They say inspiration can come from anywhere.
Truth be told, we’re not 100% sure who “they” are. Regardless, for Meghan Griffiths, senior operations manager at Inspire, inspiration came from her childhood in South Africa.
“In South Africa, a lot of low-income housing has solar panels and hot water heaters,” she said. “When my family moved to the U.S., I didn’t see any of that, anywhere. That’s when I decided I wanted to work in the world of renewable energy.”
Griffiths went on to earn a degree in energy and environmental policy from the University of Delaware. After working for one year as a residential service coordinator at Standard Solar in Maryland, Griffiths discovered Center City-based clean energy company Inspire. Its mission to build a brighter energy future reminded Griffiths of why she went into the biz in the first place, and in 2014 she was hired as a manager of Inspire’s member support team.
Today, a little over five years later, Griffiths graciously gave us the lowdown on her rise up the career ladder at Inspire.
You started as a member support manager. How did you transition into a senior manager of operations?
When I worked at Standard Solar, I realized how much I enjoyed the technical elements of my job. As a member support manager at Inspire, I was on the front line, dealing with customer issues, but found myself missing the technical piece. I reached out to the head of the operations department — he was a mentor of mine — and he helped me navigate the transition into operations.
Today Inspire has a formal rotation program for people on the member support team. For six to eight weeks, you have the opportunity to work on a project in another department, such as marketing, product or sales, until you have a better idea of where you might want to take your career. It’s a nice path for people who don’t know where to start.
Describe a day in the life as the senior manager or operations.
Overall, my team works to ensure that every person who wants to be a member of Inspire is able to enroll. We validate the customer information provided at the time of enrollment before communicating with the different utilities like PECO. We like to say that we keep the trains running on time.
Inspire’s Technology and Product Teams also work in agile squads that enable us to move quickly as a company to implement change. I also work as our Fulfillment Operations Squad owner to improve how efficiently we are able to deliver our product to our members. This includes improving Inspire’s internal-facing tools, from enhancing our CRM in-house to developing clearer ways to display data for the member experience team.
I meet with key stakeholders — such as the head of Member Experience or Supply Chain — to understand where they’re experiencing challenges internally, like where they’re struggling through a manual process that we could solve with automation.
Many people across Inspire opt for “superflow days” on Wednesdays. We don’t schedule any meetings, we just work with our heads down, no distractions. I love Wednesdays.
Tell us about the culture at Inspire.
The people here have become best friends and family. On my birthday, they made me homemade cupcakes, sang happy birthday — we have a lot of small traditions like that. Work anniversaries are treated as very special events, too.
In terms of the work, we still view ourselves as a startup, though we’re at about 138 people now, split between Philly (60) and Santa Monica (78). We’re all super connected to one another. We have an open, collaborative work style; curiosity is encouraged. Tapping someone’s shoulder to ask a question in person is a norm.
A lot of our extracurricular events are run by employees. I personally enjoy our ladies nights where we get together over a bottle of wine and cheese and make vision boards or host clothings swaps. We like hanging out with each other, which is unique and cool on its own.
Any other unique facts about you, in addition to being from South Africa?
I wish I still had my accent, but kids are mean and I worked really hard to lose it after I started school here in 5th grade.
Also I’m addicted to Barre3, and love their mindful approach to working out. I love living in Philly and walk to work everyday, yes even when it snows. I’m usually listening to an audiobook or podcast. I’m a total foodie and love a good chai latte.-30-