Regional Executive Director
National Grid, Syracuse, N.Y.
It may take a village to raise a child, but Melanie Littlejohn’s parents raised 26 children in their modest home in Jamaica, N.Y. “When my younger brother and I were in high school, my parents took in and raised twenty-four foster children, all of them girls,” says Littlejohn, regional executive director at National Grid, a global energy provider. “My parents did it for the love of children, but it also helped me grow up with a sense of community and purpose.”
Littlejohn joined National Grid in 1994. Using her innate “soft skills” and “emotional intelligence,” she successfully tackled projects no one else wanted. Today, she is responsible for commercial and industrial customer account management, including customer satisfaction, and for managing external relationships with community leaders, organizations and local business associations. She is a trusted adviser for National Grid’s largest
customers and helps to create energy solutions to make businesses become more competitive. Because of her ability to connect with others and resolve issues, many see her as an ally and a resource. “When you can use your emotional intelligence to connect with someone on a very basic, human level, then you can get anything done,” says Littlejohn, who has a B.A. in liberal arts from SUNY-Stonybrook and an MBA from Syracuse University.
For several years, Littlejohn served as the facilitator for the Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism, a group of discussion circles started by the Interfaith Works of Central New York in Syracuse in 1997. She received the 2010 NAACP Freedom Award for her work with the Dialogue. A food lover
at heart, she also created a line of
handmade jewelry, under the brand ArtwearbyMelanie.com, using African materials and beading. “If I had the time and money, I would love to eat and bead my way around the world.”