Meet Your Employee Benefits Team


Tom Scull
Vice President

With 25+ years of experience in the Employee Benefits Industry, Tom is respected as a thought-leader when it comes to employee benefits in Northern New England.  After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, Tom received an Underwriting degree from CIGNA Healthcare. After Underwriting for CIGNA, Tom joined Mercer Consulting in New York City and worked on teams handling Fortune 50 size business.  After building a strong foundation working with National Accounts at both Mercer and CIGNA, Tom and his family moved to Vermont. Tom managed CIGNA's Vermont and New Hampshire Sales initiatives for several years before joining The Richards Group. Today, Tom plays a leadership role company-wide and owns the responsibility of our Employee Benefits Practice. Tom is serving his second two-year term as a Green Mountain Care Board Advisor and continues to advise on the Vermont Health Connect Exchange. Tom provides overall strategic direction for the employee benefits business and leadership to the employee benefits teams. The employee benefits teams are located in Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Norwich, Rutland and Burlington, Vermont as well as Concord, New Hampshire and they serve many of the largest employers in Vermont and New Hampshire. 



Ross Gibson
Leadership and Organizational Development Consultant

Ross Gibson is a leadership and organizational development consultant and facilitator. Through The Richards Group Employee Benefits and its subsidiary, The Green Mountain Leadership Center, Ross works with organizations to help develop positive leadership growth. Prior to working as a consultant, Ross was Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources at World Learning, a global academic institution and Non-Governmental Organization based in Brattleboro, Vermont. Ross has held other several senior level positions including Vice President, Learning and Organizational Development at Charles River Labs and Vice President, Human Resources at both American Superconductor and Cambridge Neuroscience, Inc.  Ross is a certified facilitator in several of the award-winning and internationally recognized Franklin Covey courses including The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  He is active in several local and regional Human Resources and training organizations and is a past president of the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA).  Locally in Brattleboro, Vermont, he is a Board member of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Strolling of the Heifers. Additionally, he is an advisor to the local United Way chapter and an active member of the Sunshine Rotary Club of Brattleboro.  

Deb Loughlin
Executive Director

As part of the Employee Benefits Leadership, Deb Loughlin helps with business development and strategy.  Deb has been in the employee benefits industry for 20 years and held management positions in Vermont businesses for over 30 years.  After many years working inside a family owned business, Deb co-founded The Benefit Group of New England in 1997, merging it into a national firm in 2011. Her roots are in her passion the development of companies’ long-term benefit strategies that support sustainable budgets and promote well employee cultures.  Early in her career, Deb developed a desire to support the health of Vermont companies and spent time working with legislators, served on the board of Associated Industries of Vermont as well as industry advisory boards. In the last several years, Deb has dedicated time to the American Heart and Stroke Association; now into her fourth year working on the Go Red for Woman Executive Leadership Team, two of which she acted as co-chair, and honored with the Chrystal Heart Award in early 2018 in appreciation of her years spent encouraging and supporting employer groups with wellness culture strategies.


Karen Hurwitt
Manager and Account Executive

Karen joined The Richards Group in May 2015 as an Account Executive in our Burlington, VT office. She comes to TRG with 10+ years working in the Employee Benefits arena. Karen is responsible for the management and retention of existing business and assists in the development of new business in the Employee Benefits practice. Karen brings to TRG a strong background in both employee benefits as well as account management and has proven experience as a strong strategic partner providing analysis, development and execution of insurance programs aligning sound cost/value justifications for both businesses and employees. Karen also plays a leadership role and manages our Account Management Team throughout the region. Prior to joining TRG, Karen spent 5 years working as a Senior Consultant for Willis and was responsible for managing many large accounts. Karen’s experience gives her a strong understanding of the multitude of challenges that face employers in today’s changing world.

Karen received her Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Art History from Kenyon College and she holds a Producer’s license in Life, Accident & Health, and Property & Casualty. Karen has also earned her SPHR designation in Human Resources.


