HESTA CEO wins top industry award

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HESTA CEO Debby Blakey has landed a prestigious award in recognition of her achievements in leading the $46 billion industry superannuation fund.

Ms Blakey was named 2018 Fund Executive of the Year at a ceremony in Sydney.

She is the 17th winner of the award, organised by FEAL, the professional development body for super fund executives.

“It really is an honour to be recognised by FEAL — an organization that does so much for leaders in our industry, with the ultimate aim of delivering a better retirement for all Australians,” she said.

Ms Blakey said the recognition was reward for a “team effort” at HESTA, which manages the financial futures of more than 850,000 members.

“They spend their working lives supporting and helping others — they’re nurses, aged care and community sector professionals and early childhood educators. It’s a privilege to serve them by advocating for their interests and safeguarding and improving their financial future.”

Ms Blakey started at HESTA nearly a decade ago, heading up the health and community service fund’s advice team before becoming Deputy CEO.

Since taking over the top role in March 2015, she has championed calls to make Australia’s superannuation system fairer for women and the lower paid. Her promotion of gender diversity has led to HESTA being named an Employer of Choice by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for the past two years, while she has been a WGEA pay equity ambassador since 2016. 

Seeking to adapt to a rapidly-changing business environment, HESTA has continued to pioneer innovations in its responsible investment approach under Ms Blakey’s guidance, and recently became one of the first funds to adopt an Australian stewardship code.

“Debby is dedicated to delivering positive differences for the financial futures of her scheme’s members, as well as driving positive change in the industry as a whole,” FEAL Chief Executive Joanna Davison said.

“Alongside successfully leading HESTA, she has contributed to industry discussions and displayed commitment and advocacy across the financial services sector, with her achievements in promoting diversity being particularly commendable,” she added.

Read more: HESTA fighting the ‘silent killer’ 
Read more: HESTA battles for women’s super savings 

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