At Inspire, employees show up to disrupt the energy industry — and save the planet

by Justine Hofherr
June 22, 2018
inspire
Photo via Inspire

Dan Bell, Inspire’s chief of staff, has always been interested in protecting the environment.

He’s never had a car, can’t imagine not recycling and loves growing native plants and vegetables with his partner. Bell even dedicates a portion of his time volunteering at the California Academy of Sciences, an organization dedicated to exploring, explaining and sustaining life on Earth.

But what really gets Bell jazzed is what he does every day when he goes to work. His job? Help save the planet.

“Our vision is a world where every home is a smart home powered by clean energy,” Bell said.

If you’re unfamiliar with Inspire, where Bell works, the company is on a mission to build the world’s first consumer-focused clean power platform, enabling a connected movement of people toward a brighter energy future. By purchasing renewable energy certificates from local, regional and national wind farms on the consumer’s behalf, Inspire helps offset the energy they consume each month.

We come to work every day to create a brighter energy future — to do well by doing good.”

The consumer’s utility company still delivers energy to their house, reads their meters, and sends them bills, but Inspire is listed as the supplier. Suddenly, a consumer’s home or business is helping get more clean power into the grid.

It’s really as simple as that.

Bell’s role at Inspire (besides saving the world) is to amplify the impact of the CEO and executive team, as well as foster new and existing strategic relationships. Bell also leads Inspire’s office expansion efforts to accommodate more “Avengers” — Inspire’s fast-growing band of 94 employees.

“There’s something really special about a group of people committed to building a company that isn’t just best in the world, but best for the world,” Bell said. “We come to work every day to create a brighter energy future — to do well by doing good.”

And doing good they are.

Inspire’s members have prevented the energy equivalent of 1.1 billion pounds of coal from being burned since the company started a little over four years ago. This effort helped Inspire become a certified B Corp in 2017, joining a global movement of leaders who use business as a force for good. To become a certified B Corp, for-profit companies must be certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

There’s something really special about a group of people committed to building a company that isn’t just best in the world, but best for the world.”

Bell said having such a mission-driven culture infiltrates every aspect of employees’ work lives at Inspire.

“Like a sports team in pursuit of a championship title, Inspire’s team is in pursuit of its mission,” Bell said. “We all share that common identity, but what really separates our identity from others is our culture, our collective personality — how we interact with each other, what we tolerate, what core values we view as most important, how we get there. Culture is how we collectively live our mission.”

Inspire’s team mentality means that they’re a competitive bunch: think cupcake eating competitions, musical contests and hoops challenges. But when one employee wins, Bell said, everyone celebrates. If a sales rep crushes their numbers, they can expect an inbox full of congratulations. If one Avenger especially lives out Inspire’s core values over the course of a month, they’re recognized with a “Hulk” trophy.

One of the other things Avengers commit to? Showing up.

“We make progress every day because our Avengers show up — to support each other, to support our members, to solve the tough problems, and to inspire others to join our collective movement. You can’t accomplish anything, especially hard things like Ironman or disrupting the energy industry, if you don’t first commit to showing up.”

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