L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Paula Otto

Senior Projects and Events Consultant

Scherer Hall, room 414 Phone: (804) 828-1146 Email: piotto@vcu.edu


  • Ethics
  • Leadership
  • Communications strategy


As a journalist, PR professional, college professor and agency head, Paula Otto has held senior leadership roles for 25 years.  She was part of the leadership team that created the Virginia Lottery 30 years ago and served as its executive director from 2008-2018.  In addition to nearly 20 years at the Lottery, Otto was a tenured professor and associate director at VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture from 1997-2008.  In 2014, Otto received the Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence from the Richmond Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) which "recognizes the achievement of a seasoned public relations practitioner who has made an ongoing commitment to the advancement of the profession."  In 2017 Otto was inducted into the Public Gaming Research Institute’s Lottery Hall of Fame and was named an honoree in the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Person of the Year program.  

After retiring from state service in early 2018, Otto formed OTC – Otto Training and Consulting – which serves both government and private clients. OTC is recognized by the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity as a small, woman-owned micro business.  Otto’s areas of expertise include leadership, ethics, strategic planning, issues management, media relations and public speaking.  Otto is currently an adjunct faculty member at VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture.   

Otto is also active in the community, volunteering with Community in Our Schools, Bon Secours Hospitals, Virginia Voice and the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  She has served as a lunch buddy and mentor at Westover Hills Elementary School for the past six years.