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Penny Smith

Director, Learning and Impact

Penny Smith is the associate director of the Early Childhood Leadership Academy (ECLA) at Erikson Institute and a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD). She sets the vision for, designs and implements capacity-building learning models that integrate applied learning, coaching, and cohort-based training for all programs under the ECLA umbrella. ECLA programs include the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows and the McCormick Foundation Executive Fellows. She designs curriculum and assessments that help shape the transformative impact that ECLA has on its participants and early childhood communities.

Penny served as a consultant for the Illinois Early Childhood Fellows (IECF) program until 2013 and served as the program manager for both IECF and the Illinois Senior Leaders program until 2015. Previously, she was a program manager at The Chicago Community Trust (the Trust), where she designed, implemented and managed two high-profile leadership development programs: The Fellowship in Arts & Culture Management program and the Chicago Community Trust Fellowship program.

Smith, a former industrial engineer for Cintas Corporation and Gap, Inc., has also been a consultant providing recruiting, process improvement, software training, and database design services to both private and public sectors since arriving to Chicago in 2000.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science degree in training and development from the University of St. Francis.