Isabel Varela

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Isabel Varela

Senior Engagement Manager


Isabel is a Project Manager with the Client Services Team. She oversees Cook Ross’ client engagements dealing with diversity and inclusion, cultural competency, Unconscious Bias, and leadership development.

Isabel has a background in international relations, diplomacy, and social and economic development. Prior to Cook Ross, she was the Ambassador’s Assistant and Public Affairs Officer at the Embassy of Cabo Verde, her native country, in Washington, DC. Isabel has lived, worked, and volunteered with organizations in Portugal, Canada, and the US including Oxfam Canada, the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability, and the Genocide Prevention Network with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation. She is passionate about women’s and children’s issues.


Isabel holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Lisbon Technical University, Portugal, a certificate in web publishing from the University of California San Diego (UCSD), and a certificate in project management from Georgetown University. She speaks fluent English, French, and Spanish in addition to her native tongue of Portuguese and Creole.

In Her Own Words

What do you do (in 5 words or fewer)?
I strengthen partnerships with Cook Ross’ clients

If you had a time machine, what historical moment would you rewrite?
The discoveries: in my version, it would have been a true moment of discovery  – of cultures, flavors, animals, plants, etc)  – not of conquer and destruction.

What is your biggest fear?
That fear dominates all other emotions.

What gives you hope?
People being kind to other people and living beings.

What is your dream travel destination?
Island, calm and blue sea,  preferably accompanied by good food, wine and music

Tell me about the happiest you’ve ever been.
Very Easy: giving birth to my daughter.

What’s your favorite way to spend a rainy afternoon?
If it’s tropical rain, outside enjoying the warm raindrops. If it’s the other rain, staying dry.