Profile: Tricia Kennedy

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Tricia Kennedy is right at home at Emerson, having spent most of her career in the nonprofit sector.

Kennedy was hired as a contractor in HR and was brought on as staff last fall. As senior compensation and benefits specialist, she manages the benefits open enrollment each fall; creates programming for Emerson’s wellness initiative, Wellness at Emerson; and helps implement new benefit plans.

Her job also entails more analytical work, such as doing benefits audits, handling the Affordable Care Act compliance reporting process, and supplying demographic census information for vendor pricing. Keeping current with changes in legislation regarding benefits is another of her responsibilities.

On a daily basis, one of her main duties is to provide benefits information to staff and faculty (including health and dental insurance, flexible spending accounts, life and disability insurance, vacation and sick time policies, employee assistance program, and tuition remission and exchange). She administers benefits orientation to new employees, maintains the benefits pages on the Emerson website, and assists the HR Service Center with complex benefits questions or issues.

Because of her interest in the arts, working at Emerson is a good fit. She also finds her colleagues interesting and friendly. “I love being a resource for people and making sure that people understand their benefits,” she said.

Kennedy grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts. Like many Emerson staff, she has a musical background. She graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in music. (Fun fact: during the 1980s, her father, William Wells, worked in community relations and taught journalism classes at Emerson.)

She worked in her home department for a few years before heading cross-country to enroll in UCLA’s MBA program, which she chose for its concentration in nonprofit arts management. After grad school, she moved back to the Boston area and held arts management positions at the Massachusetts State Arts Lottery Council and the Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs. She most recently worked in benefits at Lahey Health.

Singing is a big part of Kennedy’s life outside of Emerson. “I’ve been singing my whole life, in at least one group…sometimes more,” she explained. For the past eight years, she has sung with Spectrum Singers, a semi-professional group. Rehearsals are held weekly and the group performs three concerts per year, not including special performances.

She also enjoys spending time outdoors, especially at the Middlesex Fells near her home. She has a travel bucket list and hopes to visit South America someday.

Kennedy lives in Winchester with her husband, Robert; two sons, Ross and Ian; and their cockatiel, Sammy.

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