The Richards Group is one of Vermont's and New England's top retirement and fiduciary advisors

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 Williston, Vermont and they serve many of the largest employers in Vermont and New Hampshire. 


Karen Hurwitt
Manager and Account Executive

Karen Joined The Richards Group in May 2015 as an Account Executive in our Williston, 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. 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.


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. Based out of our Brattleboro office, Diane also plays a leadership role and manages our Account Management Team throughout the region.  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.

Karen Hickey
Account Executive & Compliance Lead

After owning her own employee benefits practice for many years, Karen joined The Richards Group in September of 2013 and works out of our Norwich, Vermont office. With more than 28 years of experience in employee benefits, Karen has extensive knowledge and a very strong foundation in all facets of employee benefits.  Managing a team and a large book of business, Karen provides advisory services that are tailored to meet the needs of both small and large employers.  As the internal Compliance Lead for the Benefits Department, Karen plays an increasingly important strategic role for our team(s) and Clients. With extensive knowledge of HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act and local State dynamics, Karen is an important resource to businesses throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.  Karen graduated with an Associate in Business Administration from Colby-Sawyer College.

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 focuses on managing a book of business and new client acquisition.  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.  Sperry is on the Board of the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, volunteers with her local PTA, and is a town auditor in her hometown of Strafford, VT.    Sperry holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Consumer Studies from UVM and an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from McIntosh College.

Joanna 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 and 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.

Betsy Ploof
Account Manager and Select Business Unit Lead

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.  Betsy is an expert on the Vermont and New Hampshire State Exchanges and assists Sperry as an 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.

Nicole McGrath
Senior Account Manager and 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 and 5500 Filing, 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 federal filings, compliance tools and HR support 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.

Rachel LeBlanc
Senior Account Manager and Wellness Lead

Rachel works out of our Norwich office as an Account Manager supporting Sharon's book of business. Along with an expertise in technology to keep up with Sharon, Rachel leads our Wellness programs and initiatives with Clients.  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 teams to integrate Wellness programs into their group benefits while also handling her own Clients and assisting with Human Resources and compliance issues. Rachel graduated with a BSBA, and a minor in Economics from Castleton University, and holds a Producer's license in Life, Accident and Health.

Emmy Craigue
Account Manager

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. 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.

Maya Boucher
Account Manager

Maya joined TRG in September 2015 and works as an Account Manager in our Williston, Vermont office.  She brings to our team a strong background in accounting and finance that is instrumental in helping to support our larger Self – Funded clientele.   Maya supports both new and existing business providing day to day customer service, assistance with claims issues, carrier interface, systems maintenance, renewal planning, and financial forecasting. Maya received a B.S. in both Accounting and Business from Champlain College in Burlington, VT.  Maya is an active member in her community and enjoys spending time with her family.  She is currently pursuing her Producer's license in Life, Accident and Health.

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. 

Patti Pileggi
Account Executive

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 insure their success.  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.