Taking A Stand For Ethics: Exposing a nationwide wait list scandal.

September 22, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Online Event

In recognition of PRSA's Ethics Month in September, the Cleveland and Akron PRSA Chapters are hosting Paula Pedene, APR, Fellow PRSA and recipient of the National Public Relations Professional of the Year award. 

Paula was one of the first whistleblowers at the Phoenix VA. In 2010, she collaborated with Dr. Sam Foote in exposing funds mismanagement and a hostile work environment that eventually led to the exposure of the nationwide secret wait list scandal.

Tickets are $10-$15 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.  Click here to purchase your tickets. 

Presenting Sponsor: 

About Paula L. Pedene, APR, Fellow PRSA

Paula L. Pedene, APR, Fellow PRSA holds the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) highest honors, including the PR Pro of the Year Award, the Western District Platinum Service Award and five Silver Anvil Awards for Institutional Programs, Reputation Management, Public Service and Community Outreach. She is a member of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards.

Pedene was one of the first Whistleblowers at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System. In 2010, with Dr. Sam Foote, they were able to expose funds mismanagement and a hostile work environment. The VA Office of the Inspector General sustained their allegations. When new leaders arrived, they retaliated against Pedene, removing her from her role as a VA Public Affairs Officer, where she had performed admirably for 23 years. They stripped her of her title, her office, her email, and phone and banished her to the basement library. While in the library, she saw the VA Wait Time Scandal unfolding and was able to convince Dr. Sam Foote and other trusted colleagues, to once again expose the corruption. The disclosures were so horrifying; they forced the resignation of the VA’s Secretary, the Under Secretary for Health and others.

After the scandal became national news, she was able to win her whistleblower case with thanks to the Office of Special Counsel and her legal team who negotiated on her behalf. As part of that settlement, Pedene continued her VA public relations counsel as a federal employee from October 2014 until her retirement on May 1, 2020, where she left the federal sector honorably with 40 years of service.

Pedene now serves as the Executive Director of the nonprofit Honoring America’s Veterans (www.honoringamericasveterans.org). Here she collaborates with the HAV board to accomplish their mission “To help veterans heal as they reintegrate back to society from their military service.” She also serves on the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade team, which creates the parade with more than 45,000 attendees. She is a guest columnist for the Arizona Republic with The Veterans Voice Column, and she is the author of the book Veterans Day which is her personal story of tragedy and triumph as a VA Whistleblower.

Pedene is married to William Pedene, and they are blessed with two sons. She has a hereditary eye disease, which causes tunnel vision, and she is a disabled Navy Veteran. She attributes her success to a supportive family and her faith.

Tickets are $10-$15 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Click here to purchase your tickets.