Lindsay Simpson
Organizational Wellness Lead

Lindsay is an all-around wellness champion - at the individual and system levels. She is responsible for the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of wellbeing initiatives for both Richards Group Clients and for internal staff. She delights in working from a research-based, holistic perspective; respecting that every group and every individual has unique strengths and passions that interact with family, workplace and community cultures. To this role, Lindsay brings over ten years of public service experience in Vermont school wellness. She is a lifelong learner, having recently completed training from WELCOA, Wellness Culture Coaching, and Coaches Training Institute. Lindsay has an M.P.H. from UNC Chapel Hill with focus on leadership and program planning and an B.A. from Middlebury College in neuroscience and teacher education. Lindsay serves as a board member and coach for Girls on the Run Vermont. In her free time, she can be found running and laughing amongst the hills of Vermont with two- and four-legged friends.

Diane Murphy
Account Executive

Diane has more than 25 years of experience in employee benefits, claims management, and customer service. Diane joined The Richards Group in 1996 and has extensive knowledge in all facets of employee benefits. She provides benefit consulting services to large client groups tailored to meet their individual organizational needs and corporate philosophy. More specifically, Diane has a strong working knowledge of Health Care Reform and Defined Contribution as it relates to employee benefits. By working closely with her clients on developing long term strategies, she provides the expertise needed to stay current and enjoy many long term client relationships. Diane graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut.


Barbara Harris
Account Executive
New Business Manager and Public Sector Lead

Barbara works in our Brattleboro office, supporting groups in Vermont and New Hampshire. Barbara’s primary focus is developing new client relationships and helping Clients navigate to State Exchanges. With strong public sector employee benefits knowledge Barbara handles some of Vermont's largest Supervisory Unions and Municipalities.  She helps clients with defined contribution modeling, plan design, cost containment, employee education and compliance of their health, life, disability and dental programs.  Prior to joining The Richards Group in 2004, Barbara worked in banking for 20 years, including Vermont National Bank and then Chittenden Bank. Barbara has been actively involved in the community, serving as board member of High 5 Adventure Learning and as a wish grantor for Make a Wish of Vermont. She holds the Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) professional designation from The American College. Barbara graduated from North Adams State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and lives in Brattleboro.


Jackie Brady
Account Executive
HR Services and Pharmacy Benefit Manager Lead

In 2004 Jackie joined The Richards Group as an Account Manager in Employee Benefits. She brought with her a Masters in Human Resources that serves us well working with Clients. Today, Jackie works out of our Brattleboro office and manages a book of business with many of our largest Clients while also taking a lead role in our Human Resource support service(s) and our Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) consulting. Jackie’s team works with some of our most sophisticated employee benefit accounts and brings many years of comprehensive employee benefits knowledge to work exclusively with our large group clientele.  Her expertise in the area of claims, underwriting, compliance, health care provider relations, health care reform and PBMs has successfully helped her develop and manage her clients’ overall benefits program. Prior to joining The Richards Group, Jackie worked in the banking industry specializing in underwriting.

The Richards Group-Sperry Wilson

Sperry Wilson
Account Executive
New Business Manager

Sperry joined TRG in September 2008 and works out of our Norwich, Vermont office. She has a background in accounting and management, as well as small business ownership. Sperry is an advisor to mid-sized businesses with an expertise in health care reform and both the New Hampshire and Vermont State Exchanges. She is licensed in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Sperry is also cross-licensed and works with employers to meet their commercial and business insurance needs. She focuses on managing a book of business and cultivating new business relationships. 

Sperry brings leadership experience as a member of the Vermont Leadership Institute (Snelling Center for Government) Class of 2008 and the Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2011. She serves on the Board of the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation and the Board of Trustees at The Sharon Academy.  Sperry holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer Studies from UVM, and an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from McIntosh College.

The Richards Group-Joanna Keefe

Johanna Keefe
Account Executive
United Benefits Advisor Lead

Johanna leads our Rutland office, supporting businesses throughout Vermont, but focused in Rutland County. Johanna has a large group book of business and together with her team have a very strong knowledge base to help large, local employers compete well in the benefits space.  Johanna also is our liaison to United Benefits Administrators, the Nations largest independent employee benefits organization.  Johanna contributes at the highest levels with extensive knowledge of health care reform specifically as it relates to the Vermont Public Exchange and with a solid understanding of Medicare and Medicare Supplements/Part D prescription plans. Prior to joining TRG, Johanna worked for 10 years with Win Thomas at Thomas Insurance & Benefits. She currently serves as Campaign Chair with the Rutland County United Way. Johanna graduated from Keene State College in Keene, NH with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and lives in Rutland.


