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society. Shelley lives in San Francisco with her husband, Erik Gaensler, M.D., a radiologist, and their teenage son, Nicholas.

Teresa C. Younger, Trustee

Teresa C. Younger

Trustee Teresa C. Younger has served as President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, the oldest women’s foundation in the United States, since 2014. Under Teresa’s leadership, the Foundation launched #MyFeminismIs, a multimedia campaign sparking a national conversation on feminism; funded a groundbreaking report on the sexual abuse to prison pipeline; joined leading women’s foundations at the White House to announce a $100 million funding commitment to create pathways to economic opportunity for low-income women and girls; and led a campaign to hold the NFL accountable for violence against women.

A noted speaker, advocate, and activist, Teresa has been on the frontlines of some of the most important battles for women’s health, safety and economic justice. She was honored by Planned Parenthood Federation of America as a Dream Keeper, given Liberty Bank’s Willard M. McRae Community Diversity Award, and named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Philanthropy” by Inside Philanthropy. A graduate of the University of North Dakota, Teresa currently serves on the board of several philanthropic and advocacy organizations and initiatives, including: Grantmakers for Girls of Color (G4GC), Black Funders for Social Justice, the ERA Coalition, ACLU Awards Committee (2017), Essie Justice Project (Board Member), Funders for Reproductive Equity (FRE) (Board member) and Philanthropy New York (Board Member).

In addition, Teresa serves on the following boards and committees: the Ethel Walker School (Trustee), The Women’s Building (Advisory Committee), Women’s Campaign School at Yale (Board Member), the NYS Council on Women & Girls (Steering Committee), and Girl Scouts USA (Board Member).

Younger previously served as the executive director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and as executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut – making her the first African American and the first woman to hold that position.

Help Us Connect

We would love to share news of this special event with the alumnae listed below but we do not have current mailing or email addresses for them. Please let us know if you can help us connect with them!


Gerli Gahagan Carotti '51
Dora Wheeler Benegas '56
Maria Pino '58
Sylvia Weaver '58
Maria Rivero Nino '59
Raquel Ross '60
Lucy Baca Polit '71
Jocelyn Arellano '75
Melissa Murray Perez De Agreda '77
Isabel Agudo '78
Barbara Segovia '79
Gigi Oehninger Barros '80
Sylvia Muller '80
Beatriz De La Fuente '81
Julie Stenson Pryor '84
Annette Arellano Ampudia '85
Ana Rojas '85
Liliana Terrazas '85
Cavan Mahony '86
Maria Teran '87
Claudia Mathies de Rank '88
Luisa Mejia '89
Diana Grana '90
Muzaninn Wever '90
Gabriela Alvarez-Morphy '91
Aidalis Porras '92
Patricia Hill '93
Rosa Gabarron '94
Kiara Conde '00
Sofia Arias Francey '02
Anna Guth '02
Smruti M. Desai '05
Mar Fanjul '06
Maria Azcoitia '07
Maialen L. Echeverria '07
Ana M. Alfonso '10
Ariella N. Freund '10
Rocio Gonzalez Nogueira '13
Maria Luisa San Salvador Jauregu '13

Past Parents

Mr. Enrique Abellan and Mrs. Esther Solesio P'11
Mr. Gonzalo Azcoitia P'07
Mrs. Deborah F. de Arias
Mr. Cruz Echeverra and Ms. Veronica M. Larrea P'07
Mr. and Mrs. Carlos P. Escobar
Mr. and Mrs. Cristobal Gabarron
Carlos Grana P'90
Mr. Ignacio Herrero P'11
Paulina and Jaime Morales P'97
Mrs. Cynthia Nadal
Ms. Vilma R. Nadal
Delia and Gianfranco Paoli P'98
Dr. and Mrs. Juan R. Porras
Mr. Enriquillo Rivas
Kumar Samtani P'97
Mr. Manuel San Salvador and Mrs. Maria Luisa Jauregui P'13
Mrs. Enrique E. Soler
Sheila and Murli Thadhani P'97
Mr. and Mrs. Jose S. Valle Alvin F. Wever

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