Melanie Littlejohn, Board Member
Melanie Littlejohn is the Regional Executive Director of National Grid’s Central New York Division, the company’s largest division. She is responsible for establishing and maintaining strong local relationships that drive superior customer satisfaction, and promoting safety and reliability of the network, emergency management, economic development initiatives, gas and electric energy efficiency programs, renewable energy solutions, and distributed resource projects in line with customer priorities.
Prior to 2011 when Melanie was named to her current position, she was the Executive Director of Energy Solutions Delivery for National Grid’s Central New York. Melanie joined the company (then Niagara Mohawk) in April of 1994 as the Director of Inclusion & Diversity-US Operations responsible for the overall strategy for Inclusion & Diversity and Compliance. Melanie currently serves as a Trustee/Officer of Onondaga County Community College, Business Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Board of Directors and Executive Committee of CenterState CEO, Board of Directors of Manufactures of Central New York, Consensus CNY (Commission Member), SUNY Morrisville Business School, Council of Advisor’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Downtown Committee, Say Yes to Education (Scholarship Board), and The Community Wide Dialogue Advisory Board.
She has received numerous awards including the 2014 Partners for Education and Business-Business Leaders Award, the 2012 House of Providence Humanitarian Award, the Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business award in 2011, the 2011 Leadership Greater Syracuse Distinguished Community Leader Award among others.
Hon. Louis Elisa, II, Board Member
Louis Elisa, II was elected to the 2012 Massachusetts Electoral College where he had the honor of placing the President’s name into nomination for re-election. In 2008, Louis served as a Gubernatorial Appointee, the Executive Secretary of the Seaport Advisory Council (SAC). He oversaw and directed Harbor Economic Development and growth, along with port safety and security throughout the 1,500 miles of the Commonwealth’s coastline.
Previously, Louis served as a Presidential Appointee, Senior Executive Service for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). While at FEMA, he served as the Region I Director overseeing management, training and preparedness for all six New England states. He later served as the International Affairs Officer; US Permanent Representative to NATO, in Brussels, Belgium. He took over the position as Director in Preparedness and Training Division, responsible for intergovernmental security agency coordination and developing a process for interfaith organizations to qualifications in disaster preparedness.
Louis is presently the co-founder and Director of International Outreach for Africa and European Affairs for World Disaster Management LLC since March 2001. He is a consultant to Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In addition, he serves as a Deacon at his church and volunteers as a mentor in a K-6 elementary school.
He has certifications in Arbitration, Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Environmental Safety, Disaster Management, WMD, ICS,
and Terrorism Response.
Deborah Drew, Director, Philanthropic Development
Deborah (Deb) Drew has served as a communications professional for the vast majority of her 25-year tenure with National Grid and its legacy company, New England Electric. She has a proven track record of successfully managing internal and external stakeholders, along with effective reputation management. Deb transitioned from strategic communications to the Foundation in 2017 and is focused on supporting its philosophy and mission by delivering programming, outreach and communications efforts in New England. She helps manage grant-making procedures and policies; prepares Foundation materials and documents; serves as Foundation representative and spokesperson in the community; and proactively builds and maintains positive internal and external relationships with National Grid Foundation stakeholders to assure and strengthen the Foundation’s reputation. Deb has a passion for supporting underserved communities, especially children, and enjoys working with the Foundation team to advance and grow this area of philanthropy.
Angel Taveras, Board Member
From 2011 to 2015, Angel Taveras served as the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, where he led a city government with 5,700 employees and a budget of $678 million. He is credited with rescuing the city from the brink of bankruptcy and confronting a $110 million structural deficit through landmark reforms to pensions, negotiated concessions in labor contracts and unprecedented assistance from tax-exempt institutions. Under his leadership, Providence was recognized with the All-America City Award from the National Civic League for its plan to boost third-grade reading proficiency, was the recipient of a $3 million award from the Carnegie Foundation to create innovative high schools, and received the City Livability Award at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2014. In addition, Taveras won Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge $5 million grand prize for his innovative proposal to improve the vocabularies of pre-school age children.In 2015, Taveras became a shareholder in the Boston office of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP. He focuses his practice on municipal restructuring, public finance, commercial litigation, pension litigation and public infrastructure. With over 18 years of experience in litigation, he is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
Christine A. Berardi, Communication Lead/Editor
Christine Berardi is the Communication Lead/Editor for National Grid Foundation. As a communications professional, she utilizes her expertise to further the Foundation’s mission and its support of partner organizations by giving them a voice and sharing their accomplishments on the Foundation’s website and in its publications. Christine is the Editor of Destiny, National Grid Foundation’s quarterly newsletter.
In addition to her communications role, Christine serves as brand advocate and grant ambassador among her wide-ranging responsibilities. She and her talented team members work together creating opportunities to help better the lives of those in our communities.
