About Penelope

Following a diverse career in journalism, public affairs, and international development spanning 17 countries, including long stretches in Afghanistan, Greece, Peru, and the Philippines, I turned my energy to screenwriting to become a part of the most powerful machine for education through storytelling.


My “hat collection” has accumulated over the decades and includes: print reporter, editor, bureau chief, foreign correspondent, speechwriter, public affairs counselor for a giant electric utility, communication director for USAID, Asian Development Bank, and UN projects, executive director of a fisheries non-profit, and VP of an agroforestry consultancy.


I raised four children as a solo parent, mostly overseas, and fostered a toddler for two years (he was subsequently reunited with his family). But before kids, I was an adventurer: traveled, crewed the South China Sea yacht race, sky and scuba-dived, surfed and sailboarded, and spent a year pounding a manual typewriter on an off-grid tropical island. (I know a lot about coconuts.)


I published a children’s book, Stop! Don’t Eat Me, about Fair Trade chocolate, and spearheaded multiple projects for women, including cultivating edible flowers in Peru, prison visitation in Manila, and support for social entrepreneurs.


As writer/director/executive producer, my credits include the documentaries: Light, God’s Eldest Daughter, about an island lit by solar power; Mindanao Now, positive news in a post-conflict region; and Welcome Back, chronicling a resurgent bald eagle population in southern Ontario. I've produced several mini-docs for non-profits and, more recently, an educational series in Farsi advocating irrigation management to improve security in Afghanistan.


I continue to study everything I can about screenwriting. My film education includes Peter Raymont’s “Filmmaking with a Purpose,” Robert McKee’s “STORY” and “Television Genre” seminars, Industrial Scripts’ “Write The Great American TV Script,” and half a dozen master classes including one by my hero, Aaron Sorkin.


In 2018 I was commissioned by Producer Kelly Frazier of Culmination Studios to rewrite a "based on true events" comedy, which is currently in development with Netflix. (I can't tell you the name yet, but it's hilarious!) In 2016, my dramedy screenplay A Brand New Year was a semi-finalist in Screencraft’s mentorship competition, Second-Rounder at the Austin Film Festival, featured in Spotlight on Screenwriters and is being discussed by Voyage Media and Culmination Studios. What Would Elena Do? (2018), cowritten with my writing partner, actress Scottie Thompson, with whom I am also developing a television series is also making the rounds. Scottie and I are currently (2019) working on Hashtag Healed, a family drama/comedic series set in Hawaii.