MG100 Spotlight: Debra Blackett, Chief Governance Officer & General Counsel, Z Energy

Lena Eisenstein

Debra Blackett, Chief Governance Officer & General Counsel, Z Energy, is being recognized by Diligent’s Modern Governance 100 program. The Modern Governance 100 is a community of governance professionals who have been nominated for their innovation, resilience, dedication and empathy in the face of a complex and ever-changing world.

Debra Blackett is Z Energy’s proud champion for world-class corporate governance. Tasked with ensuring that board meetings run smoothly and that board members have a seamless process around board papers, meeting agendas, minutes and resolutions, Blackett takes her role five steps further to support true governance excellence.

“[Debra] acts as a key advisor to the board around corporate governance issues,” said nominator Abby Foote, Board Chair, Z Energy. “[She leads] changes to processes and practices to reflect best practice and promotes discussion at board level around emerging governance issues.”

Going the extra mile has become the standard for Blackett. Some of her regular work includes arranging keynote speakers to join board meetings and provoking debate around topical issues. She also plays a key role in ensuring coordination across the board’s various committees and throughout the organization.

“My personal driver is about the Z board being the best corporate citizen it can be as well as doing the best job it can for all its stakeholders,” said Blackett.

How Blackett Uses Diligent

  • As a central repository and collaborative space for agendas, committee groups, annotations, board decks, documents, discussions, evaluations, questionnaires and meeting minutes.
  • To implement governance best practices, while upholding high standards of security, corporate responsibility and public sentiment.
  • For adherence to strict compliance and document retention practices with easy access to historical supporting information across archived documents and meeting minutes.

Blackett’s commitment to governance excellence is something she believes resonates with many facets of leadership in today’s business environment.

“I strongly believe that corporate governance is fundamental to our lives, as [corporations] are increasingly important parts of our lives,” she says, “including the allocation of jobs and resources to our communities, their values [and] commitments to climate change and human rights issues, [and] most recently corporate governance responses to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Ensuring that Z Energy’s board continually works toward being an exemplary corporate citizen is a key goal and motivator for Blackett. In her words, “Continuous improvement and focus on international best practice…is how we achieve that.”

Blackett feels that her core beliefs are exemplified in her nomination for this year’s MG100: “I feel incredibly honored to be nominated for this, as it is so deeply aligned with my sense of purpose and personal values.”

Harnessing the benefits that Diligent affords, Blackett and the entire organization have been able to set high standards and expectations that they take pleasure in striving for.

About the Nominee

Debra Blackett began her legal career at Chapman Tripp, moving on to Phillips Fox before taking on a corporate legal role at Telecom NZ, followed by General Counsel and Company Secretariat roles at ANZ New Zealand, BP New Zealand and Z Energy Limited.

About Z Energy

Z supplies fuel to retail customers and large commercial customers in New Zealand like airlines, trucking companies, mines, shipping companies and vehicle fleet operators, as well as providing bitumen to roading contractors.

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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.