Penny Pennington Elected Chair of Danforth Plant Science Center Board; New Directors Include Blunt, Burlin

ST. LOUIS, MO., January 17, 2023The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced today that Penny Pennington has been elected chair of the Danforth Center Board of Directors. Pennington, managing partner of Edward Jones, first joined the Danforth Center Board in 2015. She currently serves on the board’s executive, and previously served as chair of the finance committee and vice chair of the board.  

“Penny has been one of the most effective and tireless advocates for the Danforth Center,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Carrington. “We are grateful that she is contributing her inspiring leadership and considerable talents as Board Chair.” 

“The Danforth Center mission – improving the human condition through plant science – aligns with our purpose at Edward Jones to partner for positive impact to improve people's lives and better the communities we serve,” said Pennington. “I look forward to working with the Danforth Center board and staff to build on the vision established by Dr. William Danforth to feed the world and heal the planet.” 

Also elected to the board were two new directors, Senator Roy Blunt and Johannes Burlin, co-CEO and co-Founder of Tilia Holdings, LLC.

The Danforth Center Board provides oversight and governance to ensure that the nonprofit plant science institute operates lawfully, ethically, and productively. Directors serve four-year terms in which they share valuable insights and best practices from their own organizations and advocate for the Danforth Center mission in the community. 

“Our directors are essential to the success of the Danforth Center,” said Carrington. “Each director brings unique experiences and abilities. We are honored to work with them.”

Meet the New Chair

Penny Pennington is the managing partner of Edward Jones, a leading financial services company dedicated to helping its eight million clients turn their life plans into financial plans. Pennington began her career with Edward Jones as a financial advisor in 2000 after a 14-year career in banking and was named a principal in 2006. She held various leadership roles in the firm's St. Louis home office before being named managing partner in 2019. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Pennington was named No. 69 on the Fortune Most Powerful Women. In addition to her service at the Danforth Center, she serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis.

Penny Pennington

Meet the New Directors

Senator Roy Blunt has led a distinguished career with more than four decades of service to Missouri and the nation as an elected official, government executive and legislator. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 and the U.S. Senate in 2010.  Senator Blunt has advised Presidents and represented the United States government in key regions of the world with foreign leaders. Recognized for his unique ability to drive solutions, he was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Majority Whip earlier in his career than any Member of Congress in eight decades and was elected to the Senate Republican leadership during his first year in the Senate. Before being elected to Congress, Blunt served as a chief county and state election official and university president. In addition to his service at the Danforth Center, he is also president of board for the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Senator Roy Blunt

Johannes Burlin

Johannes Burlin is co-CEO and co-Founder of Tilia Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm that focuses exclusively on investing in companies that provide services in the food supply chain. Burlin has 25 years of professional experience as an operating executive, including most recently serving as President and Operating Partner of Safe Foods Holdings International, LLC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. In addition to his service at the Danforth Center, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Johannes Burlin

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education, and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and through the generosity of individual, corporate, and foundation donors. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.

For more information contact: Karla Roeber, VP Public and Government Affairs,