Catherine Hernandez-Blades, senior vice president and chief brand and communications officer, is responsible for Advertising, Brand Strategy, Cause Marketing, Sponsorships and Social Media. She also leads the Corporate Communications department, including the company’s corporate social responsibility program, Internal Communications, Field Force Communications, Integrated Communications and Media Relations. She joined Aflac in 2014 as senior vice president of Corporate Communications and was named to the newly created chief brand and communications officer role in October 2017.
Catherine has more than two decades of leadership experience in communications. She is a 2017 World Communications Forum Davos “Relations of the Future” awardee and a 2017 PR Week Hall of Femme inductee. She is a 2017 PR News 50 Game-Changers of PR awardee and a recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. For two consecutive years, she has received PR News’ awards for Top Women in PR and for three consecutive years earned the Gold Bulldog Stars of PR in the Corporate Communications Professional of the Year category. In 2016, she was a recipient of the Gold Bulldog CSR/Sustainability Executive of the Year award and was named one of the Top 10 Corporate Executives of the Year by LATINA Style magazine. In 2015 and 2016, she received PR News’ awards for Top Women in PR and Diversity PR, as well as PR Team Leader of the Year in 2015.
Catherine received the 2016 Silver Stevie award for the Maverick of the Year category and the 2015 Bronze Stevie award for Woman of the Year in Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations from the American Business Association. She has also been recognized by the National Diversity Council with their Most Powerful and Influential Women Award. Under her leadership, Aflac has been named PR News’ Top Places to Work in PR for two consecutive years. Her team has also earned the Gold Bulldog Stars of PR Awards for two consecutive years, and in 2017, they were a recipient of the Gold Stevie American Business Awards in the Communications Team of the Year category.
Prior to Aflac, she most recently served as chief communications and marketing officer at Flextronics, where she was responsible for several areas, including Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Previously, Catherine also served as vice president of Communications and Public Affairs at Raytheon Company’s Space and Airborne Systems business and held various other international communications-related leadership positions at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
Catherine is the immediate past chair of the board of directors for Operation Homefront. She is an officer with The Seminar and a member of the Arthur W. Page Society – two highly respected, invitation-only, communications industry organizations, as well as 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. She has been recognized by ExecRank as a Top 30 CMO and is an Accredited Business Communicator. She has co-authored three books: “The World’s Foremost Authorities on Marketing – Top CMOs Share What They Know Best,” “Superbrands” and PR News’ Corporate Social Responsibility Guidebook. Most recently, her articles on corporate social responsibility have been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ethisphere magazine and PR News.
Catherine earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a Loyola University Environmental Communications Fellow.