My Story

I’m Carole Ann, and my mission is to help you navigate your work and your leadership with purpose and resilience.

I wasn’t always so clear on my purpose. My career path has been a journey of uncovering and deepening my understanding of how I want to contribute and make an impact and what strengths I bring to that work.

Five years after I graduated from Brown University, I was invited back to speak on a Life After Graduation panel. As I sat next to other young alumni with impressive job titles, I felt my heart fall down into my shoes. I was embarrassed by my post-graduation story, which felt less like a coherent narrative and more like a series of random events. The other panelists seemed so confident and accomplished.


Looking back now, I know that I was exactly where I needed to be, even if it didn't feel that way at the time—I needed a spark to ignite my curiosity for understanding what meaningful work and success mean to me.


So I sat down and wrote the first draft of my personal mission statement and core values, which became my navigation system—the Strategic Career Compass that guides me along my career path, helping me to make intentional decisions about next steps that align with who I am.


My Strategic Career Compass led me to become a Certified Professional Coach (CPC), to take initiative on new leadership responsibilities at my nonprofit that moved me up through 5 job titles in 7 years, and to participate in comprehensive training programs to hone my management and leadership expertise. In 2017, I left my full-time nonprofit position to create Penney Leadership and serve mission-driven leaders as they develop their own career paths.

This tool gives me the clarity, confidence, and purpose to make intentional decisions about my career path and how I show up as a leader.

Strategic Career Coaching for mission-driven leaders (21).png


I love this work.

I get to:

Fully nerd out about career and leadership topics—like how to transition into managing a former peer, how to pitch yourself for an internal promotion or a new job completely outside your industry, or how to reframe how you think about your strengths.

Help you uncover connections along your career path, so it seems less like a string of unrelated events and more like a cohesive expression of who you are and a set of useful, transferrable skills.

Listen to career podcasts and read leadership books like it’s my job—and share the best, most useful kernels of wisdom with you.

• Integrate my role as a mother with my career ambition in a way that works for me.

Guide you through a process to clearly articulate what drives you and use that to make purposeful decisions about next steps that align with who you are.


About me

CORE VALUES: Purpose | Growth | Connection | Curiosity | Heart

FAVORITE PODCASTS: Women at Work | How It Is | WorkLife with Adam Grant | Modern Love | Without Fail

BEST PIE RECIPE: It’s a toss up between Smitten Kitchen’s Triple Coconut Cream or Sister Pie’s Chocolate Coconut

MUST READS: Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer, Playing Big by Tara Mohr, & The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

GALLUP STRENGTHS: Connectedness | Learner | Maximizer | Individualization | Relator

Coaching Button.png




Carole Ann Penney, CPC, develops mission-driven leaders who are ready to take the next steps in their career development. Through 1:1 and group coachinginteractive workshops, and speaking engagements, Carole Ann's approach focuses on helping others navigate their leadership and career journeys with purpose and resilience. A seasoned speaker and writer on topics related to leadership and career development, Carole Ann is passionate about sharing new perspectives and tools that audiences can immediately implement to advance their work.

Carole Ann earned a B.A. in Education Studies from Brown University and certifications in Nonprofit Management & Leadership from Tufts University and Professional Coaching from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She mentors emerging leaders through Brown University's Women's Launch Pad and the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. When she is not coaching, she’s developing the most important emerging leader in her life—her four year old daughter, Avery Jean.

iPEC Certification.jpg