Sharon Doward
Account Executive
HRIS Benefits Administration & Payroll Technology Lead

Sharon works out of our Bellows Falls, Vermont office and leads a team supporting some of our largest and more sophisticated Clients.  Working with many of the region's community hospital Clients and a few other large employers, Sharon brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge.  Sharon's team provides a full scope of services and deliverables to meet the unique employee benefits needs of each client.  As the Payroll and Benefits Administration space evolves frantically under the Affordable Care Act and new reporting needs, Sharon's expertise as our technology lead is imperative to both us and our Clients. She began her professional career working in workers’ compensation compliance for the State of New Hampshire for 13 years. During that time Sharon utilized her strong technology skills to help develop, test and implement an electronic data interchange program. Sharon received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

The Richards Group-Patti Pileggi

Patti Pileggi
Account Executive
Compliance Lead

Patti joined The Richards Group In November 2015 as an Account Executive in our Rutland VT office.  Patti comes to TRG with 30+ years working in the Employee Benefits industry. Patti spent the majority of the last 30 years working in various account management positions in National Accounts at Cigna HealthCare. During her tenure at Cigna, Patti was responsible for large and complex books of businesses throughout the United States as well as mentoring new employees to ensure their success. As the internal Compliance Lead for the Benefits Department, Patti plays an increasingly important strategic role for our team(s) and Clients. Patti’s experience working with employers in various states across the country, her strong leadership & account management skills as well as her knowledge of ACA compliance make her an asset to the TRG team and our clients.

Patti has a Bachelor of Science degree from Adelphi University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Marketing. Patti received HIAA’s certificate of Managed Healthcare Professional.


Betsy Ploof
Senior Account Manager

Betsy joined The Richards Group in 2011 in the role of Administrative Assistant and Office Manager with a strong background in customer service.  She obtained her Life, Health & Accident license for Vermont and New Hampshire and quickly transitioned into an Account Manager role. Betsy works in our Norwich office primarily handling new and existing Individual and Small Business accounts providing benefit plan options, and enrollment support. She also acts as the internal team resource for UBA Surveys and EBC management.   Betsy is an expert on the Vermont and New Hampshire State Exchanges and assists Sperry as a Senior Account Manager on her book of business.  Betsy received a BA in English Literature with a minor in History from St. Michael’s College here in Vermont.

The Richards Group-Nicole McGrath

Nicole McGrath
Senior Account Manager

Select Business Unit Brattleboro
Voluntary Employee Benefits Lead

Nicole joined The Richards Group in 2013 as an Account Manager working out of our Brattleboro office. Nicole works with groups of all size managing their employee benefits, negotiating with carriers, assisting with Human Resources on compliance issues including The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nicole is also our liaison to the Voluntary Benefits marketplace and supports other teams in this evolving space.  Prior to joining The Richards Group, Nicole was employed as an Employee Benefits Account Executive in Keene NH for 14 years which is where she resides with her husband and two sons. Nicole holds an Accredited Customer Service Representative designation in Financial Services and is certified on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace. Nicole truly enjoys building relationships with her clients and always goes the extra mile for them.


Caitlin Caulfield
Senior Account Manager

HR Products Support, Compliance Dashboard and ThinkHR Lead
Caitlin works out of our Brattleboro office and supports Jackie's book of business as an Account Manager.  Caitlin also is our resident expert surrounding HR products and compliance tools.  With a most important book of business under Jackie's leadership, Caitlin enjoys managing all facets of benefits programs with her clients. Prior to joining The Richards Group, she worked for a large national commercial and personal insurer as a workers compensation claims adjuster. Caitlin graduated from Keene State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. She earned her insurance designation as an Associate in Claims (AIC) from the Insurance Institutes of America in 2013 as well as a Producer's license in Life, Accident and Health.

