Yes! She made it out of the basement…some may recall the tragedy that hit the Phoenix VA in 2014 when Veterans were left waiting for care. It was whistleblowers who exposed the “VA wait-time scandal” and Phoenix PR Pro Paula Pedene was in the middle of the storm.

After 24 years of stellar PR work for VA, a new leadership team banished her to the basement library to try to keep her quiet and punish her for past disclosures where she spoke out on behalf of Veterans. Although their efforts failed, Pedene had to face a nearly two-year battle to survive while trying to maintain her PR reputation.   She turned to the PRSA Western District for help. They needed a leader and she needed a chance to maintain her PR skills while working as a library clerk. It worked.

Pedene went about building her PR board team by pulling them all together from three different states for their retreat. They looked at their member research, listened to it and developed a three year strategic plan. They refined their bylaws, communicated clearly and decisively and engaged their members. Based on this synergistic effort, the PRSA Western District recently recognized her with the Platinum Service award.

“I was so touched to receive this award because it came from a challenging time in my life where I had to persevere and grow. My PRSA colleagues stood beside me through all of it. For that I will be forever grateful, “ she said.

In 2015 PRSA recognized Pedene as the PR Pro of the Year for her whistleblowing activities.

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