Until recently she served as a senior economic advisor, handling the Euro and Greek Economic Crisis, to two Greek Governments (2009; 2015) in 2015 she also served as the Special Envoy for Negotiating the Greek Sovereign debt and lending program of Greece. Elena worked directly with 3 Greek Prime Ministers and the Minister of Finance, as well as EU and IMF high-level officials, lenders to Greece. In 2015 she was appointed the Alternate Director to the IMF of Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Albania and San Marino, from which position she resigned the same year after strong political pressures. In 2009 she was appointed honorary Member of the Hellenic Parliament until 2012.
While at the World Bank, Elena spearheaded several new structural reforms; including property rights reform. She was recognized with honors and awards for her unique contribution to transform crisis stricken markets/economies people who live in informality, receiving International Best Practice and Innovation awards; only from the reform application in Peru, over 17 Million people benefited while the investment return exceeded the 200 multiple.
As an economist she pioneered social entrepreneurship, she is known for her success in transforming informal markets into vibrant, growing formal economic and social entities. Her book Prosperity Unbound: Building Property Markets with Trust (Palgrave Macmillan) recounts her experience and expands on her methodology- “Reality Check Analysis”, which is considered a practical application of institutional economics.
She is the founder of Panel Group, a triple-bottom-line business that focuses in the informal sector, transforming the wealth base of poor property holders, to proud middle class owners. She has also founded Thought4Action, an Action Tank that works as an educational foundation to create awareness and calls for action, about transforming countries under solvency, economic crisis and informality. Elena Panaritis has taught economic development, housing finance and property markets reform courses at the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, INSEAD, and the Johns Hopkins University- School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
She is a frequent commentator in international media (English, Spanish, and French)