The Richards Group-Rachel LeBlanc

Rachel LeBlanc
Senior Account Manager, GBDS
Financial Reporting and 5500 Filing Lead

Rachel works out of our Norwich office as an Account Manager supporting Sharon's book of business. Rachel acts as an internal consultant and resource for supporting the team in financial reporting and 5500 filings. Rachel has a strong background in marketing, customer service, and account management. She brings experience from working with a third party administrator providing benefit solutions, and support to businesses and organizations with self-funded health plans. She works closely with our staff in assisting with financial reporting and 5500 filings. Rachel graduated with a BSBA, and a minor in Economics from Castleton University, and holds a Producer's license in Life, Accident and Health. Rachel also achieved designation as a Group Benefits Disability Specialist through The National Underwriting Company. 

Heidi Reece
Senior Account Manager
Individual Life & Disability Products Lead

Heidi joined The Richards Group in January 2017 as a Senior Account Manager. Working out of the Manchester VT office she will support The Richards Group’s growing client base in the Southern Vermont area as well support Patti’s book of business. Heidi brings with her a strong background in individual life and disability products as well as Small Group benefit experience.  Heidi holds her producer license in Life, Accident and Health.


Emmy Craigue
Account Manager, GBDS
Select Business Unit Norwich
Employee Benefits Center (EBC) Lead

Emmy joined The Richards Group in May of 2015 in the Norwich, Vermont office. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in 2015 where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the 3-Year Honors Program. Alongside Betsy, Emmy supports clients with Employee Benefits Center customization needs and works to specialize an expertise in the Select Business Unit.  During her years at Southern New Hampshire University, she completed three internships that provided exposure to the insurance industry and marketing. Emmy provides support to a large block of business representing a wide array of industries. She holds a Producer's license in Life, Accident and Health. Emmy also achieved designation as a Group Benefits Disability Specialist through The National Underwriting Company. 


Rachel Thompson
Account Manager
Select Business Unit Rutland
Decision Making Software Lead

Rachel joined The Richards Group in February 2016 as an Account Manager. Working out of our Rutland office, she primarily supports Johanna’s growing book of business with groups ranging in sizes from 50 to 500 lives.  Rachel also supports the benefits department with a great understanding of decision making software. She enjoys working with clients to create custom employee communication materials, such as Benefits at a Glance booklets, as well as gathering and entering the data needed for each Client’s Monthly Financial Report.

Rachel received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. She graduated Cum Laude from Castleton University in December 2015. She holds her Producer’s license in Life, Accident and Health.

Janine Tadakowsky
Account Manager
Technology Analyst

Janine joined The Richards Group in March of 2017 in the Concord, New Hampshire office. She graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in 2007 where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. Janine has 10 years of experience in the health care industry and brings 8 years of extensive HR and Benefits Administration to her position with TRG. Alongside Sharon, Janine supports clients with their benefit technology needs.


Megan Bridges
Account Manager

Sustainability Benefit Lead
Megan joined The Richards Group in May of 2017 in the Burlington, Vermont office. For the last four and a half years, she has been specializing in employee benefits for a large Burlington-based nonprofit. Prior to that, Megan spend 3 years working as a corporate paralegal. She graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC in 2003 where she received a Bachelor’s of Arts in History. Megan will be working alongside Karen Hurwitt.

The Richards Group-Gail Slider

Gail Slider
Office Manager, Employee Benefits

Out of the Norwich office and under Tom's leadership Gail helps to keep the wheels in motion for our teams across the region.  In an Administrative Support role, Gail helps to build and create synergies among our teams and help keep an organized schedule for all.  Prior to joining The Richards Group, Gail was the Office Manager and Compliance Administrator at KVO Capital Management, a hedge fund located in Hanover, NH.  Gail received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. 

Danielle Capilla
Chief Compliance Officer

Partner support on compliance issues, Employer Webinar Series, Client-facing compliance solutions

Karen Hsu
Staff Compliance Attorney

Partner support on compliance issues, Client-facing compliance solutions