TWU announces Dr. Ann Elizabeth Penner as Executive Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre

Trinity Western University is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ann Elizabeth Penner as Executive Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC), the University’s branch campus and renowned leadership program in Ottawa, ON.

"Centres of excellence attract individuals with talent, intelligence, focus, and purpose. Moreover, the ongoing growth and distinction of places like Trinity Western University's Laurentian Leadership Centre require the presence and stewardship of exemplary leaders," President Mark Husbands expressed. "I am thrilled that Dr. Ann Penner accepted the invitation to serve as the Executive Director of the LLC. She brings a terrific portfolio of professional experience in government, the private sector, and international and global affairs to this post. I know that Ann's considerable academic and professional expertise, personal warmth, and authentic expression of faith and calling will impact the lives of Trinity Western students in remarkably positive ways."

“Executive leadership at the Laurentian Leadership Centre requires an extraordinary combination of academic expertise, strong network of government and business connections in Ottawa, a heart for student care, adeptness in communication and administration, and a vision for faith-integrated leadership training," Provost Todd Martin remarks. "In her role as Interim Director over the past year, Dr. Ann Penner has exceeded our expectations in all these areas. We are so pleased that she has accepted the appointment to be Executive Director of the LLC, and we look forward to the education and equipping that she will continue to bring to students and future graduates.”

Dr. Ann Penner holds a PhD in Canadian Politics and Comparative Politics from Carleton University. Just after finishing her doctoral dissertation in international trade dispute settlement in 1996, she joined Agriculture Canada’s trade policy division and spent 10 years helping to shape Canada’s agricultural trade policy and participating in trade negotiations, including at the World Trade Organization in Geneva. From 2006-2012, she founded and led a communications consulting firm, providing a range of communications-tools to senior government officials. In 2013, she was appointed as a Member of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, where she decided many complex cases in the areas of trade remedies, procurement, customs, and excise appeals as a sole adjudicator, a presiding member of a panel, and member of a panel. In the service of government and private sector firms, Dr. Penner continues to provide strategic and expert advice in the areas of trade policy, trade negotiations, and trade adjudication. 

Dr. Penner has taught upper-year and graduate level courses in the areas of international trade law, trade negotiations, Canadian law, public policy, advocacy, and leadership at two Canadian universities. In 2019, she began teaching at TWU, where she served as Professor and Interim Director of the Laurentian Leadership Center from August 2021–June 2022. Following Dr. Janet Epp-Buckingham’s retirement after 16 years of remarkable service, Dr. Penner began her role as Executive Director of the LLC this fall. As Executive Director, Dr. Penner draws from the wealth of her experiences in academia, government, and adjudication to prepare TWU graduates with the necessary and practical skills to thrive in their chosen professions.

This fall, the Laurentian Leadership Centre celebrates 20 years of faithfully pursuing its mission to equip students to thrive in the public square. Hundreds of alumni have benefitted from the leadership training, mentorship, networking opportunities, and internship experiences that the LLC provides. 

Speaking on the occasion of the LLC’s 20th anniversary, Dr. Penner remarks, “When I look back over the LLC’s history, one thing comes to mind: the LLC’s record of excellence in preparing the leaders of tomorrow from a faith-based perspective.”

“Time and time again, I hear professionals in Ottawa comment on how LLC students and alumni shine in their vocations and lead their colleagues with a servant’s heart. What a wonderful legacy the LLC has had. And what a wonderful legacy the LLC will continue to have, as it continues to equip students as they move from the classroom to the public square.”

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ann Elizabeth Penner as Executive Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

About the Laurentian Leadership Centre

The Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC) is a live-in extension program in the heart of Ottawa. There is no other program in Canada that offers the same access to a variety of elite field placements in Ottawa in a wide range of workplaces including politics, advocacy organizations, NGOs, media organizations, and private sector firms. The program is geared towards third- and fourth-year students or recent graduates interested in experiential learning. The LLC runs in the Fall and Spring semesters and is open to TWU students of all majors. Learn more at the Laurentian Leadership Centre.

About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is a global Christian liberal arts university. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four locations in Canada: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. Learn more at or follow us on Instagram @trinitywestern, Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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