Six winners were announced Monday for the Excellence and Innovation Awards at Pensions & Investments' West Coast Defined Contribution conference in San Diego.
This is the fifth year that P&I and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association have recognized achievements by plan sponsors, but this year's award provides a broader scope than those in previous years, which focused solely on innovation.
Excellence is measured by sponsors' ability to build on previous advances in plan design or plan management. As in previous years, the goal is to honor plan executives who improved the retirement security of participants.
The winners are:
- Dana Hammonds, senior director of player affairs and development, National Football League Players Association, Washington, for developing a financial education program for young athletes who can earn significant sums of money in brief careers as well as for retired players;
- Erika Kirchner, vice president of human resources, Bertelsmann Inc., New York, for offering employees 45 and older a choice for their 401(k) plan qualified default investment alternative — a traditional target-date series or a managed account;
- Katie Nedl, formerly head of global benefits and now chief operating officer of the U.S.-Canada defined contribution group, BlackRock Inc., New York, for launching an interactive video for 401(k) participants that not only provided information but also allowed participants to take action immediately to improve their accounts;
- Sheila Rowaily, head of the investment management, Saudi Arabian Oil. Co., Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for making improvements in the company's 401(k) plan for Saudi and other Arab-nation participants that increased the number of options while remaining faithful to Shariah investment principles;
- Neil Saxton, executive-engagement strategy, Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia, Melbourne, for instituting a digital-based communication campaign, featuring a digital membership card that increased convenience for participants and reduced costs for his superannuation fund; and
- Shirley Zabiegala, director of savings and retirement for Nestle USA Inc., Solon, Ohio, for supervising creation of the Smart$aving Academy for her company's 401(k) plans, which combined workshops and webinars to provide financial education ranging from basics to advanced planning.