Penny Lawrence

Penny Lawrence

Penny Lawrence was deputy chief executive and programmes director at Oxfam GB 2006-2018. Having learnt so much about how difficult it is to successfully lead change in a large charity, Penny has used her new found time to reflect, read and chew over with others how they see the future for big international development charities.

Penny joined Oxfam in March 2006 as international programmes director, the strategic and operational lead for Oxfam's programme teams, across 60 countries, who respond to humanitarian crises, engage in long-term development and address the causes of poverty through advocacy and campaigning around the world.

Penny is chair of Refugee Action. She previously served as chair of the global NGO humanitarian network, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), and also sits on various advisory committees, eg at Oxford University, the Centre for the Study of African Economies and sustainability advisory bodies, eg IKEA, Unilever.

Penny started her career as a teacher and was International Programmes Director at VSO before joining Oxfam. She has over 30 years experience in the development field and has lived and worked in Sudan, Zimbabwe and Ghana as well as the UK.

Twitter: @pennylawrence
LinkedIn: Penny Lawrence 


Swirl of barracuda
11 December 2018
Penny Lawrence looks at the structural and cultural changes multi-mandate NGOs can make to keep up with future trends.
Fish on coral on Great Barrier Reef
8 November 2018
Oxfam GB's former deputy chief executive discusses the challenges facing big international development charities and shares her insights into how they can remain relevant.

Conference sessions


Can the largest NGOs in our sector truly be international, multi-mandate and agile?



Tue, 03/19/2019 -
13:45 to 14:45
Lead strand

In this session, we’ll examine the data on gender inequality and interrogate the barriers we need to overcome for a more equal balance in our sector’s leadership.



Tue, 03/19/2019 -
15:15 to 16:15
Innovate Session
Innovate header

Finding new ways of working that balance risk and reward is crucial to any organisation’s success in today’s climate.



Mon, 03/20/2017 -
11:15 to 12:45