BERC Alumni Spotlight – Mira Inbar, Director of Strategy, NRG Energy

We are pleased to welcome Mira Inbar, BERC and Haas Alum, to our Alumni spotlight! Mira also spoke at the recent BERC Energy Summit on the Corporate Renewable Procurement panel.

Mira Inbar

Mira Inbar, Haas 2009

What are you doing now?

I lead NRG’s business strategy team covering distributed energy for corporate customers, which includes renewables, demand response, thermal, etc. One primary activity is customer need finding, i.e. gathering intelligence on the market and trends.  My team leads upfront strategic planning for new products & markets. This is actually a strategy team I helped create.

What brought you to this job?

I like to be in places that are transitioning, so I have the opportunity to think big and solve big problems. The utility industry is in transition, and trying to figure out the new business model is exciting. When I worked at Dow Chemical, I was part of an internal battery venture. We built a big state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Michigan. It was exciting to be part of pushing clean energy in Michigan, especially after the automotive industry had just collapsed, and to work on something I believed in.

What are you most excited about in the energy space?

I am most excited about clean energy becoming more of an everyday business practice. Regardless of what Trump does about coal, from a market perspective, I don’t think it will make natural gas or renewables go away. It’s not an argument anymore. Clean energy is here – people are buying electrons that are coming from clean sources. Conservative groups have been advocating for competitive markets and deregulation, opening up energy markets for renewables to enter.

How has Haas helped in your career?

I went to Haas to transition from non-profit to business. Haas provided an amazing business foundation, but what I got most out of it are the great friends I’ve continued to work and collaborate with inside and outside of work. The people from Haas are really world-class.

How have you changed as a leader since Haas?

I learned how to work with lots of different types of people, in different parts of organizations, to change the way things are currently done. I learned a lot about managing people, growing teams and talent to be the best they can be. I have seen the world change quite a few times, which gives you a certain level of wisdom, stoicism, and strategic viewpoints. I am less reactionary to world events, and know to take a long view, especially when you’re trying to protect the planet.

What did you wish you had known?

I wish I had known more patience, that things take time. I would have gone to more classes like power and politics, to learn how you exercise politics in a company, without it changing you and what you stand for. I would have focused more on learning how to effectively lead meetings, when people are so different from each other. Whenever you enter an industry that’s been around for awhile, you have to aware of the culture, and what’s important to you.

Any other advice?

Focus on how much you can learn. Once you stop learning at a place, leave. Make sure there are people giving you honest feedback. Adapt and quickly learn from experiences. When you’re in a learning mindset, you will grow and doors will open. If you’re just focused on titles, you won’t get there.

Do you have any thoughts on women leadership in energy?

It’s definitely noticeable, so just having some self-awareness is important. It is important to understand the culture you’re in, what people’s mindsets are, rather than reacting. It is helpful to have female mentors that can guide you. It’s helpful to have a reference point with other women, just to be able to share stories, to not take things personally, and be able to deal with issues. You are going to face different circumstances and expectations. Be up for it. Embrace it and learn from it.

What is your spirit animal?

Elephant – I love elephants. I’ve been to Africa, and it has been life-changing. Just last week I was in Tanzania!