We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Pedene and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
As a public relations practitioner, we actually have a Code of Ethics in the association I support which is called the Public Relations Society of America. These values include advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness. Of these values, I find independence to be the most important. By being independent, it means that as public relations practitioners we provide objective counsel to those we represent. It also means that we are accountable for our actions. Providing independent and objective counsel is one of the most delicate values to navigate because it means that we will tell management what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong from a public relations point of view. How a PR practitioner does this is critically important. I remember one year when I conducted a survey of employees and it showed a decline in morale. Fortunately, I had asked some follow-up questions in our primary research that gave us insight as to why this might be occurring. I was able to objectively present this to our leadership team and we were able to take those results and those perceptions and work on ways to improve them. Fortunately, our management team at the time placed value on the morale of our organization. By using the public relations value and voice of independence, and providing objective counsel we were able to improve our efforts the next year.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I recently became the Executive Director of Honoring America’s Veterans, a nonprofit that helps our veterans heal by recognizing them for their service to our country. I am most proud to serve as their first Executive Director. This was a long and winding road that came about after nine years of volunteer efforts, where I would fill the gap between serving as the Parade Coordinator and help the HAV Board accomplish its goals. We had many challenges to start including the potential loss of our parade, but our team persevered and made us a success. I think it is important for people to understand that most success that people achieve isn’t built overnight. It takes years of dedication, service, commitment, and compassion to the mission. Of all my efforts, I think that persevering, when others tell you no and keeping your sight on the goal through faith and good works, is an important part of who I am today.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since we have a week, I would take them to both Steele Indian School Park and the Heard Museum. Steele Indian School Park is important to me because I worked at the Phoenix VA for 20 years and I was able to help in the efforts to support the building of the park and Memorial Hall. We would hold events there and we worked with them on community partnerships. The Heard Museum allows us to learn about the history of our land which I also think can help us to garner perspective. I also love to see the beauty of nature at the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the Desert Botanical Gardens. Lastly, I’d end our visit with a day at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Well & Being Spa. It is such a gorgeous place of respite and rejuvenation and the surroundings and customer service are first class all the way. I’d cap our evening sending off with a dinner at La Hacienda followed by a fabulous decaffeinated Mexican Coffee.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Cutlip Center and Broom, Effective Public Relations The Public Relations Society of America for offering a Code of Ethics VA Senior Leaders John Fears, Paul West and Dr. Gene Ross for embracing employee values. Former VHA Chief of Staff Larry Connell and former VA Senior Advisor Darin Selnick for supporting independent values in a time of massive change while implementing the VA MISSION Act in 2019.
Other: personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulapedene/
Bill Pedene Photography Photo courtesy US Navy