Skip navigation.
Go to the Principal Financial Group(R) home page

Meet the Central States Business Center Team

Eric Howell - Regional Managing Director

Eric brings 27+ years of diverse industry experience to his role as Regional Managing Director of Central States Business Center, encompassing the Tennessee and Kentucky region. He holds the ChFC® (Chartered Financial Consultant) designation from The American College and FINRA series 6, 7, 24, 26, and 65 securities registrations. He is a qualifying member of The Principal's Management Achievement Roundtable (MART) and a recipient of GAMA's national management awards. Active in industry organizations such as NAIFA, GAMA, and the Society of Financial Services Professional (SFSP), where he currently serves as President and board member for the Nashville Chapter, he has been a contributing author to various industry publications, conducted numerous financial seminars and workshops, and is certified to provide continuing professional education for CPAs.

Eric is a native of east Tennessee and a graduate of University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Business Administration. He and his wife Laura, and daughters Brooke and Chandler, reside in Franklin, Tennessee.

 Connect with me on LinkedIn

Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Todd Schoonover - Managing Director

Todd's involvement with the Principal Financial Group® is the culmination of a dedicated and extensive career in Financial Services. He began in the financial services industry in 1997 and was a personal financial advisor for his first eight years to which during that time he developed a passion for leading advisor and producer groups. Todd currently has the rewarding position of Managing Director and is responsible for leading, training and mentoring financial professionals throughout the state of Tennessee, including offices in Memphis, Nashville, and most recently Chattanooga. Todd grew up most of his life in Chattanooga and attended Notre Dame High School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Todd is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a B.S. in Finance and a minor in Economics. He is an active alumnus with Kappa Sigma Fraternity currently serving as one of Board Members. Todd particularly enjoys his favorite past times of golfing and boating when surrounded by family and friends. He and his wife Nickie reside in Chattanooga with their three children Reese, Tess and Ariana.

Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Kira Deck - Operations Manager

Kira began her career in the Financial Services industry as an Administrative Specialist in the International Department at LOMA (Life Office Management Association) in Atlanta, GA. During her six years at LOMA she earned her MBA from Kennesaw State University as well as LOMA's FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute) and ACS (Associate, Customer Service) designations. Kira joined Principal Financial Group in July 2010 as a Sales Support Specialist. She was promoted to Operations Manager in September 2013.

Kira and her husband, Kevin, reside in Franklin, TN with their two daughters.

Sarah Lindsay - Sr. Marketing Coordinator

Sarah joined the Principal Financial Group® in March 2014 with previous work experience as a Financial Representative and General Agent's Assistant. As the local Sales Support Specialist for the Cordova office, Sarah processes all new business and provides administrative support for management and financial professionals. She also works with new financial professionals to ensure they are familiar with the wide variety of marketing materials The Principal® has to offer, as well as ensuring current financial professionals utilize the resources available to them.

Originally from England, Sarah moved to the United States 16 years ago, having previously lived in Germany for four years. Sarah resides in Collierville with her husband Grant. They have two children, Hannah, who is studying at Auburn University and James, who is a junior in high school. Sarah holds her Life and Health License in TN.

Tara Hulse - Field Supervisory Associate

Tara began her journey with Principal in 1999, working with the Retirement Investor Services division. In 2009, she became a Regional Compliance Director for the Southeast, and moved to North Carolina. In 2015, Tara took on a new role with Principal: Field Supervisory Associate. In this role, she assists management in Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville areas with compliance matters.

Tara holds Associates of Business Management, with Honors, AIB College of Business, is FINRA Series 7, 66, 24 and 53 registered and is an FLMI (Fellow, Life Management Institute)

Tara is an animal advocate and asks that you consider adoption for your next fur-kid. She, her husband, Rob, and their 4 fur-kids reside in Efland, NC.

Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

Emily Lawrence - Sales Support Specialist

Emily joined Principal® in 2016 as the Sales Support Specialist for the Chattanooga Office. She works closely with the team of financial professionals towards achieving the Central States Business Center goals. Emily handles all aspects of new business processing, from the implementation of marketing programs and operational strategies. She serves as a liaison between the financial professionals and home office underwriting team, in addition to ensuring compliance procedures are followed. Emily provides assistance to the office and financial professionals with marketing their business through social media. She graduated from Belhaven University obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Management.

Laura Sperduto - Sales Support Specialist

Laura originally joined the Central States Business Center in July 2013 as private staff for two financial professionals who joined us from MetLife. In October 2014, Laura officially joined the Principal Financial Group® as the Sales Support Specialist for the Brentwood office. Laura processes all new business and provides administrative support for management and financial professionals.

Originally from Boston, Laura and her husband, Pat, moved to Tennessee in 1996 from Florida. At the time, it was thought they would be here for only a few years, but almost 20 years later they are still here. Laura and her husband reside in Brentwood with their three children, Rosie, Cosmo and Sofia.

Cindy Duick, CLF®, LUTCF - Sr. Regional Marketing Consultant

As Senior Regional Marketing Consultant, Cindy's mission is to help financial professionals achieve success through efficient use of resources, developing markets and strategic business planning thereby supporting the Principal Financial Group® USIS mission and goals. Cindy works closely as partner with business center teams throughout the United States, including Chicago, IL; Raleigh, NC; Richmond, VA; Brentwood, Chattanooga, and Memphis, TN; Bethesda, MD; Wilmington, DE, Marlton, NJ; Wayne & Pittsburg, PA; Manhattan, NY; Miramar, Plantation and Coral Gables, FL.

Cindy graduated from Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA in 1985 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications and French. She obtained dual degrees in the French Language studying in Strasbourg, France. In addition to her years of experience in Financial Services which began at MetLife in 1999, she has worked in various aspects of sales and marketing in diverse fields such as advertising and sales promotion, corporate healthcare administration, and manufacturing. She has earned the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation, and in 2014 achieved the Charters Leadership Fellow (CLF®) designation with the American College.

Originally from Lancaster, PA, Cindy lives in Boca Raton, FL with her husband Whit, an IT Director and their Rottweiler, Shasta Pearl. She is a member of the Gulfstream Guardian Angels Rottweiler Rescue organization, an advocate for the Alzheimer's Foundation, and a member of St. Jude Catholic Church. She enjoys all sorts of adventures traveling the world when she has free time. She is an avid Words with Friends competitor and loves solving cryptograms.

 Connect with me on LinkedIn

Have a question? Call us at 1.866.514.5289

Copyright © , Principal Financial Services, Inc.
Disclosures and Terms of Use | Privacy and Security
Securities and advisory products offered through Principal Securities, Inc., 800/247-1737 Member SIPC