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Penny Lawrence

Penny combines operational and strategic leadership experience in large international development charities with organisational development skills and a life-long commitment to social justice. She was Deputy Chief Executive at Oxfam GB until March 2018 leading on strategy, organisational change and governance. As Oxfam GB’s Programmes Director 2006 – 2014, Penny was strategic and operational lead of Oxfam’s programmes in over 60 countries and Oxfam’s humanitarian crisis response teams.

She has led on various cross-sector collaborations to tackle poverty and has worked with businesses such as IKEA and Unilever as well as the UN and governments on issues such as equitable supply chains, humanitarian relief coordination and women’s rights. Prior to Oxfam Penny was Programmes Director at VSO. She has over 30 years’ experience in international development Penny has lived and worked in Sudan, Zimbabwe and Ghana as well as UK.

Now an executive coach, independent consultant and applied researcher, Penny has published ‘Whither large INGOs?’ – research on the changing role of INGOs in our more polarised, digital age. Penny is currently convening action research in 5 INGOs on ‘Why are there are so few women CEOS and Chairs in INGOs?’ Penny also shares some of her thinking and learning through blogs, including Practical tips on Leadership in NGOs in COVID-19 crisis

Penny has a keen interest in governance. She has been a trustee and Chair of ICVA (International Council for Voluntary Action), Vice Chair of Bond and a trustee of TransAid. She is currently very proud to be Chair of Refugee Action and Chief Adviser for ‘Fair share of Women Leaders’ campaign. She is an active member of the Association of Chairs. She also volunteers for Citizens Advice in Oxford.