Four winners of the fourth annual Innovator Awards were announced Monday by Pensions & Investments and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association.
The awards, presented at P&I's West Coast Defined Contribution conference in San Francisco, recognize plan executives who took progressive, creative and/or unusual steps to improve participants' retirement income security.
The winners are:
- Janet Cowell, North Carolina treasurer, for administering — after having persuaded legislators to approve — a statewide centralized 403(b) plan that helps elementary school teachers and other public school personnel take advantage of lower fees, institutional investment management and improved fiduciary oversight;
- Tarna Hunter, legislative liaison, and Shelly Schueller, Wisconsin Deferred Compensation Program director, in the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, Madison, for creating a marketing program aimed at improving women's understanding of and contributions to retirement savings;
- Barbara Kontje, director of global retirement and smart saving, American Express Co., New York, and her team, for building a foundation, through the company's first global retirement summit, creating best practices among plans in the many countries in which company employees work. Ms. Kontje won an Innovator Award in 2012 for administering a virtual financial education fair, using interactive information via the Internet to provide information on retirement and everyday finance matters; and
- Dina Pon, assistant vice president for human resources, Government Employees Insurance Co., Chevy Chase, Md., for implementing a detailed, data-driven financial wellness program from HelloWallet.
The judges also gave awards of excellence to:
- Cindy Rehmeier, manager of defined contribution plans, Missouri State Employees' Retirement System, Jefferson City;
- Joel Sheppard, director, education and marketing, Utah Retirement Systems, Salt Lake City;
- Francie Purnell, corporate director, retirement plans, Republic National Distributing Co., Atlanta;
- Janet McGorty, vice president, head of total rewards, Delhaize America, Scarborough, Maine;
- Carl Vance, chief investment officer, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Ore.; and
- Deborah Macchia, executive director, global benefits, ITT Corp., White Plains, N.Y.