Senior Vice President; Chief ESG and Communications Officer
Catherine Hernandez-Blades is senior vice president, chief environmental, social and governance (ESG) and communications officer at Aflac. She is responsible for corporate communications, organizational communications, philanthropy and ESG activities for the company, including the company’s Global SABRE award-winning corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
Hernandez-Blades joined Aflac in 2014 as senior vice president of Corporate Communications and has held leadership positions of increasing responsibility, including chief brand and communications officer in 2017 and her current position in February 2019.
With 25 years of professional success in optimizing operations, driving revenues, decreasing expenses and building high-performing, diverse teams, Hernandez-Blades is a metrics-focused integrated marketing and communications strategist, tactician and leader who understands the business side of the business. An acknowledged change agent, she spent the last 15 years building organizations from the ground up and orchestrating and implementing large-scale turnarounds in highly regulated industries for international public companies in the Fortune 500.
In 2020, Hernandez-Blades became one of four women inducted in Ragan’s inaugural class of the Women in Communications Hall of Fame. She is also one of Forbes magazine’s Top-50 Most Influential CMOs, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ CHANGEMAKERS and a two-time Cannes Lion winner. Additionally, she serves on the Forbes Communications Council. In 2019, The Holmes Report’s Innovation SABRE Awards for North America recognized her as the Most Innovative Marketing/Communications Professional (Brand) and LATINA Style magazine named her the Corporate Executive of the Year. In 2018, PRWeek honored her as the Outstanding In-House Professional and PR News named her a Top Woman in PR for the fourth consecutive year. She was also named to NY Moves magazine’s 25 Power Women list and the Top Latino Executives in Corporate America list by Latino Leaders magazine. A 2017 inductee into the PRWeek Hall of Femme and the PR News Hall of Fame, she is also the winner of the World Communications Forum Davos “Relations of the Future” award.
Under Hernandez-Blades’ leadership, Aflac’s award-winning CSR program has received top honors from Points of Light’s Civic 50, the American Innovation Index, the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil, The Holmes Report’s SABRE North America and Global SABRE awards, and PR News’ Platinum PR Award for 2018. Aflac also has been named PR News’ Top Place to Work in PR for four consecutive years and PRWeek’s Best Places to Work list in 2016.
A past chair of Operation Homefront’s board of directors, Hernandez-Blades is currently past chair of The Seminar, a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and an Institute of Public Relations Trustee. A past member of the Marketing 50/M50, she is currently a member of the Communications 50/C50 and serves on the Communications Advisory Board for the Ethisphere Institute. A contributor to four books, she has also been profiled in two books, “What More Can I Say?” and “Diverse Voices: Profiles in Leadership,” recognized by ExecRank as a Top-30 CMO and is an Accredited Business Communicator.
Hernandez-Blades earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a Loyola University Environmental Communications Fellow.