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Meet the LMD Board: Penny Leach, Content Buying Section Co-Chair

By Dan Bostrom posted 03-12-2021 11:04

Happy Friday! Today, we interviewed Penny Leach, Content Buying Section Co-Chair.  Penny and Co-Chair Joy Brandow McNally have big plans for the section! For Penny's complete bio, please scroll to the end.

Penny Leach.

What is your current role in the workplace?

Currently I am Head of Business Information Services (BIS) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Headquartered in London, the EBRD is a multilateral investment bank, investing in 38 economies across three continents. Most recently the focus has been on countering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on those economies; strategically we aim to become a majority green bank by 2025. My super multi-cultural team support the Bank's activity and strategy by managing direct access to 3rd party data and information, mitigating financial and reputational risk through our integrity research, and providing proactive and value-adding business research.

Why or how did you become a librarian/info pro?

I was a bookish child so libraries seemed a natural working place to gravitate towards. Originally I assumed I would be an academic librarian (my father was an academic), and my first roles were in that sector. However I was encouraged to try for a role in an law firm, moved over in to the commercial sector, and have never looked back!

Tell us a little about your history with SLA and/or LMD and why you took a role on the LMD Board.

I was very active in several other info pro membership organisations before I discovered SLA when I joined Goldman Sachs. My involvement was originally low key as I still lead one of the other groups. Then I decided it was time for a new challenge, rapidly stepped up my input, and became President of the European Chapter in 2008 (and helped it rebrand to SLA Europe). I then decided to do more on the Division side, and became Chair Elect and Conference Programmer for LMD in 2015 and Chair in 2016. I - frankly! - stepped back for a while from SLA before re-appreciating that there is more to gain by giving (rather than being a passenger) and returning as B&F Corporate Information Centres Section Chair last year. This year I am delighted to also be Co-Chair for the Content Buying Section of LMD.

What do you see as a key professional or organization challenge that you hope to address in 2021?

Like many of you I still learning how to live and work well in the same space all the time. I hope that a more hybrid working model, when (if) it becomes the 'new normal' later in the year, can successfully blend the benefits of 'on' and 'off site' working environments.

Do you have any plans or initiatives for LMD in 2021 you'd like to tell us about?

My Co-Chair Joy Brandow McNally and I are working now on plans for the Section event at the Conference, and also building up the presence of the Section on the LMD website to create a home for Section-related news and future events. Our primary goal is to sustain and extend the Content Buying Section. Being able to manage effectively access to external content for any organisation is a critical information professional skill, and we see interest across all sectors and entity types.

Finally, what's a little-known fact about you?

During the last year in lockdown I have been living near the south coast of Wales, which temporary relocation from Greater London has helped in overseeing the building of a new future home there.


Penny Leach is Associate Director, Head of Business Information Services (BIS) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. A qualified librarian, Penny started her career in academic libraries, including Durham University, King’s College London, and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. She then moved in to the commercial sector, first the legal sector becoming Vice-Director, Library Services, at McKenna & Co. (now CMS), then banking becoming BIS Business Manager at Goldman Sachs International. Penny joined the EBRD after a stint in the media intelligence sector as Head of Content at Gorkana (now Cision). She has held several extra-curricular posts in membership organisations in the information industry, including as President of SLA Europe and Chair of SLA LMD.