Excellence and Innovation Awards
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What are the Excellence and Innovation Awards?

DCIIA and Pensions and Investments (P&I), co-sponsor this annual award for excellence and innovation by defined contribution plans and their executives. These two organizations partnered to create the Innovator Awards in 2012 and by 2014, they were a recognized standard for plan sponsor excellence and a signature part of the P&I DC West Conference.

"The quality and range of initiatives in the nominations we received this year was truly amazing, and is a real testament to the growing focus in the plan sponsor community in helping to ensure employees' retirement security," said Lew Minsky, president and CEO of DCIIA.

"Over the years, we noticed that there were executives and companies achieving great outcomes by going the extra mile with their plans," said Amy B. Resnick, editor of P&I. "The program now recognizes both innovation and excellence.

Nominations for 2017 were closed on June 2, 2017.

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2017 Innovation and Excellence award winners announced at the P&I West Coast Defined Contribution Conference in San Diego

2016 Excellence and Innovation Awards Winners

Katie Nedl, Head of Global Benefits, COO, U.S.-Canada DC Group, BlackRock

BlackRock executives prepared an interactive video that responded to participants depending on their investing strategy and performance, always with a theme of encouraging greater participation and greater contributions.


Erika Kirchn, Vice President of Human Resources, Bertelsmann Inc.
Plan executives decided to give participants who are 45 and older the opportunity to select a managed account as their qualified default investment alternative rather than a traditional target-date fund series.

Neil Saxton, Executive-Engagement Strategy, Health Employees Superannuation Trust (HESTA)
Unveiled a digital-based communication campaign, using data analytics, to reach specific audiences.

Shirley Zabiegala, Director, Savings and Retirement, Nestle USA
Created a targeted education program, called Smart$aving Academy, tailored to the skills and interests of participants and to look like a college curriculum.

Dana Hammond, Senior Director, Player Affairs and Development, National Football League Players Association
The Association had offered a sort of one-size-fits-all financial education program for both active and retired players. Ms. Hammonds revised the approach to provide information to specific groups of players — early career, midcareer and late career — as well as retired players.

Sheila Rowaily, Head of Investment Management, Saudi Arabian Oil Co.
Faced the challenge of trying to expand the number of investment opportunities for Saudi and other Arab nation employees while still adhering to Shariah principles.

View previous award winners here.

2016 Excellence & Innovation Awards Winners left to right: Dana Hammonds (seated), Erika Kirchner, Neil Saxton, Shirley Zabiegala, Sheila Rowaily and Katie Nedl.