Penelope Thornton Talley is the Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for The Executive Leadership Council. She is accountable for the overall membership strategy and experience delivered to ELC members. Penelope is responsible for designing and activating CXO strategies, leveraging best practices, prioritizing a membership viewpoint in decision-making processes and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) to drive improvement, eliminate friction and ensure products and services align with membership needs. She is also charged with overseeing the solicitation, acquisition and maintenance of sponsorships for membership programs.
Penelope is an attorney, professor, and senior executive with over twenty-five years of leadership experience. Her extensive career has included the successful performance in the non-profit, start-up, government and corporate sectors.
Before joining The ELC, Penelope served as the first Chief Operating Officer of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG). She was responsible for day-to-day operations of the agency, its people, systems and resources. Penelope is credited with implementing systems and improving operational performance and efficiency, including successful fiscal management and strategic leadership of the agency’s COVID- 19 response plan.
Prior to OAG, Penelope served as Interim Chief of Staff for the Deputy Mayor for DC before being recruited to Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to serve as Chief Performance Officer. There, she earned distinction for exemplary integrity in the development, turnaround, management and oversight of the agency’s nearly $1 billion federal and state grant programs while exponentially improving customer service. Her work there was recognized by premiere consulting firm, Alvarez & Marsal, to be replicated at the national level.
Penelope spent nearly a decade at AARP, where she was promoted to SVP of Operations and Support Services. Her corporate experience included recognition for substantial cost savings including litigation cost control, contract negotiation and coverage interpretation and successfully managing teams of international attorneys, contract administrators and proposal developers.
She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond, a MBA from Johns Hopkins University and is a licensed attorney in the State of Maryland.
Penelope is known for her infectious personality and a commitment to community service. She has participated in Leadership Maryland, Leadership Greater Washington where she also served on the Board of Directors, and The Executive Leadership Council’s (ELC) Strengthening the Pipeline program for Mid-Level Managers. She currently serves on the board of Two Rivers Public Charter School and DeMatha Catholic High School.