The Inside Story of How One Company Did It Right

“Is it possible for a book to be both powerful and practical? This book provides both while telling the story of how one organization not only survived, but thrived, during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Kay Kendall, CPHQ

CEO & Principal BaldrigeCoach

Former Judge for Baldrige Performance Excellence Program

Interestingly, after having been so involved in the production of my most recent book, Prepare for Crisis — Plan to Thrive, I became curious and re-read my previous book to see how the books synced historically. It had been a number of years since I had read There Are No Do-Overs: The Big Red Factors For Sustaining a Business Long Term, a book I co-authored with Dave Cowens of NBA and Boston Celtics fame. I was pleasantly surprised that together with the new book, they dovetailed really well to define the history of management and growth at Northeast Delta Dental. From the early days right up through today, it’s all in there. The book talks about things we did right as well as wrong because let’s face it, there’s a great deal of learning that comes out of our mistakes … like not repeating them! So if you’ve read my latest book and would like to discover more, please consider reading There Are No Do-Overs.

Thomas Raffio, President & CEO, Northeast Delta Dental
One Delta Drive, Concord, NH 03302-2002

Career History
Thomas Raffio is President & CEO of Northeast Delta Dental, a role he has held since 1995. Before that, he was Senior Vice President of Delta Dental of Massachusetts and Director of Group Healthcare Management Reporting at John Hancock Insurance.


  • “The Baldrige and I,” Baldrige Foundation Institute for Performance Excellence White Paper 2021-01, May 15, 2021.
  • Annabel C. Beerel and Tom Raffio, Mindfulness: A Better Me; a Better You; a Better World. Self, 2018.
  • Tom Raffio with Barbara McLaughlin and Dave Cowens, There Are No Do-Overs: The Big Red Factors for Sustaining a Business Long Term. Curran Pendleton Press, 2013.

Diane H. Schmalensee, President Schmalensee Partners
172 Beacon Street – Boston, MA 02116
617-247-0045 (O) or 617-835-9405 (M)

Career History
Diane Schmalensee is President of Schmalensee Partners, which she founded in 1991. Before that, she was Vice President of Service Excellence for Opinion Research Corporation and Vice President of Research for the Marketing Science Institute.


  • “Building Customer Loyalty, Corporate Reputation, and Shareholder Value Through Service Quality Improvement and  Internal Customer Satisfaction“ in Managing Service Quality.
  • “Finding the ‘Perfect’ Scale“ in Marketing Research.
  • “Lessons Learned on Our Quality Journey“ in The Center for Quality Management Journal.
  • “Unleashing the Power of Connecting Disciplines“ in Reflections.
  • “Rules of Thumb for B2B Research“, “Measuring Returns on Research“, “Creating Win Win Relationships“, and  “How to Make Research More Actionable“ in Marketing Research. This last article won the Dave Hardin prize for the  best article of the year from the American Marketing Association.

“Always focus on doing what’s right — for employees, for customers, and for society. If you do this, the results will come. Tom has written more than a book — he has condensed decades of leadership into a solid compendium for success in all aspects of life. Its lessons are timeless. I urge you to read and keep it at your deskside as a constant reminder of how life should be lived in all its aspects. It is Tom’s best work, and following its wise counsel will change your life forever.”

– Dr. Sylvio Dupuis
Former President of Notre Dame College and Catholic Medical Center Former Mayor of Manchester, NH


“Twenty years ago, I first heard Tom Raffio say, ‘If you take care of your customers and your people, the results will take care of themselves.’ The solid, measurable success of Northeast Delta Dental, both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a testament to the effectiveness of his leadership style and his uncompromising approach to Malcolm Baldrige principles of management. Prepare for Crisis — Plan to Thrive is a how-to guide for running a successful and sustainable organization.”

– Richard Tango-Lowy
Master Chocolatier and Owner of Dancing Lion Chocolate


“This jewel of a book offers timeless lessons for any service organization on the true meaning and powerful impact of generosity. The lessons from Northeast Delta Dental before and during the pandemic capture the power of generosity in creating stakeholder trust, loyalty, and long-term success.”

– Leonard Berry, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor of Marketing,
Mays Business School, Texas A&M University


“Tom’s thoughtful book on leadership is important in all seasons and for all companies. Its insightful, yet practical, prescriptions have been road-tested by Tom with enormous success over twenty-five years at his company, including the pandemic. It is an important, engaging, and very timely read. He has earned deep and wide respect inside Northeast Delta Dental as well as in the broader community, where his positive impact is unceasing. At the end of the day, a successful leader’s integrity, character, decency, and values do the most to inspire excellence in colleagues. By that measure, they just don’t come any better than Tom Raffio. He personifies ‘servant leadership’, and his book demonstrates its success.”

– John T. Broderick, Jr.
Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice Senior Director External Affairs for Dartmouth-Hitchcock and advocate for its Mental Health Awareness Program


“This is an excellent, easy read, written by a caring leader who shows the pathway to success during a crisis. It demonstrates the importance of shared culture and values, teamwork, a detailed disaster recovery plan, and communication, communication, and more communication. My advice? Follow this template to adapt and thrive in hard times.”

– Craig Goldsmith
DeltaVision Project/Product Manager


“This is a great book for young managers, future leaders, and anyone who wants to be successful in the service industry!”

– Dr. David Staples
Chair, Delta Dental Plan of New Hampshire

Watch and listen as Dr. Sylvio Dupuis and Justice John T. Broderick, Jr. discuss the power and practicality of Tom’s new book.

Dr. Sylvio Dupuis joins Tom on Northeast Delta Dental Radio to discuss Leadership and Tom’s Book.

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Listen as Tom thanks Dr Sylvio Dupuis and Former Chief Justice John Broderick for all the help he’s received from them over the last 25+ years. 

Former Chief Justice, John Broderick joins Tom on Northeast Delta Dental Radio to discuss Leadership
and Tom’s Book.

Tom appears on the Eat Half, Walk Double podcast with Chris J. Dunn published on August 1. This is a great listen for more insight into Tom’s book, Prepare for Crisis – Plan To Thrive, and how Northeast Delta Dental navigated a global pandemic and grew from the experience. It also dives deep into how building resiliency helps not only businesses but individuals adapt to challenges and become stronger. Eat Half, Walk Double can be found on Spotify.

Tom joins Ernesto Burden on his podcast “Down to Business” where they discuss the new book.

Tom appeared on BizCastNH, a Podcast co-hosted by Cardinal Consulting President, Nathan Karol and Business NH Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Mowry. BizcastNH captures the entrepreneurial spirit with stories from business executives making a difference in New Hampshire. It’s a great listen if you want a slightly deeper dive into Tom’s book.

Tom Raffio appeared on WMUR’s New Hampshire’s Business with Fred Kocher Sunday morning, February 6. Tom and Fred discussed Tom’s new book and its relevance to the business climate in the ongoing pandemic. After running on WMUR, it was posted on online.

Roger Wood’s interview of Tom on – What is servant leadership? For Concord-based Tom Raffio it reflects a certain philosophy regarding customers, employees and suppliers who work with Northeast Delta Dental.