Managing Partner at Edward Jones
Penny Pennington is the managing partner of Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 financial services firm. As sixth managing partner in the firm's 99-year history, Penny is responsible for the firm's strategic direction, working together with more than 49,000 associates across North America to make a positive impact in the lives of Edward Jones' clients, colleagues and communities. She was recently named No. 34 in her third appearance on the Fortune Most Powerful Women in Business list.
Penny began her Edward Jones career in 2000 as a financial advisor in Livonia, Mich. In 2006, she was named a principal and relocated to the firm’s St. Louis headquarters, where she held various leadership roles.
Penny earned a bachelor's degree in commerce with a concentration in finance from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a graduate of Wharton’s Securities Industry Institute and is a CFA® charterholder.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Penny now calls St. Louis home after relocating from Michigan 14 years ago with her husband, Mike Fidler, and two children. She is an active member of the St. Louis community, serving on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, United Way of Greater St. Louis, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees, the Whitaker Foundation and executive committee of the Chair's Council for Greater St. Louis, Inc. Penny also actively champions Edward Jones' national presenting sponsorship with the Alzheimer's Association.
Why We Chose Her:
This employer has been known for tempering long work hours with rewards that help employees relax and have fun — with family. COVID-19 has temporarily curtailed some of those recreational activities, but the company is committed to bringing back such popular perks as the baseball game tickets and regular overnight family retreats it provided to give employees an opportunity for down time with those they love — once it is safe to do so.
Its managing partner, Penny Pennington, is responsible for the firm's strategic direction, working together with more than 49,000 associates across North America to make a positive impact in the lives of Edward Jones' clients, colleagues and communities. She was recently named No. 33 in her second appearance on the Fortune Most Powerful Women in Business list. “Partnering for positive impact is about more than programs, it's about investing in people, and making a difference in their lives for the long term,” she says.
“Our firm was founded on the core values of working in partnership and respecting and valuing the contributions of each individual — and those core values never change, although our ways of working did in the pandemic," says Kristin Johnson, the company’s chief human resources officer. "The unique circumstances of this past year have, in many ways, helped unite our firm in our purpose to improve the lives of our clients and colleagues and, together, better our communities and society. We are working together to create a deep sense of belonging where our associates can make a meaningful difference.”
The company is apparently living up to its intent, as evidenced from the positive reviews recently posted on job site Glassdoor by Edward Jones employees: “They very much value their employees. Maternity leave and time off is amazing.” “Flexible working schedule, manage your own time.” “Edward Jones is a fantastic place to work. The value associates and listen and respond to feedback to improve. As a LP they don’t have to make decisions with shareholders in mind and can lead the business in a way that best fits the client AND associate.”
“Creating a culture that allows an organization to reach its peak potential, while also providing an environment where employees feel free to bring their best selves to work, doesn’t happen by chance. It’s an evolving landscape and the work is never done,” says Johnson, on her company blog. “If a company’s organizational structure, systems and processes make up its hardware, its culture and behaviors are the software. Both elements have to work together as a single system for the company to achieve its purpose and ambition.”
Johnson continues: “At Edward Jones, culture is our heart and soul, an amalgamation of our purpose and values brought to life through our thoughts and our actions. Firm culture manifests itself in the way we show up, think and act. In many ways, it’s like a tree. Our history, core values and purpose are the roots of that tree; these elements are constant and position us for strength. Above the ground level are the ways we work, think and act – and these things will evolve over time as we bring our purpose and values to life in service of our clients, colleagues and communities.
“During an unprecedented event such as the pandemic, it’s important to ensure that associates are feeling supported at all times, and that can be done in a number of ways -- for example, offering additional paid time off, waiving deductibles for the treatment of COVID-19 and providing guidance for families struggling to balance childcare, at-home learning and work. In addition, we provided our financial advisers the tools they needed to stay connected with current and prospective clients virtually.
“Looking at the impact of the pandemic more broadly, it has truly amplified and reinforced the role of business in society. It has also increased understanding that businesses need a prosperous, healthy society to sustain themselves -- and that we have a role to play in supporting that society through a purpose that goes beyond profits. While there’s a lot about the future we don’t know, we can say with confidence that leading with purpose and culture will generate the best results for all stakeholders.”
Putting this philosophy into practice has earned Edward Jones a designation as a “Best Place to Work” and recognition here for contributing to the Social Capital movement.
Tenure at Current Position
|Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, M.B.A.; University of Virginia, B.A. in Commerce