Penny was born and raised on an island in rural Alaska and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, earning a dual Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Spanish. Growing up in the Arctic, in a state that is around 90 percent reliant on the oil & gas industry to fund its budget, the energy industry was an area Penny was drawn to. She has worked in U.S. state and federal government, multilateral organizations, and international and national petroleum companies. Penny earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 2014, with a Certificate in International Business Diplomacy. She was elected to serve on the board of the Georgetown Energy & Cleantech Club as the Vice President for the School of Foreign Service.
Prior to her current job, Penny worked as Deputy Director of the Institute of the North, a research institution that acts as an advocate and convener, elevating the voices of Alaskans in state, national and international arenas. Institute of the North works closely with the Arctic Council, and also hosts the biennial Arctic Energy Summit. Penny currently works at the State of Alaska in economic development policy, promoting responsible natural resource development statewide, and economic diversification across sectors. Penny is committed to public service, responsible economic development, intercultural understanding, and youth leadership in energy issues and the Arctic.