Penny Pullan – Keynote Speaker

Renowned Expert in Virtual and Hybrid Leadership

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Penny Pullan Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Hybrid Leadership
  • Creative Collaboration for Our Time
  • Making Virtual Meetings Work
  • Are you leading in this virtual world, or just working remotely?


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: ‘Virtual Leadership: Practical strategies for success with remote or hybrid work and teams’, now in second edition. Penny works with leaders and teams who are grappling with the challenges of our new world, to enhance collaboration and effectiveness across dispersed and hybrid teams. Over the last twenty years, Penny has built and rolled out her Virtual Leadership model globally, along with collaboration tools and techniques. Clients say: ‘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 COVID19 lockdowns, demand from Penny’s work came predominantly from leaders in multinational companies grappling with tricky projects across dispersed teams. Since March 2020, her expertise and advice have been sought by leaders across industries across the globe, as they realise that remote and hybrid work are here to stay, and achieving excellence 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 her latest summit had thousands of participants from 81 countries, a record. Her previous books include: ‘Making Workshops Work: Creative collaboration for our time’ (PIP, 2021), ‘Making Risk Management Work: Engaging others to identify, own and manage risk’ (Routledge, 2023), ‘Business Analysis and Leadership: Influencing change’ (Kogan Page 2013). She is a co-author of the current edition of ‘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 studying part-time for a Durham University MA in Theology one day a week.

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