Women leaders: challenges, opportunities and experiences

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The City of Knowledge Foundation and IESA held the conference Women leaders: challenges, opportunities and experiences, on Monday, October 30 at the City of Knowledge Convention Center. Featured speaker was Ilya de Marotta, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Administration of the Panama Canal Extension Program, in an event moderated by Sigrid Simons de Muller, Director and co-founder of Women's Corporate Directors Panama (WCD).

Ilya de Marotta told the audience about her early training when she played guitar, did swimming and diving, and wrote plays for poor children in Casco Viejo. She commented how her parents always gave her freedom so that she could participate in various events and develop a sense of responsibility, which made her self-confidence grow.

Marotta took advantage of her primary and secondary education in a very open school where she could learn different cultures, something that prepared her to go to the US. to study marine biology under a scholarship by Fullbright. After realizing the scarce job opportunities of that career, she finished studying Engineering at Texas A & M where she was almost the only woman.

She decided on a career in the Panama Canal because of the great challenge represented by the work of managing its administration when it passed into Panamanian hands. She explained that "it is always important to be honest with what one thinks is right. If you have the knowledge then you need to have the self-confidence to be able to advance in the working world. You have to be an example for other people as it is what your children will learn from you."