CEO and Executive Management

To change outcomes you need to lead, not follow. Our CEO, Executive Management and committed team of professionals are dedicated to helping members achieve their best retirement outcomes. And, throughout your journey, we'll stand with you to create change, influencing the outcome of super issues that impact you most.

Debby Blakey
 

Debby Blakey
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Debby Blakey joined HESTA as the Executive for Member Advice in 2008 and held the role of Deputy CEO before becoming CEO in 2015.

Prior to this, she spent 12 years as founder and principal of an employee benefits consultancy.

Debby’s leadership of the $83 billion top-performing super fund for health and community services sector members is dedicated to creating positive outcomes for its more than one million members — 80% of whom are women, and a majority on lower incomes.

Debby’s vision and leadership has seen HESTA deliver Super with impact™ — supporting members to face the future with confidence, being a gutsy advocate for a fair and healthy community and delivering investment excellence with impact.

She is a strong proponent of a fairer financial system that prioritises the financial security of HESTA members and has led advocacy efforts for paid super on Commonwealth Parental Leave Pay.

Under Debby's leadership, HESTA was the first major Australian super fund to commit to a Climate Change Transition Plan, which is on target to achieve 'net zero' by 2050.

Debby is the President of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, a Director of the International Corporate Governance Network and founding Chair of the 40:40 Vision initiative — promoting gender equity at executive and Board level in ASX300 companies.

 


 

Lisa Samuels
 

Lisa Samuels
Chief Experience Officer (CXO)

Lisa joined HESTA in July 2015 and holds the role of Chief Experience Officer. Lisa leads the Experience team, responsible for member experience, member services and operations, brand, marketing, policy and advocacy.  

Prior to joining HESTA, Lisa worked for a number of industry super funds and has more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector. She is passionate about customer experience and building strong, sustainable brands that deliver on their promises to customers.  

Lisa was awarded a Women In Super Global Dialogue scholarship in 2010 and a FEAL Melbourne Business School Masters scholarship in 2011. Lisa was also the inaugural South Australian Chair of the Mother’s Day Classic, an annual fun run and walk raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research.  

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Applied Economics, Graduate Diploma of Marketing and a Masters of Organisational Leadership. She is also a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and a director of FEAL and Industry Super Australia. 


 

Sonya Sawtell-Rickson
 

Sonya Sawtell-Rickson
Chief Investment Officer (CIO)

Sonya was appointed to the role of Chief Investment Officer in July 2017. Sonya is responsible for overseeing the HESTA investment program and leads a team of investment professionals, working with the HESTA Board and Investment Committee, to develop the investment framework and strategy of the Fund.

Sonya has extensive experience in investment markets, including portfolio strategy and design, and has managed exposures across both traditional and alternative asset classes.

Sonya was previously an Investment Director at Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC). In this role she led a global multi-asset team, advising clients on investment strategy, overseeing portfolio management processes and activities across a broad range of traditional and alternative asset classes for portfolios in excess of $45 billion.

Sonya holds a Masters of Applied Finance, Bachelor of Arts (Economics & Political Science), is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia. 

 


 

Stephen Reilly
 

Stephen Reilly
Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Stephen was appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer in August 2015, and is responsible for ensuring that the HESTA operating model is a competitive differentiator in terms of cost effectiveness and the quality of services provided to members. He leads the development and coordination of digital innovation and integration, administration, insurance, outsourcing, strategic projects and technology.

Stephen is a proven leader, communicator and strategic thinker with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in industry and corporate strategy. Previous roles as a Principal with Booz & Company (now PwC Strategy&) and before that, with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have given Stephen a deep understanding of the game-changing challenges facing super and financial services. 

He is also a published novelist and former radio presenter on the ABC, bringing a creative and eclectic perspective to the strategic direction and operations of HESTA. 

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing and Finance from the University of New South Wales. In 2018, Stephen joined the board of the Mother's Day Classic Foundation.  

 


 

Andrew Major
 

Andrew Major
Chief Risk Officer (CRO)

Andrew joined HESTA in 2009 and holds the role of Chief Risk Officer. Andrew leads HESTA’s central team focused on enterprise risk management, regulatory change and regulator engagement.  

Prior to this, Andrew was HESTA’s General Manager of Unlisted Assets before being appointed to Chief Risk & Compliance Officer in 2020. Before HESTA, Andrew worked for the Macquarie Group, in investment banking and investment management, and in private legal practice. 

Andrew is currently a director of Basketball Australia. He has previously served as Chair of the Australian Investment Council, Co-Chair of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment Infrastructure Advisory Committee, and as a director of the Climate Bonds Standards Board and Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. He has undergraduate degrees in Economics and Law (both with Honours), a Masters in Applied Finance, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

 


 

Joshua Parisotto
 

Joshua Parisotto
Chief Engagement and Growth Officer (CEGO)

Joshua joined HESTA in January 2020 and holds the role of Chief Engagement and Growth Officer.

Joshua leads the Member Engagement team, responsible for seeking new opportunities to drive Fund membership and growth, and helping HESTA members face their financial future with confidence through education and advice.

Joshua is an experienced financial services executive with over 20 years’ experience in the industry across financial advice, compliance, practice management and para planning. Before joining HESTA, Joshua was Executive Manager Distribution at VicSuper and has held senior positions at a diverse range of organisations including Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, and IOOF.

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Business, Graduate Diploma in Management, Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning), Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) and is a Certified Financial Planner. He is also a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

 


 

Sam Harris
 

Sam Harris
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)

Following his appointment to Chief Growth Officer in 2022, Sam moved into the role of Chief Strategy Officer in November 2023. 

Sam is responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of integrated strategies aligned with the purpose and ambition of the Fund. This includes leading the development of insights and business intelligence to inform business and product design processes, and sophisticated and commercially focused frameworks. 

Sam is also responsible for HESTA’s People and Culture, ensuring we have the right capability and environment to bring our strategy to life and achieve the best outcomes for our members.

Sam has more than 15 years’ experience in the superannuation sector across customer experience, service design, market research, business intelligence and data science. He has held senior relationship management, product and operations roles with Superpartners, REI Super and HESTA. Sam is completing a Master of Business Administration (in progress) and holds a Graduate Certificate of Management and Diploma of Financial Services (Superannuation).

 


 


 

Natalie Kelly
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Natalie joined HESTA in May 2024 as Chief Financial Officer. She is responsible for managing the financial, tax and accounting processes, legal matters, facilities and corporate sustainability, and HESTA’s project execution and governance teams. 

Natalie is a seasoned senior executive with 20 years of experience across the finance, insurance, healthcare and Government sectors. Her roles have included people leadership, financial management, business operations, strategy, data and analytics, fraud, contract management and project delivery.  

Natalie holds a Master of Commerce (Economics) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics Honours). She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and completed the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Program. Natalie is also a Board Director at St Andrew's Private Hospital and a long-time supporter of MS Angels (which supports research into multiple sclerosis).