Advancing Your Career through Pivoting & Practice

Monica Alston
Monica Alston
July 9, 2024
Career trajectories often don’t follow a straight line. For Monica Alston, Vice President of Safety, Health & Environment and Risk & Compliance at National Grid, her path involved a series of pivots that made her a stronger leader.

As a keynote panelist at the upcoming WOMENLEAD24 conference, Monica will share her advice and insights on how to be an impactful leader. She recently sat down with NAEM’s Executive Director Carol Singer Neuvelt to discuss switching industries, the importance of practice, and turning weaknesses into strengths.

Carol: Can you share an example of a bold move you made during your career that helped you achieve success?

Monica: I pivoted many times in my career, with the most significant pivot being from the manufacturing industry to the telecommunications/media industry. Now, I’m in the energy/utility sector. Each move expanded my thinking, my network, my toolkit, and my business acumen. 

Carol: Knowing what you know now, what piece of career advice would you give your younger self?

Monica: Learn how to build, nurture, and activate strong working relationships and then practice! You cannot accomplish big, important, complex, transformational work alone. You need others.

Carol: Which leadership skills came naturally to you and which ones did you have to work on?

Monica: Strategic thinking, effective communication, problem-solving, execution, and agility all came pretty naturally to me. I had to work on developing others, such as persuasion and delegation, but now I feel these are some of my strengths.

Carol: What are you looking forward to most about WOMENLEAD24?

Monica: Meeting and interacting with the attendees, sharing my experiences as part of a dynamic panel, and learning from others. I am a life-long learner!

Join Monica and many other talented and successful female leaders in EHS & Sustainability at WOMENLEAD24 in Providence, Rhode Island, July 23-25, 2024. Learn more at


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About the Author

Monica Alston
Monica Alston
National Grid
Monica is the Vice President of Safety, Health and Environment (SHE), Risk and Compliance for National Grid’s New York business unit. In this role, Monica is responsible for driving performance, culture and continuous improvement in occupational safety, process safety, health & well-being, and environmental sustainability. She is also responsible for assurance of controls to reduce operational/business continuity risks and meet compliance obligations. Monica leads an organization of SMEs and partners closely with corporate, functional and business unit leaders as well as members of NG’s Board to realize our commitment to keep our employees, our customers and the public safe as we lead in creating a clean, fair and affordable energy future.

Monica also serves as the Executive Sponsor of the Alliance of Black Professionals (ABP) Employee Resource Group at National Grid. In this capacity she provides strategic direction and guidance to the ABP leadership team to define and deliver on its mission and purpose to foster an inclusive workplace and harness the power of diversity, which are keys to long-term business success and profitability. She is also a member of National Grid’s Sustainability SteerCo, chaired by the Chief Sustainability Officer, ensuring we deliver on our Responsible Business Charter commitments.

Prior to joining National Grid, Monica served as the Director of Environment, Health and Safety for Comcast Cable, a division of Comcast-NBCUniversal where she was responsible for developing strategies to reduce risks through effective sustainable management practices to derive business value. Throughout her career, Monica has held several leadership roles within highly regulated B2C and B2B industrial companies. Leading in global roles at Kellogg’s, Eaton Corporation and GlaxoSmithKline, Monica has lived in Brussels and Montreal as an expat. Earlier in her career she served as the Public Lands & Energy Fellow at the National Wildlife Federation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Washington D.C., working with environmental and energy policy lobbyists.

Monica holds a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University, an MS degree in Environmental Engineering from Villanova University, and various technical and professional certifications in safety, health, risk, operational excellence and sustainability. She currently sits on various non-profit boards providing insights, expertise and guidance.

Monica currently resides in Albany, NY. She and her husband have 3 older children and are from the western suburbs of Philadelphia, PA.

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