Catherine Hernandez-Blades is senior vice president, Corporate Communications, at Aflac Incorporated. She is responsible for developing and leading the implementation of Aflac’s internal and external communications strategies to advance the Company’s reputation.
Since joining Aflac, Ms. Blades has been recognized for reorganizing Aflac’s Corporate Communications team by unifying multiple functions and staff into a cohesive unit that works together on common goals and initiatives while becoming a world class corporate communications department with a focus on strong ethics and corporate social responsibility. She led efforts in producing Aflac’s first-ever Corporate Social Responsibility survey which established industry baselines in regard to consumer and investor behavior toward companies that demonstrate strong, sustained corporate social responsibility programs. Ms. Blades also took the lead as spokesperson for this initiative, garnering tens of millions of media impressions for the effort.
In 2015, Blades received several awards for her work at Aflac, including being named by the Georgia Diversity Council as a Most Powerful & Influential Woman. She received the PR News People Award for PR Team Leader of the Year as well as was named by PR News as one of the 2015 Top Women in PR. Also in 2015, Ms. Blades was a Gold Honoree for Corporate Communications Professional of the Year in the Bulldog Stars of PR Awards, Aflac was named one of the Top Places to Work in PR by PR News and PR Week named her one of the top-five in-house public relations counsels in the world. Additionally, the American Business Association gave her the Bronze Stevie award for Woman of the Year in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations.
Ms. Blades came to Aflac in 2014 from Flextronics International, where she served as chief marketing and communications officer and was responsible for all marketing, corporate communications, government relations and public affairs activities. Previously, Blades was vice president of communications and public affairs for Space and Airborne Systems at Raytheon Company and director of marketing and international communications at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. She also served by gubernatorial appointment as the executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board.
A graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Blades holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. She is a Loyola University Environmental Communications fellow and is the chairperson of the national board of directors of Operation Homefront. She has been named to the Arthur W. Page Society and the M50, a prestigious association of communications and marketing professionals. She also serves on the Committee for The Seminar, an annual gathering of the world’s top chief communications officers. Ms. Blades has been a contributing author for several books, including most recently “The World’s Foremost Authorities on Marketing – Top CMOs Share What They Know Best,” “Superbrands” and “PR News’ Corporate Social Responsibility Guidebook.”