Thomas Raffio assumed the role of president & CEO of Northeast Delta Dental when he moved to New Hampshire in 1995, after his tenure at Delta Dental of Massachusetts as Senior Vice President. Northeast Delta Dental is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization (dental insurance company) with high brand recognition and a reputation of providing world-class customer service. It’s located at Two Delta Drive, Concord, New Hampshire and has been in business for over 50 years. Northeast Delta Dental includes offices in Concord, New Hampshire (headquarters), Saco, Maine, and Burlington, Vermont.
In 1995, the company administered the dental benefits of 300,000 people in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont; now it administers the dental benefits of nearly 950,000 with a retention rate of 98%. Revenue has grown from $57 million to over $344 million. Tom’s commitment to the principles of continuous quality improvement led to the creation of its Guarantee Of Service Excellencesm (GOSE) program, backing up seven facets of service with customer refunds. As the first such comprehensive program in Northern New England, GOSE helped the company to evolve into an industry leader recognized for its outstanding business practices.
Under its CEO’s leadership, Northeast Delta Dental has grown from ~50 to ~200 employees, modeling best human resources practices. It’s certified for offering flexible work schedules and being age friendly, and offers a thorough onboarding of new employees and development opportunities, including tuition reimbursement. Many of its awards relate to how well it engages employees and encourages work/life balance. For example, it was named one of the 25 Best Small Companies to Work for in America for five consecutive years, and one of the Best Companies to Work For in New Hampshire for nine years.
Tom is a hands-on leader, regularly meeting with new and seasoned employees for “Coffee with the Coach” to get their feedback. During Tom’s presidency, the Northeast Delta Dental network of participating dentists grew from 935 in 1995 to 1,810 in 2020. To help increase the availability of oral health information and dental services in the tri-state region, he led the way to the creation of the Northeast Delta Dental Foundation, which now averages a total of $400,000 per year to fund oral health programs in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. To address the shortage of dentists in under-served communities, he also prompted the funding of scholarship programs at two schools of dental medicine, and annual contributions to dental education loan repayment programs, to encourage and assist dental students willing to practice in Northern New England.
Tom is an engaged civic leader. He’s currently Chair of the Leadership Advisory Council and a member of the New England Advisory Board of the Arthritis Foundation. Most recently, he was selected to serve the Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system as a Trustee. He is Incorporator and Chair of the Board, ExcellenceNorth Alliance; Chair of the New Hampshire Coalition for Business and Education; Chair of the Bow Schools Foundation; Board member and former Chair of the Board, New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts; Board member and former Chair of the Board, Early Learning New Hampshire; and Board member of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Foundation. He’s a member of the New Hampshire Scholars Leadership Board, which he also serves as a Champion, and a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society’s Democracy Project Advisory Committee.
Tom formerly led the New Hampshire State Board of Education as Chair, and Leadership New Hampshire, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, and New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra as Board Chair. He has also been a member of these boards: State Workforce Investment Board, Groundwork Concord, American Red Cross, NH Comets, Opera NH, New Hampshire Foundation for Teaching and Learning, New Hampshire Humanities, and The Palace Theatre.
He also served as Campaign Chair for the United Way of Merrimack County. Advisory committees of these organizations benefitted from his leadership: The Capital Area Race Series, Brattleboro Retreat, Bow Alcohol and Drug Coalition, I-93 Task Force, Pittsfield School District’s Community Advisory Council, New Hampshire Food Bank, Concord Area Colleges, NH Forum on the Future, Friends of the Bridges House, and the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.
Awards and Recognition
Tom has been recognized for providing leadership to Northeast Delta Dental and to community nonprofit boards and advisory councils. The Baldrige Foundation, the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, bestowed a Leadership Excellence Award in the Healthcare Sector (2020). The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and Business NH Magazine named him Business Leader of the Year (2004) and Business Leader of the Decade (2010); the New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts awarded the Leadership in the Arts Award (2005); the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI–NH) awarded the Samuel Adams Community Leadership Award (2007); Pastoral Counseling Services of Manchester awarded a Good Samaritan Award (2008); the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce named Tom Outstanding Citizen of the Year (2009) and Governor Lynch proclaimed November 16, 2009, as “Tom Raffio Day.” Daniel Webster Council Boy Scouts of America presented its Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award, NHTI, Concord’s Community College awarded an honorary associate of science degree, and New England College awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree (2010). The University System of New Hampshire awarded its Granite State Award at Granite State College’s commencement, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences awarded a Doctor of Science, honoris causa (2011). City Year New Hampshire awarded its Lifetime of Service Award (2014). The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) honored Tom at its 13th annual Granite Gala, and the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire presented its Above and Beyond award (2014). New Hampshire Business Review included Tom in the first edition of New Hampshire 200, a publication spotlighting the 200 most influential people in New Hampshire’s private sector (2019).
Tom earned an undergraduate degree at Harvard University, an MBA from Babson College, and designation as a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI). He is proud to be a 1997 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire.
In 2018, Tom co-authored Mindfulness: A Better Me; A Better You; A Better World, with organizational change and leadership expert, Annabel Beerel, PhD. The book clearly and concisely explains what mindfulness is, how to begin a mindfulness and meditation practice, and how to build this into a work culture.
In 2013, Tom co-authored There Are No Do-Overs: The Big Red Factors for Sustaining a Business Long Term with NBA Hall of Famer, Dave Cowens, and former Northeast Delta Dental colleague, Barbara McLaughlin.
Tom lives in Bow, New Hampshire, with his wife, Ellen; three stepdaughters, Margaret, Sophie, and Annika; stepgranddaughter, Havanna; German Shepherd, Kolton; Labrador Retriever, Vincent; and four cats. Tom has four adult children from a previous marriage, Jenna, Matt, Brian, and Gabrielle, and a granddaughter, Hannah.