Vana Lavidas



Alumna Profiled: Vana Lavidas
Graduated: DEREE ’79
Lives in: Athens, Greece
Current Position: Chairman of the Board, MDA-Hellas

"Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about."

VANA LAVIDAS was born in Athens and studied Economics at DEREE from where she graduated in 1979. She continued her studies at the University of La Verne where she earned an MBA. In recent years she has devoted herself to philanthropy and social work. She is the chairman at the Board of Directors of MDA Hellas, an association for the care of people with neuromuscular disorders, which she founded in 2000. She is the mother of four children, spending most of her spare time with her family, but also trying to find time to enjoy sports such as karate and running.


Q.: What are three enduring lessons you learned during your studies at DEREE?

  • Persistence – Never give up
  • Endurance – Wait for the right moment
  • Tidiness  – Always work methodically

Q.: Describe DEREE in three words.

  1. Liberal
  2. Interdisciplinary
  3. Challenging

Q.: One of your favorite DEREE memories?

One of my favorite memories is my first computer course. DEREE as a pioneer by that time had introduced a computer science course which took place at “Scholes Doxiadis”. I can still remember the huge server room and all of us working from terminals. Having in mind the fact that computer technology had just arrived in Greece, the experience was more than exciting. Nowadays, a computer is an essential tool that everyone is familiar with, but at that time it was very innovative.

Q.: What do you miss most from your days at DEREE?

Despite the fact that we had to undertake responsibilities, develop skills, adjust and respond to the challenges, we were still carefree.

Q.: Where was your favorite spot on campus?

My favorite spot on campus was the cafeteria. In it you could get a glimpse of the entire student body.

Q.: Who was your favorite professor and why?

Anastassios Papaligouras was my favorite professor. His class Greece in the Common Market helped us realize the challenges, the advantages and the risks of Greece’s admission in the European Economic Community. He was an inspiring man with a sense of humor, a capacity to touch his audience and hold its attention.

Q.: Have you kept in touch with any of your classmates?

When college is over and new obligations emerge, it's hard to keep in touch with all your classmates. Nevertheless I am really lucky because some true friendships lasted in time and I am glad that now we can still gather and look back at these innocent years with nostalgia.

Q.: How did DEREE help prepare you for your professional life?

DEREE taught me time management. I believe that if you want to succeed, you need to learn how to properly manage your time. It helped me learn how to rely on myself, be my own manager and regulate my own time successfully.

Q.: What's the greatest piece of advice you've ever received?

Never quit going after your dream.

Q.: What (or who) inspires you most?

The children of MDA HELLAS always inspire and motivate me to become a better person and to fight to make this world a better place.

Q.: Your motto in life?

Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about.

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