Tampa Bay Business Women Awards 2023: Penny Parks

Penny Parks leads 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 restructured more than $700 million in debt during the last recession.

Along with her husband, Class-A PGA professional Scott Yates, Parks formed Links Golf, in 2022, to purchase and rehabilitate two failing golf courses. Combining their experience and background, along with their passion and love for the game of golf, Parks and Yates are committed to the turnaround of Sugarmill Woods Country Club and Citrus National Golf Course.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THOSE CHALLENGES?

The industries in which I have been involved are not, necessarily, considered female friendly and, in many business settings, I have often found myself as the only female at the table or in the room. Better preparation, greater focus and tenacity have worked well for me. I learned from my mother never to give up.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST LESSON IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY?

One of the tenets of the game of golf is to always leave the course in a little better shape than the way you found it. A golfer knows to always rake the bunker after hitting her ball out of the sand trap, including someone else’s footprints besides her own. A golfer always repairs not only his divots on the green but any others he sees. Lost balls of others are always looked for by all in the foursome and any debris is picked up off the course.

My greatest lesson has been to approach life in the same way. My goal is to leave my business, my family, my community and my country in a little bit better shape than the way I found it.

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