Nicole Ballestrin

CFO, e-Zinc

Nicole Ballestrin, CPA, CA

CPA joins quest for a better, greener battery

The pursuit of keeping global temperatures from rising more than the crucial 1.5 degrees level has found a valuable ally in CPA Nicole Ballestrin.

Nicole currently works for e-Zinc, a company founded by Dr. Gregory Zhang in 2012. e-Zinc's aim is to revolutionize energy storage by leveraging zinc, a safer, more affordable, durable and recyclable material than the current battery standard, lithium.

Nicole's background includes a high-profile post at McKinsey & Company, and the next logical step would have been a global role, “But I have two kids and the job would have required significant travel,” she says. “I didn't want to compromise my family life.”

Instead, she spent a year working at the CFO Centre before founding Aspire CFO, an all-female group, and then joined e-Zinc part time.

Being a parent tends to make one more aware of the environmental challenges the planet faces and Nicole is delighted to be part of the solution.

“I have to believe in what a company is doing and to feel like I'm actually contributing to society,” she says.

In Nicole's time at the helm of e-Zinc's finances, revenue in the form of grants has increased dramatically year over year. In December, investment firm Anzu Partners led a Series A financing round of $25M USD to support the expansion of e-Zinc's research and development efforts and transition to the commercial stage. This year, e-Zinc will embark on its first commercial project with Toyota.

For Ballestrin, green business fits naturally with her purpose-driven nature, but it's also a matter of philosophical alignment.

“As a CFO, in the past, I've found myself at odds with leaders who are wasteful,” she says. “e-Zinc is conscientious on all fronts, from the financial side and how they treat people to their ultimate mission. For me, green is almost a psychological approach to the job and, in that regard, e-Zinc and I are perfectly aligned.”

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