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Meet Michael Cornell: Inspire’s Sr. Manager of Financial Planning & Strategy

Inspire Clean Energy

May 15, 2018

4 min read

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As we evolve our company culture to be more grounded in performance driven values and goals, our Finance team is critical to our company growth. The team brings our vision of a brighter energy future to life by helping us set realistic goals, with realistic time frames. Using their analysis, we’re able to make important strategic business decisions that result in growth or healthy losses. Most importantly, they help us see how far we have come in our journey.

We sat down with our Sr. Manager of Financial Planning & Strategy, Michael Cornell, to discuss the ins and outs of working in Finance at Inspire. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What do you do at Inspire?

I work with our Financial Planning & Analysis team to forecast how we expect the company to perform and run analytics on actual business performance. I also work closely with our opportunity review committee to analyze various projects that other teams bring to us. And I partner with our Commercial Strategy team to come up with data-driven strategies for which products we want to sell, in which markets, at what price point.

Q: Your last job was in investment banking, how has working in clean tech differed from investment banking?

When you're working at an investment bank company, you work with a variety of different companies at various stages of their life, which is really exciting. However, after a few years of working on a diverse set of individual transactions, I decided I really wanted the experience of diving in deep with one company. At Inspire, I get to be a lot more tactical with projects that we’re working on. And although it's more project based, everything I do is a stepping stone in the direction of the same overall goal.

Q: What’s the most exciting thing about working in Finance at Inspire?

What’s most exciting about working in Finance here is that we get to to see our ideas materialize as we push them through and see how they perform against our forecast. We’ve also been implementing new reporting methods to support our shift to a performance-driven culture. These new reports are more thoughtful in terms of how we slice and analyze the company to get the data we need, which I’m really proud of. It’s been exciting to continue to grow and improve upon the way we share data and analytics.


Q: We’ve introduced a new value recently: Crush It. Tell me about the last project you feel you ‘crushed’ at Inspire?

I worked with our Data Science and Analytics team as well as our Commercial strategy team to construct a tool that allows us to more accurately predict how our products will perform in each market. Part of what makes this really difficult is that our business changes by the minute —we sit downstream of a commodity exchange, which means the pricing and the performance of each of our products changes all the time, so trying to keep up is a full time effort. We all came together and spent many late nights working to build this tool, and ended up producing something that is working well. We’re now using the tool to inform all the strategic views that we put forth in the business.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your co-workers?

There’s so much to love. I love that everyone is so excited and passionate about the company and their role. People really drive their own performance here, and everyone is incredibly engaged. I also enjoy being a part of our office sports teams — we play dodgeball and volleyball together. It's exciting to see people from different groups coming together to have some competitive fun. We have great stories from the dodgeball team. We’ve had times where our fearless leader, Dan Bell — our Chief of Staff, would be facing 4 on 1 situations and somehow he just can't get hit! One by one, he manages to takes out everyone else on the opposing team.

We are fortunate to have a passionate finance team that empowers the whole organization to be performance-driven. Because of them, we’re always on track as a business and focused on meeting our goals. If you’d like to join us on our ascent to the top, check out our open jobs in finance here.

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