The first female MD in the industry: An interview with Janet Thornton on Inspired Energy’s 16th Birthday.

Following a successful career with a number of energy consultancies, including PCMG and McKinnon & Clarke, Janet Thornton founded Inspired Energy in 2000. Backed by a desire to create a better working experience for employees and to provide a superior service to customers, she identified a gap in the market and seized the opportunity. Janet has worked tirelessly to shape the company into the established PLC it is today.

Inspired Energy was born from the aspiration to make a difference in an industry that Janet felt so passionate about. As the first female to run a company in her sector, the pressure was on to not only succeed as a business, but to redefine the perceptions of the industry as a whole.

A people person who leads by example, Janet has always believed that strong focus on staff development and welfare enables employees to constantly outperform expectations and work together to build a stronger business—an ethos that has never failed her.

Since setting the wheels in motion, Janet Thornton and Inspired Energy PLC have brought momentum to the commercial world, developing and delivering a market-leading range of essential energy advisory services. An independent approach, coupled with intelligent thinking, has enabled them to meet and exceed the expectations of every client, shareholder and employee to date.

The focus on constant improvement and development remains today. The strong financial performance delivered today is a result of continued strong growth performance of the core corporate business through product innovation, rapid growth on the relatively new SME division, and successful integration of three Group acquisitions.

Janet has continuously strived to find new opportunities to grow and strengthen the business.  The industry experience Janet had pre-founding the business has developed to provide the experience and knowledge behind the business.

Talking to Janet Thornton, we asked what her three greatest business achievements are to date;

“2016 is another year of record turnover and profits for Inspired Energy. The consistent delivery of a service that surpasses expectations has seen us significantly increase our customer base within the last 12 months. Positive work across the core corporate business, successful integration of complementary business acquisitions and the commitment of the entire team is clearly demonstrated by the strong financial growth and performance.

  1. Setting up Inspired Energy in 2000, being the first female MD in the industry. The reason I founded Inspired Energy was to create a better place to work, provide a better service to customers and to work closer with the Suppliers to better understand their trading policies.
  2. Growing the business from a sole trader to floatation on AIM in 2011 (being the only NW business to float in 2011) and becoming the CEO/MD of the PLC. This has provided funding for expanding our products and improving our systems to provide a better service. The market capital of the business on floatation was £12m.
  3. Since flotation, the market capital of the business has increased year on year. This has been achieved through strong organic growth of our corporate division, expansion into the SME sector of the market and acquisitions of Companies that complement and strengthen the existing offering of the company. We have also expanded into the Irish market. I am extremely proud that Inspired is a major employer in the area, now employing over 100 staff but still keeping the same ethos providing staff with excellent opportunities for training and ongoing development and an excellent working environment.”

Alongside Janet’s knowledge, passion and determination to not just get the best for customers but to create an exceptional working environment, we asked what the secret to the success of the company was.

“Our employees. Here at Inspired Energy we believe that our employees are the foundation of our success. Experts in their field, we hand pick our employees and deliver outstanding training to ensure we exceed our customers’ expectations time and time again.

 And it’s working, our excellent level of service and strategic advice has seen Inspired Energy PLC grow 40{f28ba8b7cd80e2a72e2e4b0140ea6524aee5e72b0af8287d84bbf0c79910665b} year on year, we now have a customer base of over 7,000 clients ranging from small SME’s to large multi-national corporates.

 We stand out from the crowd, not just through our exceptional customer service but through the range of services we offer our clients.”

The intelligent group of companies that now makes up the Inspired umbrella consistently develop and deliver a transparent, reliable and accurate service to their ever growing client base. If the past 16 years is anything to go by we can’t wait to see what the next 16 years bring!