May 10, 2019
The Ethel Walker School is pleased to announce Yolanda Eleta de Varela as its 2019 Commencement keynote speaker.
Yolanda Eleta de Varela, a member of Walker’s Class of 1981, has worked in the telecommunications industry for the past 25 years and currently is president of Corporación Medcom. She is a member of the board of directors of Cable Onda, S.A., Marketing Events and Grupo Eleta. De Varela is president of Special Olympics Panama and a member of the Latin America Strategic Advisory Council of the Special Olympics Board of Directors. She has been a member of other social support organizations including Asociación Pro Niñez Panameña, Operación Sonrisa and the Ann Sullivan Center. De Varela completed her undergraduate studies in International Relations at Tufts University where she graduated magna cum laude.
De Varela currently is leading Mi Escuela Primero, a project with the mission to adapt the school infrastructure throughout Panama through private-public partnerships. She also has long been a volunteer supporting inmates in women’s prisons by providing them with opportunities to acquire job skills and by showing them a “nice touch of human kindness” through her generous contributions of personal hygiene products, food, gifts and holiday decorations to enhance their living conditions. She joined the Fundación Hazme Brillar whose mission is to improve education and employment opportunities for young adults in Panama.
“We are thrilled to have Yolanda, or Yoli as she is known to us, join us for commencement this year,” said Head of School Meera Viswanathan. “Yoli is a fierce advocate for girls education and more specifically, she has dedicated her life to ensuring that children of all abilities have broad access to education and the pursuit of higher learning.”
De Varela recently received the “Luz de la Comunidad” Award from the Association of Businesswomen and Professionals of Panama and has been awarded recognition as a “Volunteer of the Year” by the United Nations, “Woman of the Year” by the Latin American Glamour magazine and the “Maria Ossa de Amador” Distinction by the Panamanian government.
Walker’s 107th Commencement is Sunday, June 9, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.