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 $50 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) 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. In 2018 Debby was awarded FEAL's Fund Executive of the Year.


Executive Management Team


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Lisa Samuels - Executive - Marketing & People

Lisa joined HESTA in July 2015 and holds the role of Executive – Marketing & People. Lisa and her team are responsible for brand, marketing, customer and employee experience, insights and people and culture.

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 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.



Matthew Halpin - Executive - Member Engagement

Matthew joined HESTA in July 2018 as Executive – Member Engagement.  Matthew and his team are responsible for making a real difference to the financial futures of our members through education, financial advice and other engagement activities.

Matthew has over 20 years’ experience in the super industry, working across operations, financial advice, insurance and IT at a number of funds. He is driven by empowering members to feel confident and in control of their financial wellbeing.

Matthew holds a Master of Business Administration, a Diploma of Financial Services (Superannuation) and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  


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Megan Bolton - Executive - Finance & Corporate Services

Megan joined HESTA in September 2016 and holds the role of Executive – Finance & Corporate Services. Megan and her team are responsible for managing financial processes, legal and compliance, risk, facilities and sustainability. 

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 - Partnership Engagement

Neil joined HESTA in 2006 and currently holds the role of Executive – Partnership Engagement. Neil is responsible for the executive oversight of the Partnership Engagement strategy comprising Client and National Partnerships, Business Development, HESTA Impact (Responsible Investment, Sustainability & Advocacy) and Media/PR.

Neil is dedicated to ensuring HESTA members have access to high quality services, to help them confidently plan for life after work.

Prior to joining HESTA as an employee, Neil represented HESTA members through his appointment to the HESTA Board as Trustee Director representing the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) from 2002 until 2006. He joined HESTA as a Member Education Manager before joining the executive team in 2008.

Neil holds an Advanced Diploma in Financial Services (Superannuation) and a Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning). He is currently studying a Masters in Organisational Leadership at Melbourne Business School.


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Robert Fowler - Executive - Investment Execution

Since joining HESTA 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.        


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. 


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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 digital innovation and operational strategy for administration, insurance and technology. 

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 as a business and its operations. 

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.