CEO and Founder
Laura Monica is CEO and Founder of High Point Communications Group. She founded High Point Communications Group in 1991 and led its course until 2006 when she was recruited to use her talent and experience to help the largest water services company in the U.S. achieve a series of challenging and business critical communications goals which included taking the company public. In 2016, she decided to return to her roots and relaunched High Point Communications.
Laura has spent decades spearheading change, achieving results and reaching business goals for corporations at the executive level. With a penchant for taking on the most difficult corporate challenges, she has achieved success in executing transformational strategies with a results-oriented leadership style that maximizes business development and profitability. She has also served in senior executive leadership positions within the regulated and non-regulated utilities industries as well as the financial services sector.
In a corporate capacity, she most recently served as vice president, Corporate Communications, for Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI), a regional energy holding company that provides utility service to about 2 million customers in Washington DC, and parts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. In this role, she was responsible for all external and internal communications and served as a member of the executive leadership team reporting directly to Joseph M. Rigby, chairman, president and chief executive officer of PHI.
During her tenure at PHI, she was faced with a series of communications challenges that threatened the company’s success and ability to reach its business goals. She was recruited to join PHI in 2011, right after Business Insider named Pepco, the company’s Washington, D.C. and Maryland electric utility, the “most hated company in America.” Within three years as the chief communications executive, and due to her proactive and strategic communications approach, the company experienced an unprecedented turnaround. In 2014, JD Power named Pepco most improved utility among large brands with an increase of 47 points. Customer satisfaction for Pepco increased 28 points from summer 2011 to year-end 2014, and Energy Biz Magazine named PHI “Energy Company of the Year” in 2014.
PHI’s brand reputation improved 39 points in a little more than two years as she directed the development of an integrated, research-based communications strategy that launched major rebranding initiatives enterprise-wide including: multi-million dollar advertising campaigns focused on service and reliability improvements and storm restoration; bold media relations initiatives to embed reporters and photo journalists; dramatic improvements of digital assets with the launch of four new websites incorporating responsive design. The team she recruited received more than a hundred communications awards including a PRSA Silver Anvil Award and 49 MarCom Awards. In 2014, Washington Women in Public Relations named her Washington PR Woman of the Year.
Laura’s tactics, combined with infrastructure reliability enhancements, helped improve the company’s image for customers, the business community and the media. Customers started to trust PHI again and research showed major gains. Penn Schoen Berland re-examined Pepco’s reputation in December 2015 and found the neutral and favorable customer rating moved to 80 percent – a 39-point improvement since August 2012. Additionally, the most recent ratings for Pepco provided by Market Strategies International show overall customer satisfaction reached the highest rating seen in nearly 10 years. It is an especially impressive turnaround story considering Pepco’s reputation improved despite the major derecho storm and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Additional communications challenges arrived in 2014 when PHI entered into a merger agreement to sell the company to Exelon Corporation at a 29.5 percent premium. Laura successfully drove merger communications, including the initial merger announcement to internal and external stakeholders, and worked collaboratively on all subsequent communications related to the merger.
Before joining PHI in August 2011, Laura served as senior vice president, corporate communications and external affairs, at American Water, the country’s largest publicly-traded water and wastewater services company. There she led and directed strategy development for all customer communications, branding, marketing, advertising, internal and external affairs, government affairs and corporate responsibility activities, reaching approximately 16 million people in 35 states and Canada.
She was recruited for this position in 2006 by then-CEO Donald Correll, to lead the communications effort, as the company was not only preparing for its long-awaited initial public offering, but also undergoing a complete rebranding effort that was tied to the timing of the day of the IPO. The new company brand was unveiled with fanfare on opening day in April 2008 at the New York Stock Exchange.
Additionally, in this role, her media relations strategy delivered media coverage of $90 million in advertising equivalency value over 30 months. The investor relations initiative her team supported won 2009 Best in Class Award and 2010 Outstanding Achievement from Interactive Media Council.
Laura has won numerous awards and recognitions, including the Washington Women in Public Relations 2014 Washington PR Woman of the Year; the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award in 2013; a PRSA National Capital Chapter 2013 Thoth Award and a PRSA Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation for communications efforts; recognition by PR News for one of the “Top Places to Work in PR” in 2013; New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business in 2010; PR News Award – PR People of the Year in 2009; New Hampshire’s Best Small Company to Work For in 2004 and 2005; Small Business Person of the Year in New Hampshire awarded by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2002; a total of more than 220 awards for marketing communications, leadership and business ethics over the past 25 years.
She earned a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire. She completed the yearlong Leadership Greater Washington program in which government, business and non-profit leaders met regularly to discuss and address critical topics that affect the Greater Washington community. Laura has been a guest lecturer in the areas of marketing and strategic communications at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Maryland.
In addition, Laura is certified by TTI University as an analyst for the TriMetrix® Behavioral, Motivational and EQ assessment tool, 2014. She is also certified by Birkman International to analyze and interpret the Birkman Method® Assessment tool, 2014 and is certified by CPP, Inc., in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory tool in 2015 and is certified by Multi-Health Systems, Inc., in EQ-i 2.0 and EQ 360, emotional intelligence assessment tools, in 2015. She is a certified executive coach by the International Coach Federation, 2016.