Pennington began her career at Edward Jones’ Livonia office in Michigan as a financial advisor before later transitioning to St Louis headquarters and taking on various senior leadership positions.
Pennington is the sixth woman to lead one of America’s premier brokerages as the managing partner for Edward Jones Investments and leads an experienced team that helps clients transform their life plans into financial plans.
Early Life and Education
Pennington earned her Bachelor of Finance at the University of Virginia before starting work for Edward Jones as a financial adviser in Livonia, Michigan in 2000. Today she serves as its sixth managing partner, leading its Partnership by prioritizing long-term financial strength, healthy futures and inclusive growth as priorities.
Gretchen was raised in Nashville, Tenn. but has lived in St. Louis for 14 years with her husband and two children. Among other boards, she serves on those for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Washington University’s Board of Trustees in St. Louis.
Pennington makes sure she makes time for her team at Edward Jones, including Tina Hrevus – Tina is Edward Jones’ chief of staff and comes by Pennington’s office each evening to ask “how is your day going,” Pennington notes.
Pennington began her career at Edward Jones in 2000 as a financial advisor in Livonia, Michigan. By 2006 she had advanced to principal and moved to their St Louis headquarters where she held several leadership roles before ultimately being selected as managing partner – becoming their sixth in 99-year history and the first woman ever.
Pennington describes the work she and her firm are doing to “lift more people up.” Her focus areas include partnering for long-term financial strength, creating healthier futures and driving inclusive growth.
On this week’s Fortune Leadership Next podcast, Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt speak with Pennington about supporting employees during pandemic outbreaks, having “courageous dialogue,” and creating an inclusive work environment. Click to listen now!
Achievement and Honors
Pennington oversees Edward Jones as its managing partner, overseeing over 1,900 branch offices nationwide and offering three key areas of service: long-term financial strength partnerships; building healthier futures for clients and supporting inclusive growth.
Pennington was honored by Fortune with inclusion on their Most Powerful Women in Business list in 2023 and also serves as large-firm governor for FINRA.
Pennington credits Jim Weddle with being an inspiration in her approach to leadership at Edward Jones, particularly during the financial crisis. She admires Weddle for leading with optimism and resilience during that period of uncertainty.
Pennington and her family call St Louis home, and she is actively engaged with local organizations such as Greater St Louis Inc, Shakespeare Festival St Louis, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Washington University’s Board of Trustees – to name just a few.
Pennington began her Edward Jones career after receiving her degree in finance from University of Virginia. She quickly rose through the ranks as a financial advisor until 2006, when she was promoted to principal and moved into their St Louis headquarters. Since then, she has held senior leadership roles within training new financial advisors, branch and region development, client strategies and client strategies.
Pennington holds great respect for her firm’s history and legacy, while being passionate about supporting the efforts of her team members. According to their latest employee survey results, employees rated Pennington highly for her impactful leadership on clients, community involvement and culture.
Pennington provided four pieces of advice for women entrepreneurs as part of her Personal Board of Directors series, encouraging them to “boldly and bravely proclaim their passions,” rather than disqualify themselves based on technicalities or subject-matter expertise.
Pennington serves as Edward Jones’ sixth managing partner since its establishment in 1918. Together with her 50,000 associates across North America, she guides the firm’s strategic direction to help clients and communities flourish.
Pennington has made waves for her success as a female leader of a large brokerage firm, serving on both the board of directors and governors of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Pennington recently discussed the significance of mentorship for her career, telling Investment News about learning from Jim Weddle who preceded her as managing partner. Additionally, Pennington advised female colleagues to “boldly and courageously proclaim your passions,” and not exclude opportunities because of technicalities or subject-matter expertise.