Penny Collenette, O.Ont


Penny Collenette, O.Ont
Adjunct Professor

LL.B (Ottawa)
of the Bar of Ontario
Senior Fellow, Centre of Business and Government, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2002-2004)

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Professor Penny Collenette


From classrooms to boardrooms, from the Prime Minister’s Office to the prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government and now to our own University of Ottawa, Penny Collenette  ( has  enjoyed a unique career. Her footprint spans the worlds of business, academia, politics and public policy allowing her to research, write and comment on issues of ethics, corporate responsibility, governance and leadership. She is well known as a media commentator, often writes for The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, and is active on social media @penottawa.

Penny, a lawyer, is currently Adjunct Professor, Common Law Faculty of the University of Ottawa where she has created two new law courses. “Whistleblowing: The Busy Intersection of Law and Ethics” and “A New International  Corporate Reality:  The Business of Human Rights.”  

Past positions include Director of Appointments, Prime Minister’s Office (1993-1997). During her tenure, the number of federal female appointments rose over 10 percent in 4 years.  She has also served as Vice President, Chairman’s Office, George Weston Ltd (1998-2002), Senior Fellow, Centre of Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard (2002-2004) and Executive in Residence, Telfer School of Business, University of Ottawa (2002-2010). She was a Director of Holt, Renfrew for six years and was a founding Independent Director of an income trust fund.

Maclean’s magazine has called Penny one of Canada’s 50 Most Influential People. She has also been named as a Champion to the Top 100 Women list of the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) and The  International   Alliance of Women. She was inducted into the Honour Society of uOttawa’s Common Law Section in 2011 and was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.  On January 23, 2014, Penny was appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honour, alongside renowned film director, David Cronenberg, hockey great, Paul Henderson, pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. James Rutka, and 21 other extraordinary Ontarians. In her citations, she was described as a leader and innovator, an expert advisor on ethics, whistleblowing, corporate and public governance and a strong promoter of human rights.

Penny is Vice Chair of the United Nations Association of Canada. She is a tireless community fundraiser, especially for causes relating to women and to those living with disabilities. She is currently appointed to a National Advisory Council to encourage youth electoral engagement and she recently served as the Executive VP of the Harvard Club of Ottawa. She also served three years on the Advisory Council of the Eldercare Foundation and the National Committee of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.


  • CML4114JG - Whistleblowing: The busy intersection of Law and Ethics
  • CML4107: A New International Corporate Reality: The Business of Human Rights


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