In December 1990, Christine started her career at Brooklyn Union and continued working in Corporate Communications at KeySpan and National Grid. In 2010, she began working at National Grid Foundation.
Lorraine Lynch, Board Member
Lorraine M. Lynch was appointed Head of Audit at National Grid in October 2014. In her role, she is responsible for providing independent assurance to the Audit and Safety Environment and Health Committees of the Board and the Executive Committee at National Grid.
Prior to her current position, Lorraine was US Treasurer for National Grid with responsibilities that included pension and 401k investment management, commodity and credit risk management, cash management, and financing for the US businesses. Having joined National Grid’s predecessor companies in 1991, Lorraine has held various management positions within the company.
She is a certified treasury professional, chairperson for the National Grid Investment Committee; a member of the Alumni Board for St Francis College in Brooklyn New York, and an advisory board member and member of the finance and investment committee for the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn.
Eileen R. Cohen, Chair
Eileen R. Cohen was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors in December 2018. She replaces Al Wiltshire who retired as Chair the same month. Eileen Cohen retired as Managing Director for JP Morgan Asset Management in 2018, a position she has held since 2001. At JP Morgan, she was Chair of the North America Proxy Committee and led the firm’s initiatives in corporate governance. Eileen was also a Senior Client Portfolio Manager and a proven expert in investment consulting, portfolio management and financial communications.
Prior to her Managing Director position, Ms. Cohen worked for Invesco, formerly Chancellor Capital where she was a partner and held various roles including Portfolio Manager, Head of Asset Allocation and Head of Client Services. In her earlier professional career, she was a partner at Buck Consulting, an actuarial and investment consulting firm and held manufacturing and finance positions at International Paper Co.
Additionally, Ms. Cohen serves as a mentor in the Executive On Campus program at Baruch College, where she received the Alumni Allegiance Award. She also serves as Chair of the Audit Committee as well as a past member of the advisory council of SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board).
Ms. Cohen has authored numerous articles on investing and is an Adjunct Lecturer on corporate governance at Baruch College Ms. Cohen completed her BA in economics at Queens College and continued on to Baruch to earn an MBA in finance and economics. Ms. Cohen was selected for inclusion in the 2017 NACD Directorship 100.
Marcy L. Reed, Board Member
Marcy L. Reed is President of National Grid’s Massachusetts business and Executive Vice President of US Policy & Social Impact. She is responsible for the gas and electricity businesses in Massachusetts, including their operational, customer service, financial, and reputational outcomes. In addition, she leads energy policy development for the US business and the effective implementation of National Grid’s new social mobility platform.
Marcy joined National Grid in 1988 and has held various positions in finance, merger integration, corporate affairs, and business operations. She also spent three years in London as the head of Investor Relations for National Grid.
Marcy sits on the boards of Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts, Northeastern University, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, The Partnership, and the New England Council. She is the global executive sponsor for National Grid’s Women in Networks employee resource group.
Marcy is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a master’s degree from Northeastern University. She lives in Concord, MA.
Kelly Rubbins, Executive Assistant for the Executive Director
Kelly Rubbins is an Executive Assistant for the Executive Director of The National Grid Foundation, Vice President of Giving & the Vice President of Energy Procurement. Known for her excellent relationship building techniques, within and outside of the National Grid territory, she serves as a Brand Ambassador for the National Grid Foundation. She believes that challenging the existing ways of working and seeking ways to do things better will drive greater efficiencies within her area.
Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience within highly regulated industries having previously worked for Consolidated Edison of New York as the Executive Assistant for the Senior Vice President and General Counsel in the Law Department and Cablevision as the Department Coordinator in Media Sales & Traffic. She loves volunteering her time and serving the local community she grew up in, Jamaica Queens, to help decline the rate of high school drop-out.
Kelly has earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the State University of New York at College of Old Westbury.
Pamela Focá, Creative Advisor
Pamela started her career at Brooklyn Union and has worked as a creative throughout the company's transitions to National Grid. She brings 30 years of creative experience to the Foundation through design in print, web, video and social media. She continually looks for opportunities to align the Foundation's brand with the organizations and programs it supports building positive awareness of their relationship within the communities it serves - ensuring a greater rate of success.
Pamela has served as a member of the executive board of the Art & Design Alumni Association, and has served as Creative Advisor to BSA Troop 303, Oceanside, Theodore Roosevelt Council. She is the proud mom of an Eagle Scout.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Don Lowery, Board Member
Don Lowery is Senior Vice President, Community Engagement, for Nielsen, a global media company focused on marketing and consumer information and media measurement. He leads a team that develops and executes Nielsen’s strategy for outreach to diverse communities ensuring its panels and surveys accurately represent national and local populations.
