Technical know-how brings her VA job … 35 years in the past

Much has changed since Tauna Perenovich started working as an entry-level stenographer at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, but recognition of exceptional federal service – despite a pandemic – hasn’t.

Donald Koenig, director of VA Pittsburgh, recently honored Perenovich with a 35-year federal certificate of service and a pin on the Oakland campus (pictured above). Her family and co-workers couldn’t attend in person, but thanks to cutting-edge video streaming technology, they shared the moment.

During the virtual ceremony, the department heads highlighted Perenovich’s work ethic and accomplishments. She has worked as an education specialist, information technology specialist, secretary at VA Pittsburgh and as coordinator of the VISN 4 Leadership Development Institute.

“If I only had a dime for every time I had to read an award for her during a meeting,” said David Julian, Learning Resource Officer, and emphasized that she always “helps people who cannot be helped.”

IBM Displaywriter – 1980 – $ 7,895

Longevity is attributed to their pride in working for VA

“I remember my meeting with Tauna as if it were yesterday. How grateful she was for all of the opportunities VA has given her. And she took this opportunity, “said head of education Dr. Thomas Grau about their first personal meeting.

Grau compared Perenovich’s influence on VA health care to a quote attributed to American educator and presidential adviser Booker T. Washington: “There are two ways to use your power: one pushes down, the other pulls up.”

“Tauna embodies the second part of it,” said Grau.

The use of technology to celebrate Perenovich’s 35th anniversary is not surprising. She began her VA career as the computing industry continued to introduce computers, printers, and medical devices. However, Perenovich gained an edge over other applicants by studying specialist skills at the now-closed Bradford Business School in Pittsburgh.

Used 1980 word processor for food service menus

“I was hired because I was familiar with using the IBM Displaywriter word processor – with the large 8-inch hard drives – one to run and one to store files. The food service boss wanted to convert all of the job descriptions and patient menus, ”Perenovich said.

VA had three of the systems on the now-defunct Highland Drive campus in 1985 when it started. Now she works with a lot more responsibility and owes her success not only to knowledge of how to deal with the display writer, but also to VA employment benefits.

Former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff was in attendance when Perenovich was named “Federal Woman of the Year 1995” by the city’s Federal Executive Board for her professional initiatives and volunteering.

“We had the TAP (Tuition Support Program). It was a pot of money that they would hand out depending on the number of applicants. Sometimes we were lucky enough to get a hundred dollars, ”said Perenovich.

Even so, the money helped her earn a degree in business administration from Allegheny County’s Community College. She later earned her bachelor’s degree in health services management from Robert Morris University and a master’s degree in professional leadership from Carlow University – with a little VA help. However, understanding VA resources remains their strength.

“I’ve never been shy about asking about things”

“Read. Know. Inquire. The challenge is knowing who to ask,” Perenovich said, noting that HR and educational staff are good sources of knowledge for VA employees.

“Encourage newcomers to do what I did, if they use all that is given to them – that’s me,” Perenovich said. “Make sure you are aware of things. I was never really shy about asking things. “

Perenovich has taught hundreds of employees in the technology, leadership, and speeches required to do their jobs. While her most common training VA staff, she prides itself on her entry level computer classes for veterans in the VA Pittsburgh residence.

Teaches senior veterans computer literacy

“More than 300 veterans took part. It’s usually the older veterans – 45 and older – who need help. It’s really important, especially when looking for a job. We now do everything on the computer, ”said Perenovich. “At some point you have to sit down at a keyboard.”

As she pondered over 35 years of helping veterans and staff and the September celebration, she realized something.

“I like Dr. Grau’s reference to ‘pulling people up,'” Perenovich said. “I am very happy to give back to people, to care for them and to encourage them.”

Visit our Work With Us page for employee, volunteer, and healthcare training opportunities at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Army veteran Sheila Tunney is a public affairs specialist with VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

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