Power to Serve strikes again!

By Ellen Cooke

“It has been a rewarding experience for the last two years, so I’ve signed up for my third year!” says Charles Giardino, Lead Commercial Sales Representative.

“I found the mentoring experience both challenging and rewarding. I would do it again,” claims Amy Drogaris, Lead Engineer, Compliance Improvement.

“I like to give the advice/insight I wish someone had given me when I was in high school,” says Nick Cusumano, Senior Civil Engineer.

power to serve logoCharles, Amy and Nick are talking about the mentoring program they participated in with Energy Tech High School in Long Island City, NY – a STEM and early college initiative school we support in a variety of ways. They are just three of 17 employee volunteers who recently completed this nine-week program, which is part of our Power to Serve employee volunteer initiative. Employees mentored/taught students throughout the school year on topics ranging from leadership, to communication, to teambuilding, project management, interviewing skills, career advice, conflict resolution, good citizenship and more.

“This required a serious commitment from our employees and the school has been absolutely thrilled with the program,” says Community and Customer Management (C&CM) Manager Kiel Costella, who says we plan to expand it next year.

“Through industry mentoring, National Grid has a regular presence at Energy Tech. Many students look forward to their monthly sessions,” says the school’s industry liaison Laura Miller. “Having industry mentors at Energy Tech deepens students’ exposure to company culture and values. Students can ask their mentors just about anything that’s on their minds when thinking about college and careers.”


Renee McClure with students

And, mentors find the experience as gratifying as their students: “It has been truly rewarding to interact, and share both my professional and personal experience, with the same students I have mentored for two consecutive years,” says C&CM Manager Renee McClure. “I’m looking forward to seeing them next year as seniors.”

Some mentors, like Work Force Management Senior Analyst Lester Wright, take a philosophical approach:

“When I mentor students, I think of various quotes that I write to myself. For example, ‘If we measure success by being near to or at the very top and we compare success to climbing a tree, then we should be asking ourselves: How tall is our tree? Palm trees are not that tall, so you may be able to get to the top fairly easily. If you choose the tallest tree in the world, a Redwood, you will always be striving and passing many on the way that have peaked.”

C&CM Director Mike Ruiz and NY Jurisdiction President Ken Daly are also happy and proud of the success of Power to Serve programs like the Energy Tech High School mentoring program. Says Ken: “This is another excellent example of how we are really touching and improving the lives of the students in our local communities … and making them better places to learn and prepare for the future.”

Here’s the full list of our employee volunteers for the Energy Tech High School mentoring program this past school year: Kadan Brown, William Charlock, Nick Cusumano, Amy Drogalis, Charles Giardino, Ivelisse Lopez, Alex Mallozzi, Renee McClure, Christopher McGovern, Ian Peir, Mary Phillips, Brittney Pietro, Timothy Posillico, Christopher Reyes, Joe Turrigiano, Lester Wright and Christopher Lee.

As Christopher Yee sums it up … “I’d like to think I’m making a difference – even if it’s a small one – in helping the students make better decisions.”

Visit the Power to Serve portal or contact your Regional Volunteer Council or Linda Clark to find out more about how you can get involved in the Energy Tech High School mentoring program or to sign up for other upcoming volunteer events. And watch for more stories to come in the future.


National Grid volunteers Kiel Costella, Tim Posillico, Chris Mcgovern, Joe Turrigiano, Renee McClure, Nick Cusumano, Brittney Pietro and Amy Drogalis


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