After graduating with a degree in Oriental Studies (Chinese) from Durham University, Penny joined ICI where she undertook a succession of commercial management roles – commodity trading, sales, marketing, overseas trade, and purchasing – for businesses serving a wide range of industries including fertilisers, explosives, dyes, synthetic fibres, and food processing.
For a two-year period between 1989 and 1991 she was seconded to ICI China as a Product Manager responsible for a number of businesses operating within the People’s Republic. And in 1998, Penny was seconded again – this time into the Department of Trade and Industry where she worked as a China Trade Advisor.
At the DTI, as well as supporting several Trade Missions, she also acted as a consultant to a number of organisations actively doing business in China including Astra Zeneca, Boots, Hepworth Minerals and Chemicals, ICI, Oxford Instruments, and SIMS Portex. On a more glamorous note, Penny also worked with the organisers of London Fashion Week to optimise the coverage of the event amongst Chinese fashion buyers and journalists.
At the end of the DTI secondment Penny left ICI and joined one of her client companies – Goppa Fireplaces – as Head of Marketing. The role, as well as taking Penny back into a generalist Marketing position, was also a distinct and deliberate move out of large organisations with an industrial bias into a small, consumer-facing business.
In April 2002 Penny became a Director of Green Lion. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and was a contributor to the
British Trade International audio-book “Doing Business in China”.