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Episode 18 Reclaiming your power with Penelope Twemlow

By June 25, 2023No Comments

Imagine if your most challenging journey became a mission that would change the world…
Penelope Twemlow made a huge life shift building a career after the navy. While, publicly, Penelope did all she could to keep it together. Privately, she was fighting a battle that no one knew anything about. 
In a candid conversation with our host Lauren, Penelope shares her remarkable journey from joining the Navy, to fighting a war behind closed doors, to today where she encourages women to reclaim their power.

As a renowned speaker, author, and national ambassador for organisations focused on domestic violence, mental health, and veteran support, Penelope is a shining example of how your life — and the world — can change when you make the decision to summon your courage and build the door you need.
In this episode, we speak with Penelope about:

  • Where her motivation comes from, and how she’s able to juggle a busy life and career. 
  • Her transition from military to civilian life — and the support available for veterans. 
  • The darkest moments in her health battle (and the importance of an inclusive society); and
  • What her toughest days taught her about legacy.
  • Penelope holds nothing back in this conversation. Join us and let’s start Building Doors…

04.28: Penelope talks to Lauren about what it’s like to juggle a busy life and career

  • Penelope’s inherent drive and motivation have shaped her character from a young age. Growing up as a twin with an elder sister and brother, she embraced healthy competition. This mindset propelled her to constantly strive for personal growth and excellence, fostering a continuous drive for self-improvement.

05.55: Lauren asks Penelope why she chose a career in the Navy

  • Upon seeing an ad on TV that enticed individuals to “Join the Navy, travel the world, and get paid to do it,” Penelope’s immediate reaction was, “I can do that.”
  • Despite enduring lengthy separations from family and loved ones, the Navy helped her gain unique skills, experiences, and qualifications that set her apart from those outside the defence force. She even learned how to drive and reverse parallel park a warship before knowing how to drive a car.

15.25: Lauren asks Penelope to talk about her biggest challenges during the transition period

  • It took time to rediscover herself and her new purpose.
  • Coping with the loss of a military identity caught Penelope off guard, and she discovered that many transitioning veterans face the same struggle. The key to overcoming this is gaining a deep understanding of personal passions, likes, and dislikes, and actively pursuing one’s dreams.

18.50 Lauren and Penelope talk about what support is available to those who are transitioning back into civilian life

  • Pre-transition, the military offers various services like resume assistance, interview etiquette, and career planning through dedicated support agencies. Post-transition, organisations like the Department of Veterans Affairs and support networks offer guidance and access to additional support. Specialised employment agencies aid veterans in finding meaningful civilian employment.

21.34 Penelope and Lauren talk about mental health

  • Because of her defence force service, Penelope has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder.
  • Having a mental health disorder is literally a chemical imbalance in your body. It does not mean that you are any more or less significant than any other person. It doesn’t mean that you are any more or less human than any other.
  • Penelope provides support in the mental health space. One that is an open, unbiased, non-judgmental forum for people to talk.

30. 45: Lauren talks to Penelope about her passion for inclusion

  • Seven years ago, Penelope co-founded Women in Power alongside three remarkable women.
  • Their objective is to create a platform for women to connect, share ideas, expand their networks, and stay informed about various industries. Their vision is to empower women for the future workforce, increase female representation on Fortune 500 boards, and promote more women in senior leadership roles.
  • Penelope’s aspiration with Women in Power is to emphasise that anyone, regardless of gender, has the right to pursue their desired path. Success depends on one’s abilities, skills, motivation, and passion.

41.30: Lauren wants to know what legacy Penelope wants to leave in the world

  • Penelope believes that every breakdown has the potential to become a breakthrough, emphasising the importance of embracing our human nature.
  • Encourage acts of kindness and generosity.
  • Pursue a path in life that makes you happy and proud.

50.00: It’s the rocket-round time and, this time, gin makes an appearance.

You can connect with Penelope on LinkedIn

About your host: 

Lauren Karan, Director and Founder of Karan & Co

With over a decade of experience as a recruiter and development coach, Lauren Karan found that her priorities rapidly changed after the birth of her two children. In 2022 she founded Karan & Co flipping the out-dated recruitment model with a focus on retention through career coaching and development. 

Lauren believes that If opportunity doesn’t knock, you have to build a door – and it’s this same philosophy that inspired her to create the Building Doors podcast.  The Building Doors podcast is for anyone undergoing a transformation in their life. Regardless of whether you feel stuck in your current role, need some inspiration on what steps to take next, want to learn how to level up as a business owner or simply want to listen to the experiences of successful entrepreneurs and industry professionals, the Building Doors podcast is all about unlocking your potential.

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Time to stop waiting and start building…

In case you missed it:

You can listen to our previous episode here


👋 To say hello, provide feedback, or express interest in a guest appearance on The Building Doors Podcast get in touch with us at

Produced By The Podcast Boss

Lauren Karan

Lauren Karan

Lauren has over 12 years’ experience as a Technical and Engineering specialist recruiting in the building and civil construction markets. She holds a degree in psychology, accreditation in behavioural interviewing and psychometric testing and is also a certified organisational coach. Lauren is the Director, Recruitment Specialist, Certified Organisational Coach of Karan & Co.