Lucy von Sturmer is the founder of impact-driven thought leadership agency The Humblebrag. She is a champion of business as a force for good and works to support business leaders and brands to take a stand on social, cultural and environmental issues. Lucy is a former radio journalist, and has more than 10+ years experience working in media and communications for some of the world’s largest NGOS, sustainable fashion initiatives and advertising agencies. She is Co-initiator of independent non-profit Creatives for Climate, and is a guest lecturer at The University of Amsterdam, AMFI and Erasmus University Rotterdam.
What path has your career taken?
Oh, wow; how much time have you got? I started in NZ working as a news presenter on our local radio station in Wellington, while finishing my post-graduate degree in Media Studies and International Relations. At that time, I was also managing a hip hop group who I organized a nationwide tour with, and managed to get signed to EMI, and wrote and produced a free magazine on popular culture – which we produced, in print.
When I graduated, I picked a spot on the map – Italy, and found a job as an English language teacher to gain some overseas experience. I didn’t know ANYONE in Europe, which feels somewhat incredible now looking back at almost 10 years on the continent, an Italian husband I met in Dutch class, and a home and business in Amsterdam.
How can I summarize the past near decade in The Netherlands? I’ve always worked in communications and media, with part of that time working for a major NGO in The Hague on innovation and governance, working to amplify the voices of individuals across Africa and Asia, I then worked as The Head of Communications for a major multi-stakeholder initiative focussed on sustainable fashion, and then as the Global PR Manager for global production company Media Monks.
Almost three years ago, I founded an impact-driven thought leadership agency called The Humblebrag, with the mission to amplify diverse voices to drive business as a force for good. We work with some of the world’s leading artists, NGOS, brands and agencies, working to cast their leadership and great ideas in the spotlight, and train individuals on how to craft their story and amplify their voice too, and be featured in the press through our courses.
What brought you/brings you to Amsterdam?
After a year in Italy, I wanted to move somewhere that was European, but where I could build a career in media and innovation too. Again, I didn’t know anyone, but I was 23 and it didn’t matter back then. Everything I’ve built now, the home I own, the business I’ve founded, is more than I could have ever imagined. Oh, and my amazing European partner in life too!
What is your relationship with Zoku, and what are your thoughts?
Well, you probably had no idea because asking me to write this: BUT, I had my HENS night at Zoku! I wanted to have a “family style” dinner; somewhere light and fresh, and civilized, with good food and wine. I often rent Meeting Rooms at Zoku for my workshops, and during the pandemic, I took a day out in a WorkLoft for some headspace on my own.
What’s a life-changing song, film, event or book you’d like to recommend to others?
Right now with the backdrop of racial injustice and black lives matter, paired with a growing call for systems-change to address our pending environmental and ecological disaster, I am listening to Tracey Champan’s ‘Talkin’ Bout a Revolution’.
I suggest reading Extinction Rebellion’s “This is Not a Drill” handbook. And I would recommend – without a doubt – watching all of Taika Waititi’s films; he is such an incredible storyteller, he encapsulates this very particular “kiwi” humour, and of course, he tells the stories of Maori life – as it is today – in New Zealand (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Boy). We need more indigenous and POC stories in the spotlight.
What is your top tip for being productive while working from home?
I’ve decided to remain “remote” after COVID-19. We have an office in the Jordaan, where my business partner Jessica Hartley and colleague Marit de Hoog work, but I like being in my bubble. My tip? Stop and cook lunch, and set aside a separate space to eat. Take a breath, and if you can integrate it – go for a walk or run each day.
What’s your current/newly discovered go-to product, service or app you would recommend to others?
Too Good to Go – A food waste app that connects people with unsold food from a variety of shops and restaurants.
What is one piece of advice or tip in your field of work that you want to give to people?
Make yourself visible; but for your beliefs and ideas. Define your mission in life, and your guiding values, and align yourself with others on that mission. It’s amazing what happens when you “meet your tribe.” I happen to also coach people on exactly this!
How do you manage to keep up your mental health/wellbeing while working from home during these times?
Did I?! Ha. My husband is an amazing chef; if I kept my wellbeing, it’s down to him. And the times when he drags me away from the computer to go skating. (We took up skateboarding recently).
What is the most interesting/inspiring place you’ve been to or have visited and what was so special about it?
I’m from New Zealand, and I haven’t been back in years. Now I don’t know when I can go back, also because my husband isn’t a citizen it’s a bit difficult crossing the border. So I have to say “home”: Aotearoa. It’s truly beautiful.
Which book/product have you gifted the most, and why?
Flowers and wine! In case it’s not clear from the above, I try and consume as little as possible and buy only what I need. I try and not lump more “stuff” onto others – so if it’s a birthday etc I’ll usually gift an experience (a massage/voucher etc) or a perishable, or flowers!
Lucy’s LinkedIn | The Humblebrag