Penny Rock’s career spans a diversity of fields and interests. As a teenager and young woman, she excelled in music, singing opera and playing classical piano with the Minnesota Symphony. She entered nursing to create a mobile career that would support her study of opera. She specialized in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. The Army gave her a scholarship which supported her musical endeavor, with a vague promise that Germany, the hot-bed of opera, would be a likely posting. Soon after joining the Army, however, she was sent to Vietnam, where she served for thirteen months in a field hospital during the worst times of the war, including the Tet Offensive. Her life was constantly threatened – one time she was shot in the back by snipers while she was saving the life of a child. Throughout her time in Vietnam she was continually exposed to Agent Orange, her hospital being in the area most heavily sprayed with the toxic poison. Her voice was another casualty of her service in Vietnam. Because of an infection, common in that part of the world, she lost her ability to sing.
Upon her return to the States she entered public service at the county level in California, spending nearly two decades leading turnarounds in Health and Human Services, Criminal Justice, and Forensics. She taught classes providing medical CEUs for professionals in medicine including hospital and school nurses, educators, and criminal justice professionals. During that time, she earned BA and MBA degrees in Business, Leadership and Organizational Development.
She then moved into the private sector, becoming an International Executive Consultant and Coach. Over a career spanning more than two decades Penny worked with CEO’s and Senior Teams in such companies as: British Telecom; Bell Atlantic; Blue Cross; Chase Bank; Discover Card; Hewlett Packard; International Truck and Engine; Cummins South Africa and Ghana; the Philadelphia Orchestra, a variety of Health and Hospital Systems, Nuclear Science organizations, and many others. Throughout her business career she was a recognized leader in the dynamics of healthy thinking. The foundation of her methodology is her belief in the unlimited potential for greatness that resides in each human being. “Unleashing and having faith in our innate wisdom mobilizes us to create a healthier home, business, and world community.”
All these experiences provided material for an extensive career in speaking and writing. Her life experience as a Vietnam War Veteran and Breast Cancer Survivor enhanced her ability to inspire others as a Keynote Speaker and Workshop Leader through her belief that “Each person has the ability to transcend and benefit from any life experience.”
Penny’s Vietnam War experiences were featured in the Academy Award nominated documentary film “A Healing.” She is the inspiration for Normi Noel’s play “No Background Music”, originally produced by Shakespeare & Company in August 2006. Adapted for BBC Worldwide Radio, it premiered in September 2005, and won the Sony Gold Drama award 2006; Penny was portrayed by Sigourney Weaver.
Penny is the author of the groundbreaking Executive Leadership book Power of a Clear Mind: The Direct Link Between Your Leadership State of Mind, The Decisions You Make, The Actions You Take, The Results You Get. She is also the author of He Called Me Lieutenant Angel: A Love Song From War, We Declare: The Truth About War and Our Responsibility for Peace, and Freeing The Music, all of which are available as audiobooks in her own voice. She has recorded the audio CDs Power of a Clear Mind and The 8 Essential Ingredients of Healing. She is currently recording the play, The War Got in the Way.