Rebecca Corbin: Cutting Through the Noise to Create Shareholder Value

Rebecca Corbin | Founder & CEO | Corbin Advisors
Rebecca Corbin | Founder & CEO | Corbin Advisors

A renowned capital markets expert, Rebecca Corbin has earned the trust of global C-suite executives for her integrity, candor, and proven methodology of creating sustained shareholder value. Under her leadership, Corbin Advisors has become the capital market industry’s gold standard, driving outsized value creation through its research-based insights.

As Founder & CEO, Rebecca’s drive for real-world impact resulted in the firm winning the 2021 Bronze Stevie Award as Employer of the Year in the Financial Services industry, an honor that recognizes Corbin Advisors among the world’s best employers and teams that drive great places to work. The firm grew rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic as clients turned to Corbin for research-based and experiential advice on positioning and communicating effectively during a crisis. Corbin has compounded that momentum and is seeing hyper growth across every business practice today, including Investor Relations Advisory, ESG Advisory, and Investor Days. Through Voice of Investor® Perception Studies, Corbin simplifies complexity, enables action, and informs sound decision-making to help deliver positive outcomes.

As a highly accomplished leader, Rebecca demonstrates for her team how to run a successful organization while also being a dedicated wife and hands-on mom to four daughters, including three under the age of 10. The firm has received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a reflection of Rebecca’s commitment to work with clients to achieve diversity goals and empower women.

Inspired by her expertise, we at CIO Look interviewed Rebecca to learn more about her journey and how Corbin is adding value in everything it does, while driving positive change.

Brief our audience about your journey as a capital markets pioneer. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?  

I’ll start by saying it’s been a fun and fulfilling journey that continues to challenge and stretch me, which I love. I’ve spent my entire life’s work conducting Voice of Investor research and, through that primary research of a large and diverse ecosystem – global institutional investors of pre-IPO and public companies – I’ve developed a proven methodology to unlock embedded value, with the ultimate outcome of sustainably rerating and compounding a company’s valuation.

I’ve been an entrepreneur from the age of 15 when I started a small but profitable business selling handmade wearables. I can only imagine what I could have done if Etsy had been around then! In my early 20s, I developed and launched a research and advisory product for Thomson Reuters, which became one of the top-performing organic growth businesses at the time. Then, 14 years ago, I took a leap and started Corbin Advisors as a one-woman, one-solution shop on the floor of my newly rented but yet-to-be-furnished New York City apartment.

Starting a company just ahead of the Great Financial Crisis was tough sledding but allowed me the opportunity to gain a unique perspective and the time to innovate. It was during that time that I created Inside The Buy-side®, our flagship research product. Through interviews with investors and analysts on the macro environment and investment considerations, I was able to glean deep insights and advise public companies on how to successfully navigate that challenging period riddled with shoals. I laid the groundwork for our ever-growing, one-of-a-kind research database, Corbin Analytics. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we leveraged that foundational research to advise our clients and companies in general. We leaned in because we cared, and our firm thrived. During the first year of the pandemic, revenues grew nearly 70% year-over-year. Today, we have more than 65 employees at our Farmington, CT, headquarters and at strategic locations in Chicago, Boston, Raleigh, Houston, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Pittsburgh.

Tell us more about Corbin and its purpose.

We’re a strategic investor relations research and advisory firm. Our purpose is to add value in everything we do. I’m fortunate to work with inspired and driven colleagues at the forefront of innovation and impact. Together, we work with publicly traded companies ranging from $250 million to $350 billion in market cap, as well as pre-public companies and nonprofit organizations.

Our focus is on helping executives and boards understand what makes their stock tick – or not tick. Said plainly, we have a track record of fixing broken stocks and launching strong stocks into orbit. We do this through our proprietary and proven 4A methodology – Assess, Architect, Activate, Accelerate. We’re very passionate about what we do because it results in better outcomes all around. Through our research and experience, we have developed the best-in-class company archetype through the eyes of the shareholder, and I want to highlight that many employees are also shareholders. We change the way executives think about being a public company, which often results in stronger performance and decision-making for long-term impact.

Our work also drives positive change through our Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) practice and Corbin for Nonprofits, where we leverage our team’s real-world expertise to empower nonprofit organizations to fulfill their missions more effectively.

Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Capital Market niche through your expertise in the market.

