Valere is an alliance of parents, entrepreneurs and business professionals who have come together with one mission in mind: help children with communication or behavioral disorders be able to improve their ability to socially connect, grow and thrive.
Joan Robichaud , President
As an 18-year veteran of corporate America, Joan’s key responsibilities included customer interface, strategic planning, budget oversight, senior leadership interface and vendor contracting / management. While at Aetna Inc., Joan managed multi-million dollar projects while in lead and management positions in claims, National Account plan sponsor services, sales and marketing and implementation management. As Implementation Manager, she on-boarded several large-scale, multi-site Fortune 500 clients, overseeing business protocols and IT requirements, as well as plan setup on behalf of Aetna and the new client.
As a Sales Support Manager, Joan was a project lead in establishing the Aetna Customer Center, Aetna’s award-winning sales briefing program, as well as the fabrication of the program’s unique 15,000 square foot meeting facility at the Aetna corporate headquarters. She was integral in managing the development of the facility’s architecture, interior design plus the experiential exhibits that included 3-D interactive and multi-media components.
Joan’s daughter Laura, born with epilepsy and a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnoses, is the first child to benefit and flourish from Kula Ed, and remains an inspiration to her parents and the entire Valere team.
Joan holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Communication Sciences from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Joan also serves on the Simsbury Public Schools Special Education Parent Teacher Organization (SEPTO) Advisory Board, since 2015.
Jay Kuhrt , Information Technology and Operations
Jay is an experienced business leader with over 30 years of practical experience. Starting at the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corporation, Jay rose up through the Information Technology (IT) ranks to become an IT executive at Pratt serving various business organizations. After many years at Pratt, Jay joined Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) to help lead their outsourcing engagement at UTC while also working for CSC at other client companies over his thirteen years at CSC.
After leaving CSC, Jay has worked and consulted for a number of start-up enterprises serving in various capacities including but not limited to Finance, IT, Operations, and Marketing. Currently, Jay's main emphasis is working at Valere, Inc. and helping to bring Kula Ed to market for school systems across the country.
One of Jay’s passions is his interest in the education field as evidenced by his 14-year tenure on the Master’s School (TMS) Board of Trustees (West Simsbury, CT). Seven of those years were as President of the Board. TMS is a pre-K through grade private college preparatory school.
Jay’s experience doesn’t end there. His daughter Amy has received special education services since the age of 3 - supporting emotional / anxiety and intellectual disabilities. He has watched Amy grow in the Simsbury, CT school system and she has now graduated after spending three years after high school at the Farmington Valley Transition Academy as she moves into a full-time work environment.
Jay has a B.S. degree in Business and Systems from Taylor University, and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of Hartford.
Elizabeth Miller , Finance
Liz is a successful business leader with almost 30 years of experience, primarily in the insurance industry. Her current position is CFO, Boston Insurance Group. Prior to joining Boston Insurance Group, Liz spent time at Hanover Insurance, Travelers Insurance and The Hartford Financial Services Group where she held CFO/Vice President positions in the financial disciplines. Liz started in the insurance industry in 1986 at Orion Capital where she held eight different positions over her ten years at the company, with each role having increased responsibilities. It is her time at Orion that provided her with a multitude of experiences from financial reporting, to treasury services, investor relations, mergers and acquisitions and even some product development. Those experiences provided her the foundation to move on to a start-up company where she was one of the first employees hired to create the finance function for the company.
As CFO of Blue Ridge Insurance Company (a subsidiary of Winterthur Swiss Insurance), Liz was tasked with hiring the entire finance staff, purchasing the general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable and the investment accounting systems, as well as establishing the banking and investment services for the company. After getting the company established Winterthur was purchased by Credit Suisse. Liz then moved on to consulting and joined Business Management Group (subsidiary of The Hartford Insurance Group). The consulting firm specialized in servicing insurance agents and brokers which allowed Liz to gain an appreciation for how to sell the product that she had spent many years supporting, while performing consultative services related to increasing valuations through operational and technology engagements.
Liz’s other entrepreneurial experiences began when she was in high school. At 16 years of age, she created Nip ‘n’ Tuck sewing and alterations which she started as a supplement to her retail sales job at a ladies boutique. She expanded the business to include making wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. A year after starting it, Nip 'n' Tuck was hired to make marching band uniforms. Liz again expanded her business and hired several assistants, and created an operating model to increase efficiency and output. Liz managed the creation of her company while finishing high school and kept it running as a means of funding her college education.
Liz holds a B.S. degree in Accounting from Sacred Heart University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Haven.