Dr Penny Pullan is a renowned expert in Virtual and Hybrid Leadership. She’s the author of
the bestseller and CEO Today Top 5 book for lockdown: ‘Virtual Leadership: Practical
Strategies for Getting the Best Out of Virtual Work and Virtual Teams’. Penny works with
leaders and teams who are grappling with the challenges of our virtual and hybrid world, to
enhance collaboration and effectiveness across dispersed and often newly formed teams.
Over the last nineteen years, Penny has built and rolled out globally her Virtual Leadership
model, facilitation tools and techniques, achieving stunning results, working with
organisations such as Robert Half, Astra Zeneca and the UK Government.
‘Penny’s virtual leadership ideas are easy to implement and have transformed my
effectiveness and that of my team.’ They find that clarity, connection, collaboration and
confidence grow when they apply Penny’s methods.
Penny’s experience of virtual and hybrid teams began when 9/11 forced her to run a major
programme virtually, rather than starting with a two-week kick-off in New York as planned.
Through this sudden, unplanned immersion in virtual work, Penny showed that virtual could
work for global programmes, despite the limitations of technology at the time. Her
employer at the time was Mars Incorporated, where Penny developed Mars’ first guidelines
and training for remote teams. Later Penny set up her consultancy, Making Projects Work
Ltd, where she mentors individuals, runs masterclasses, advises project and leadership
teams, and speaks internationally, all from her base in the middle of England.
Until the lockdowns of March 2020, demand from Penny’s work came predominantly from
leaders in multinational companies grappling with dispersed programme and project teams.
Since March 2020, her expertise and advice are being sought by leaders across industries
and across the globe, as they realise that working virtually is here to stay, and achieving
excellence in it is essential for their businesses to flourish. She is frequently asked for
articles and has been invited to appear on national TV and radio.
Penny founded the annual Virtual Working Summit in 2010 and this year’s virtual summit
had participants from 81 countries, a record. Her next book focused on collaboration:
‘Making Workshops Work: Creative Collaboration for Our Time’. Previous books include:
‘Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing change’ (Kogan Page 2013), ‘A Short Guide to
Facilitating Risk Management’ (Gower, 2011) and a chapter in ‘The Gower Handbook of
People in Project Management’ (Gower, 2013). She is a co-author of the upcoming
‘Managing Successful Programmes’ (TSO, 2020) and a past chair of the Association for
Project Management’s Special Interest Group in Programme Management.
To complement her virtual leadership expertise, Penny has pioneered the use of simple
visuals for virtual communication. During her initial engineering training, she learnt to use
diagrams and visuals to capture the essence of a problem, and continued to do this in
business. Penny’s graphics provide a holistic, visual, overview and help with clarity of
communication. These engaging graphics feature in her talks – she was the first person to
retain over 97% of people to the very end of an APM webinar. She has helped hundreds of
people to develop competence and confidence in using simple visuals to communicate with
clarity, both in-person and virtually.
Penny was honoured to be one of the first dozen people worldwide to be given the
‘Certified Professional Facilitator – Master’ designation. Her PhD in Nanotechnology and MA
in Engineering are both from Cambridge University – she is a Chartered Engineer, along with
holding a number of other certifications and qualifications. She lives with her family, adult
children and a handful of fish in a market town in the centre of England. When she is not
busy at work or writing, she spends her time learning the violin, cultivating cucumbers and