20 Questions with Penny Parks

Links Financial is an organization that has completed a combined total of $2 Billion in debt financings and capital raises for small to midsize companies, as well as successfully restructured over $700 Million in debt during the last recession.

Prior to founding Links Financial, Parks’ banking career included senior positions with Bank of America, Northern Trust and the Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S. subsidiary.

She was the 2020 chair of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay. She also serves in numerous capacities at the University of Tampa, including chair of the UT Board of Fellows, a member of the Board of Trustees and the Dean’s Advisory Board for the University of Tampa Sykes College of Business. She currently serves as a board member of the Greater Tampa Chamber, a Copperhead Board Member for the Valspar PGA Tournament and a University of South Florida Women in Leadership & Philanthropy member.

1. College alma mater? 
My undergraduate degree is from Wake Forest University and I have an MBA from the University of Tampa.

2. Last book you read?
Lisa Unger’s Confessions on the 7:45. I love to read and have stacks of books I’m waiting to enjoy. Lisa Unger is a local author who writes these wonderful mystery thrillers and her latest was no exception. She was so gracious to participate, recently, in my book club meeting and share with us how she develops her story lines and characters.

3. Last place you vacationed?
Pinehurst to play golf with my husband and good friends. 

4. PC or Mac?

5. Guilty-pleasure food?
Anything sweet.

6. We’ll find you on the weekend doing?
Playing golf.

7. Biggest fear?
Not living up to an expectation – mine or someone else’s.

8. Proudest moment?
Starting my own business fifteen years ago. I have helped so many people start a business, save their business and/or sell their business.

9. Dream dinner companion? 
Warren Buffett. I have so many questions I would love to ask him.

10. Any pets?

Piper is my, almost, 15 year old rescue West Highland White Terrier. He’s been a great co-worker this past year.

11. Who did you last text?

My sister, Beth Hoogland – she loves to text!

12. What is your cellphone wallpaper image?

A picture of my husband and me at a charity fundraiser.

13. What do you listen to in the car?

Country music.

14. What is your go-to drink order?

Champagne or hearty red wine.

15. Favorite candy?

Dove dark chocolate.

16. Do you suffer from Primenesia (the act of ordering from Amazon and forgetting about it.)?  Not with Amazon, but I order so many books from Barnes & Noble it’s crazy.

17. Pool or beach?


18. Charity you support?

The Tampa Bay Wave. The start-up community is so important to our region’s long-term success.

19. Favorite childhood memory?

I grew up in the Washington D.C., area, where the local news was the national news. I was so fortunate to meet the Queen of England, tour the White House, eat lunch in the Congressional Dining Room and attend the Watergate trials.

20. Words of advice?

Never ever give up.

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