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.


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Debby Blakey - CEO

Debby Blakey was appointed CEO of HESTA on 2 March 2015, and is responsible for leading the $43 billion industry fund dedicated to the health and community services sector. 

Debby joined HESTA in 2008 as an Executive leading the Member Advice Unit, and assumed the role of Deputy CEO in 2012. A proven leader with more than 25 years' experience in super and financial services, Debby has a wealth of experience having held a range of senior positions within a number of financial institutions and having run her own business as an Employee Benefit Consultant for 12 years. 

Debby is a Director of Fund Executives Association Limited (FEAL), an organisation dedicated to supporting the professional development of leaders in the superannuation industry, Industry Super Australia Ltd (ISA), Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). 

Debby holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Natal (South Africa), is a Certified Financial Planner™, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Executive Management Team


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Justin McMinn - Executive - Advice Strategy 

Justin was appointed to the role of Executive  – Advice Strategy in July 2013. Justin and his team are responsible for overseeing the strategic and operational requirements of the HESTA Member Advice Unit. 

With over 20 years of experience in superannuation, Justin has previously held a range of positions across both retail and industry fund sectors, including leadership roles with Equipsuper and Kinetic Super. 

Justin and his team of associate superannuation advisers, superannuation advisers and financial planners focus on enhancing retirement adequacy outcomes for members and the continual evolution of the HESTA advice platform to accommodate the changing needs of members. 

Justin holds a Diploma of Financial Planning (DFP) through the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and Deakin University.


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Lisa Samuels - Executive - Marketing Strategy

Lisa was appointed to the role of Executive – Marketing Strategy in July 2015. Lisa and her team are responsible for all member and employer marketing and communications, digital innovation, the HESTA Awards Program and listening to member and stakeholder feedback through research. 

Prior to joining HESTA, Lisa worked for a number of industry super funds and has more than 18 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 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.


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Megan Bolton - Executive - Finance & Risk

Megan joined HESTA  in September 2016 and holds the role of Executive – Finance & Risk. Megan and her team are responsible for managing financial processes and operational risk as well as leading specific fund-wide projects.

Megan has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, 25 of which have been spent consulting to and working in superannuation. She has previously held positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Trust Company Limited and was CEO of Kinetic Super. Megan has led teams through successful and bold strategic transformations from a structural, organisational and cultural perspective. 

Megan is passionate about super and educating people on the adequacy of super in retirement, particularly women. 

Megan is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Diploma of Superannuation Management. She is also a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), a member of the Australian 30% Club - Investor Working Group, FEAL and Women in Super.


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Neil Saxton - Executive - Engagement Strategy

Neil was appointed to the role of Executive – Engagement Strategy in November 2014. Neil and his team are responsible for delivering high-quality super education to HESTA members, working with key stakeholders to deliver information on super and growing awareness of HESTA products and services. 

Prior to joining HESTA as an employee, Neil represented HESTA members through his appointment to the Board as Trustee Director representing the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) from 2002 until 2006. In 2006 Neil was a HESTA Member Education Manager in Western Australia before re-locating to Victoria in 2008 to lead the Member Education Team as Executive – Member Education. 

Neil is dedicated to ensuring that HESTA members have access to quality financial education and advice, in order for them to build the skills they need to confidently plan for their retirement. 

Neil holds an Advanced Diploma in Financial Services (Superannuation) and a Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning).


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Robert Fowler - Executive - Investment Execution

Since joining HESTA as CIO in 2004, Rob has been responsible for overseeing the smooth running of its innovative investments program and for the implementation of the HESTA corporate governance policy related to investments. 

Rob is a Chartered Financial Analyst with extensive experience in financial markets and possesses strong research, analytical and process skills across many asset classes. He has previously held positions at Macquarie Bank, Suncorp Investment Management, BT Funds Management and Portfolio Partners Funds Management. 

Rob and his team are committed to maximising HESTA members' investment returns while managing investment, including the risks arising from environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. 

Rob holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Ballarat.        


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Julie Watkins - Executive - People Strategy

Appointed to the role of Executive – People Strategy in October 2017, Julie is responsible for leading the HESTA people strategy and people and culture function during a period of parental leave cover.   

Julie has over 20 years' human resources experience working in matrix multinational, Asia and Australian based companies. She has worked across a range of sectors including financial services, healthcare, consumer goods and professional services. 

Experienced in working with Boards, leading change, organisation redesign and creating close knit teams, Julie aims to be a leader others are inspired by and is passionate about making a difference to any person she works with. 

Julie holds a Bachelor of Business (Human Resources), Graduate Diploma in Business (Organisation Development) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


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Sophie Sigalas - Executive - People Strategy

Currently on parental leave

Appointed to the role of Executive – People Strategy in January 2014, Sophie is responsible for leading the HESTA people strategy and people and culture function. 

Possessing an extensive background in human resources and organisational development, she has previously held a range of senior positions and has significant experience leading multi-disciplinary teams.  

Sophie has developed and led a variety of industry-leading initiatives, facilitating the delivery of organisational strategy and objectives. 

Sophie holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology), Graduate Certificate in Industrial Relations/Human Resources Management, a Diploma in Project Management, as well as various national and international human resource qualifications and accreditations.


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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 HESTA’s 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 $40 billion.

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


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Stephen Reilly - Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Stephen was appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer in August 2015, and is responsible for driving innovation and operational strategy for administration and insurance, finance, technology, risk, compliance and investment operations. 

Working most recently as a Principal with Booz & Company (now PwC Strategy) and before that, with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Stephen's hands-on experience in industry and strategy consulting gives him a deep understanding of the game-changing challenges facing super and financial services.  

A former novelist and radio presenter, Stephen's creative and eclectic experience will help drive the strategic direction of HESTA's business and its operations. 

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Marketing and Finance from the University of New South Wales.