During his career, Don has worked in newspapers, television, public relations and government affairs. He began his career as a general assignment reporter for the Roanoke (VA) Times & World News, followed by reporting jobs for the Norfolk (VA) Ledger Start and the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. In 1980, he joined the Boston Globe as a business reporter specializing in coverage of the financial and credit markets and economic news. While working for The Globe, he was part of a team of reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the aftermath of school desegregation in Boston. After his time at The Globe, Don worked in public relations and investment banking.
In 1994, Lowery joined the New England Patriots Football Club, first as Vice President of Public Relations and Community Affairs and later as Vice President of Player Development and Community Affairs. He was part of the team’s senior administrative staff during the 2001 season when the Patriots won the first of their three Super Bowls.Lowery has received several journalism awards during his career, including honors for editorial writing from the Associated Press, United Press International, Lincoln (MO) University and the New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmys).
Dr. Gary V. Simpson, Vice - Chair
Dr. Gary V. Simpson brings to the National Grid Foundation Board of Directors the expertise of a scholar, educator, author and composer; the leadership skills of a pastor, board member and corporation president; and the caring concern of a husband, father and community advocate. Educated in the public schools of Columbus, Ohio, Dr. Simpson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Denison University, Columbus, Ohio; a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, New York, New York; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. He has been Senior Pastor of The Concord Baptist Church of Christ for 20 years and is Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Drew University Theological Seminary, Madison, New Jersey.
His numerous religious and community affiliations include: Chair, The Fund for Theological Education (FTE); former Chair, Long Range Planning Committee-Progressive National Baptist Convention; Board Member, Denison University and the Institute of Church Administration and Management (ICAM); Advisory Board Member, African American Pulpit; member, American Baptist Churches and The New York Council of Churches, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Allocations Committee, United Way; Progressive National Baptist Convention; and former Board Member, Union Theological Seminary.
Carmen Fields, Vice - Chair
Carmen Fields was the Director of Community Relations/Economic Development New England for National Grid. Prior to that position, she was Director of Media Relations and Corporate Giving. Carmen has been a fixture in Boston’s journalism community for more than 25 years. Her experience includes both print and broadcast journalism; journalism education and media relations. She currently hosts the monthly public affairs program “Higher Ground” at WHDH-TV, 7NBC.
She was part of the Boston Globe team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of Boston’s school segregation. After working at the Boston Globe, Carmen served as a TV reporter/anchor in Boston and was an assistant professor at Northeastern University. She is also a member of the Boston Adult Literacy Fund and Board Chair of the Museum of African American History on Boston’s Beacon Hill. Among her many awards for service and civic engagement, Carmen received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Salem State University (Salem, MA).
Edward H. White, Jr., Executive Director
Edward H. White, Jr. is the executive director of National Grid Foundation. His responsibilities include serving as chief administrative officer, setting and managing the annual gifting and operating budgets, developing and implementing grant making criteria, creating brand strategies while working with non-profit organizations to create compelling grant proposals.
“When presented with the opportunity, I didn’t hesitate to join the National Grid Foundation team. Spanning nearly two decades, the Foundation has a long track record of philanthropic contributions that help the communities we serve,” said Ed. “I’m excited to help the Foundation grow in new, exciting ways that will ultimately improve the lives of more people and make our communities better places to live.”
Al Wiltshire, Chairman, National Grid Foundation, said, “Ed brings a wealth of experience from working within different areas of National Grid. He brings a new and welcomed enthusiasm for the work we do.”
Prior to joining National Grid Foundation, Ed worked as National Grid’s Vice President/US Program Lead for The Shaping Our Future Strategic Review. Prior to that, he was Vice President of New Energy Solutions. Ed has been with National Grid for more than 24 years.
The Board of Directors consists of esteemed business and community leaders who represent diverse industry and cultural and humanitarian organizations. They are collectively responsible for the Foundation staying true to its mission and focus, overseeing the Foundation’s activities and acting as the top-level advisory board. The Board of Directors meets quarterly to select prospective grant recipients.
Michael J. Taunton, Treasurer
Michael J. Taunton is Chief Financial Officer for Posillico Inc., a private construction company based in New York. Mike has extensive financial management experience, having previously served as Chief Financial Officer for the Long Island Power Authority; Vice President and Treasurer for Arrow Electronics; and Senior Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Risk Officer for KeySpan Corporation.
Mike has a diverse background that includes the CFO, accounting, finance and treasury functions; strategic planning; capital management; transition and business process improvement and risk management. He has also taken a lead role in Investor Relations.
Mike has an MBA in Finance from Adelphi University and a B.S. in Accounting from St. Francis College. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and the Executive Management Program at the University of Michigan.
In addition to the National Grid Foundation, Mike also serves on the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn Finance and Investment Committee.