New York Times bestselling Author and ConsultantBook This Speaker
At A Glance
Following a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Wendell Potter left his position as head of communications for CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to help socially responsible organizations -- including those advocating for meaningful health care… Read more
- NATION ON THE TAKE: HOW BIG MONEY CORRUPTS OUR DEMOCRACY AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT
These days we hear a lot about our rigged political system. In this election year, an estimated $5 billion will be spent on the presidential election alone. But that’s only a part of the problem.
The role of money in politics has grown to the point that members of Congress now have to devote several hours every day dialing for dollars, time they used to spend serving their constituents. Most of the campaign donations these days come from large corporations, special interest groups and a handful of wealthy individuals, making the role of big money in politics more important than ever.
But how did we get here? What do we do about it? In this eye opening presentation, Potter answers both of those questions and connects the dots to explain how big money harms everyday Americans on a daily basis. He explores the direct influence of lobbyists for such industries as banking, mortgages, oil and other fossil fuels, pharmaceuticals, coal, and even food and beverages, and shows how this influence connects with our daily lives.
Just as important, he offers constructive ways to get out of this mess, revitalize our democracy, and create a government responsive to the needs of everyone, not just high rollers and billionaires, lighting a path forward that includes people from all walks of life and all political persuasions.
- What Was That All About? Lessons Learned From The Great Health Care Debate
As a true industry insider and the one TIME Magazine referred to as "the ideal whistleblower, " Wendell Potter offers a truly unique perspective on the issues health care, its uses (and misuses) of "spin", business ethics and many other timely topics. Committed to helping organizations (including those in the health care industry) gain trust and credibility with their customers, Potter’s candid, thought-provoking and entertaining remarks provide valuable tools every group can find useful. Potter’s extensive background in corporate communications, PR, marketing, politics and journalism gives audiences a rare chance to hear from someone who’s experienced all sides of the health care issue.
Potter is happy to tailor each talk for your needs and the Q&A session is sure to generate conversation and action long after the presentation.
Following a 20-year career as a corporate public relations executive, Wendell Potter left his position as head of communications for CIGNA, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, to help socially responsible organizations -- including those advocating for meaningful health care reform -- achieve their goals.
In widely covered testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee in June of 2009, Wendell provided testimony regarding the inner workings of insurance companies, including the insurance industry's successful efforts to develop and implement strategic communications plans, based on public relations, advertising and lobbying efforts, to defeat reform initiatives. Since then Wendell has testified before two House committees, briefed several members of Congress and their staffs, appeared with members of Congress at several press conferences, spoken at more than 100 public forums, and has been the subject of numerous articles in the U.S. and foreign media.
Wendell has been featured on many news and editorial programs, including on PBS (The Bill Moyers Journal and The NewsHour), MSNBC (multiple appearances, including on Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, David Shuster, and The Ed Show), CNN ( House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper 360, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer), HBO (The Bill Maher Show ), C-SPAN (Washington Journal) ABC (Good Morning America), CBS (The Evening News and The Morning Show), NBC, FOX, and the BBC, and on radio shows such as National Public Radio (Marketplace and All Things Considered), the Diane Rehm Show,Democracy Now!, Pacifica, and the Montel Williams Show. Wendell’s analysis has been quoted in many daily periodicals, includingThe New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, The Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, theChicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Herald, the Wall Street Journal, ProPublica, The Hill, and in local dailies, as well as by wire services, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg, and in weekly and monthly journals, such as the Columbia Journalism Review, TIME, Newsweek, Business Week, PRWeek, Rolling Stone, The Nation, The Progressive, Mother Jones, and GQ, among others.
Wendell currently serves as the Senior Fellow on Health Care for the Center for Media and Democracy, an independent, non-partisan public interest organization, and speaks out on both the need for a fundamental overhaul of the American health care system and on the dangers to American democracy and society of the decline of the media as watchdog, which has contributed to the growing and increasingly unchecked influence of corporate public relations.
At CIGNA, Wendell served in a variety of positions over 15 years, most recently as head of corporate communications and chief corporate spokesperson. Prior to joining CIGNA, Wendell headed communications at Humana Inc., another large for-profit health insurer. Before that he was director of public relations and advertising for the Baptist Health System of East Tennessee and a partner in an Atlanta public relations firm.
Wendell began his career as a reporter covering Tennessee business and politics for The Memphis Press-Scimitar, a Scripps-Howard newspaper, before being promoted to the paper’s Nashville bureau, where he covered the state legislature and the governor’s office. He was later promoted to the Scripps-Howard News Bureau in Washington to cover Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court, and also wrote a weekly political column. Wendell served as press secretary to a Tennessee gubernatorial candidate and as a lobbyist at both the state and federal levels. He received a B.A. in communications from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and did postgraduate work in journalism and public relations.
Wendell is accredited in public relations (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Club. Wendell serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of WhoWhatWhy.com.
The Ridenhour Book Prize honors an outstanding work of social significance from the prior publishing year. The prize also recognizes investigative and reportorial distinction.… Read more
Healthcare Whistleblower Wendell Potter: Why the Most Controversial Provision of the Health-Care Law Will SurviveNewsweek
Conservatives who voted for congressional candidates because they pledged to repeal and replace the health-care-reform law are in for a rude awakening. Once those newly elected members of Congress have a little talk with the insurance industry’s lobbyists and executives, they will… Read more
Wendell Potter has some issues with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare.” But the alternatives, he thinks, would be worse. “It does an enormous amount of good to force change on an industry that should have changed many… Read more
Your presentation, "The New World of Health Care: What's Really in it and How it Affects You" was well received and the evaluations were very positive." Some other feedback received included: -"Eye Opening" -"Very Interesting" -"Definitely opened my eyes and mind to the reform initiatives" -"Excellent!" -"Eye opening" -"Great information"Minnesota Hospital Association
Wendell was terrific…great content for our audience, very engaging and he was so easy to please. Very happy with the outcomes. Thanks to you and your staff for all the assistance!Association of American Medical Colleges