Paula I. Otto was a Virginia Lottery gamer long before the first ticket was sold in 1988. She was a member of the original team of people who worked to build the Lottery from scratch (literally and figuratively). The start-up team worked long hours to get the first shipments of tickets and games to retailers for that first day of sales. As the Lottery’s first Director of Public Affairs, she was a prominent player, helping to shape and protect the Lottery’s public image.
In 1997, Ms. Otto left the Lottery to accept a faculty position at Virginia Commonwealth University, eventually rising to the position of Associate Director of the School of Mass Communications. Eleven years later, in February of 2008, she was tapped to lead the Lottery as Executive Director in its 20th birthday year ' and beyond.
With the unique experience of having been there at the start, Ms. Otto understands how the Lottery occupies a place in Virginia’s infrastructure that straddles a line between government and business. Since taking over as Executive Director, she has fostered strategic planning within the organization to optimize the amount the Lottery raises for Virginia’s K-12 public schools, while maintaining the Lottery’s reputation for integrity, innovation – and best of all – fun!
Ms. Otto grew up in Arlington, Virginia. She graduated with a degree in Journalism from West Virginia University and earned a master’s degree in Public Communication from American University. She worked as a television news anchor in West Virginia and later with WTVR-TV in Richmond before joining the Lottery. She and her husband Dan live in Hanover County. If asked what her feelings towards the Lottery are, she’ll likely reply, “I’m game!”