Commencing her role with WSP in April, Penelope Twemlow joined us as our Principal for Environment, Health & Safety.
With 10 years’ experience in the compliance and governance arenas and an additional 10 years in the Royal Australian Navy, Penelope has worked across the transport, mining, construction, energy and environment sectors. She says, “Growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer and once my time in the Navy came to an end, I wanted to make a difference to high risk industries where workplace safety can be an issue.
“I enjoy challenging the traditional ways of thinking when it comes to understanding and identifying the difference between right and wrong, and I get most pleasure working on projects that are dynamic in size and design. I started and ran my own business from 2008 until now to ensure that I can make a genuine impact on these kinds of initiatives.
“Utilising my skills and qualifications, I have travelled around Australia and to parts of Africa and Europe helping to educate employees and manage some of the highest risk projects around the world.”
Ambitious is not a strong enough word to describe Penelope. In addition to running her own consultancy, she was previously the CEO at one of her previous firms as well. She adds, “Success to me is about reaching my potential. I want to lead teams and do aspire to reach the CEO level again. Having only just begun in my role, success right now for me is about achieving outcomes for clients by creating sustainable and safer workplaces.”
If first impressions last, we can consider ourselves lucky. Penelope says, “At WSP, I have been impressed by the firm’s inclusive and family-like culture and the far-reaching systems we have in place to ensure client solutions are successful, efficient and effective.”
A winner of the Telstra Business Women’s Award for Queensland in 2016 and a Runner-Up in the Prime Minister’s Award for 2019, Penelope uses her personal story to help make a difference to people’s lives.
“I am a survivor of domestic violence and I suffer from mental health issues as a result of being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder,” says Penelope.
“One of my key pieces of advice to people is that every breakdown can be a break through – and I am passionate about using my story to help other people, particularly women, find their inner strength in the face of adversity. I wholeheartedly believe that we are all more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.”
As a national Ambassador and keynote speaker, Penelope positively educates community on mental health and domestic violence, helping to overcome the stigmas attached to each and ensuring personnel who suffer are able to receive the support and assistance required. To this end, she addressed an engaged the WSP audience at our Brisbane office in 2018!
As if she hadn’t already achieved enough, in 2015, Penelope and three empowered and like-minded females formed the not-for-profit organisation, Women in Power. Originally aimed at the electrotechnology industry, the organisation has broadened its membership to encompass people from all walks of life. Its mission is to advance and empower people to be the best versions of themselves.
Representing the group as a keynote speaker for various events and seminars, Penelope is an advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and offers coaching, mentoring and training sessions for everyone from children to students and corporates.
She adds, “I’m passionate about advancing the interests of females in industry. To me, the issue is not a gender issue – it is a human rights matter. Equality means diversity of people, culture, age as well as fairness of opportunity and pay. I encourage women to be loud, to be heard and to be part of the bigger team that makes the industry a better place for tomorrow.”
She concludes, “I can easily say that I’m passionate and absolutely love what I do. Seeing people reach their potential and helping to make a difference is really what it all comes down to.”
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