We’ve built our practice on ground truth and trust. Our clients have confidence in us to deal with complex and sophisticated matters. They tend to come to us wanting to better understand why their company is not being appropriately valued by the Street and we consistently unlock embedded value through our data-driven, insights-based approach and bold, innovative strategies. They desire to be best-in-class, and they want the candid, actionable advice that is the hallmark of working with Corbin.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

Our core values are summed up in one word – TAPE. Now, our tape happens to be double-sided. Trust, Accountability, Pride and Excellence on one side and Truth, Appreciation, Passion and Engagement on the other. TAPE is our North Star and what we stand for at Corbin.

On the value of appreciation, our culture embraces giving back. We attract, hire and retain employees who are philanthropically driven with their time and their resources. In 2019, we formally launched our employee-driven community impact initiative, ‘Love, Corbin’, which provides a myriad of opportunities to get involved and do something for others – whether that be for people or our beloved planet. This has been a commitment of mine since I was a young girl, volunteering at a local nursing home. I was a letter writer, wheelchair walker, hand holder – whatever was needed, I was happy to do.

Two of our practices – ESG Advisory and Corbin for Nonprofits – are driving a direct positive impact in our world today, and our employees are truly inspired by our work. Specifically, we help public companies establish ESG strategies, including increased organizational diversity and more inclusive cultures, environmental goals that support net-zero carbon emissions, and greater accountability around governance. We help nonprofit organizations run more effectively and efficiently, enabling a higher ROI on donor dollars, and, as part of our commitment to giving back, we donate 20% of our operating profits annually through grants to nonprofit organizations.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

Operational excellence is at the heart of what we do, and technology is making us more efficient, precise and able to derive even greater insights from our data going back 14 years. Technology also helped us continue operations seamlessly during the height of the pandemic – an early adopter to the hybrid working model, Corbin Advisors worked remotely on Fridays before the pandemic. Our team was accustomed to communicating via video conferencing and other technology platforms and it helped us continue to grow our close-knit culture from anywhere.

If given a chance, what change would you like to bring to the Capital Markets ecosystem?

It would be for publicly traded companies to integrate ESG more fully into their business strategies, rather than treating it as a check-the-box obligation. It’s already started at the top. Boards and executive leadership teams get it, but the challenge is going to be driving that down to the entire organization, and that’s where we can have a significant impact.

This is a workforce that really wants to have an impact. Companies that embrace a sustainability mindset – both in terms of their own organization’s footprint and culture but also when it comes to the products they’re producing, packaging and shipping – are going to attract the strongest talent. Employees are saying they want to work for a company that is a steward of sustainability.

As a leader in this area, we’re thrilled to be part of that today. Our ESG practice helps companies catapult their ESG strategy, including hiring Chief Sustainability Officers and fostering a more diverse and inclusive culture. It’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for our world.

What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Capital Market industry? How is Corbin preparing to be a part of that change?

While occurring now, the rapid pace of adoption of ESG is going to create winners and losers from the investor perspective. Individual companies and entire industries will be eviscerated and, from the ashes, will either reinvent themselves or cease altogether. Change is happening at an accelerated pace and companies must embrace the New Economy.

Corbin is uniquely positioned to help both public companies and nonprofits navigate the tectonic shifts we’re experiencing today and the aftershocks that will continue well into the future, as we sit at the epicenter of investors, donors and executive leaders. For more than a decade, our firm has been researching and advising on the trends that are manifesting themselves today and is at the cutting edge of ESG discovery and innovation. Part of the value of our nonprofit work is to help nonprofit organizations connect their missions with the strategic business imperatives of corporations, which can bring outsized value to both. By taking a more integrated approach to ESG, philanthropy and corporate giving, organizations can create value at both the community level and in their share price.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the future and what are your long-term goals for Corbin?

We’ve been on a remarkable growth trajectory over the past 14 years and yet there is so much more value and opportunity to realize. As I tell my team, we’re climbing Mount Everest – we want to be the best at what we do and aspire to achieve that great height. We’ve assembled a smart, collaborative, hard-charging and skilled team of experts and specialists and continue to add excellent talent to support our ascent. It’s not easy going up – the air is thin and working at a hyper-growth company takes a special sort.

Corbin’s ultimate long-term goal? Ensure we inspire our employees, who will in turn inspire our clients. The rest will take care of itself.

What would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs as they build their businesses?

Find your passion and build a culture that reflects it.

Invest in the right talent at the right time to elevate the business.

Listen, learn and reflect to ensure you disrupt yourself before someone else does.