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BE THE CHANGE – THE HUMBLEBRAG

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December, 2nd 2020

Today, no single life form on Earth is untouched by the effects of human activity. The planet needs people to come together in a stand against climate change. Lucy von Strumer is a change-maker supporting and amplifying the voices of impact makers with promising solutions through her business The Humblebrag and foundation Creatives for Climate. She is an inspiring entrepreneur and thought-leader, and shares with us why we all have the power to change the world.

Words By Jen McDonald

Lucy Von Strumer joins us via video call from her adopted city of Amsterdam. If one was to recite her long list of achievements, initiatives and noble ambitions, we’d be forgiven for thinking she was superwoman. She is, after all, trying to save the planet. As we discover, she is not one for bragging, so we shall do it for her. Lucy is the founder of leading PR agency, The Humblebrag, and a co-initiator of the independent non-profit, Creatives for Climate. Aside from being a successful entrepreneur, Lucy is a true leader and activist, dedicated to amplifying the voices of change-makers. She is not afraid to speak the truth to make the world realise change needs happen, not tomorrow but today! 

Prior to moving to Europe ten years ago, Lucy studied international relations and was a radio news presenter in her native country of New Zealand. After arriving in the Netherlands, she began working for global NGOs, accumulating a vast and varied portfolio of experiences. The majority of programs she was involved in focused on innovation in political governance and the potential that technology has to enhance democratic processes across Africa and Asia. Undertaking a position as head of communications in a multi-stakeholder initiative for sustainable fashion was the next step in her journey. “I had worked on women’s rights and political governance in Africa and Asia but sustainable fashion was an area that resonated more with me.”

Lucy von Sturmer

In her communications role, Lucy had the opportunity to visit Levi’s headquarters in San Francisco and attend global stakeholder meetings in Shanghai. She described both experiences as incredible and that left her feeling extremely privileged. Ultimately, these opportunities gave her exposure to real power and politics. She admints, “I actually got a little disillusioned with how quickly change can happen, frustrated, even, with corporate interest slowing down the progress of sustainability,” she admits. Her passion to raise awareness on sustainability and social change intensified when she decided to work, albeit briefly, in advertising as a global PR manager. “At the time, I thought, I’m going to leave my purpose-driven self in this role and this is going to be my work,” Lucy tells us, “but my activist voice didn’t go away. In fact, it got louder. So, I joined an initiative called the True Fashion Collective. We put on a lot of events for fashion for good which you may have heard of. Essentially, we were building a community around inspiring and activating everyday consumers to get involved with sustainable fashion.”

In 2017, Lucy established The Humblebrag, an agency and editorial platform with a mission to support leaders take a stand on social, cultural and environmental issues, and to help businesses build their reputations as forward-thinking leaders. Through her company, Lucy collaborates with some of Europe’s top agencies, brands, artists and designers. Together, they harness the power of ideas, opinions and creativity to challenge the status quo and create an impact. As a director, she has refined her leadership style to get the most from her team. Instead of using overly complicated jargon that might intimidate or confuse people, she uses simple terms to break down complex issues. This creates a greater understanding, facilitating positive change. As for the inspiration behind her company’s name, she explains, “It’s crazy how many people have said they came to us because that sounds like them: really humble but knowing we need to brag. It’s a name that should make people laugh and understand from the get-go that we’re playful and human. And it’s about sharing ideas that will have an impact.” 

thehumblebrag.co

creativesforclimate.co

The scale of the challenges that face our planet are daunting, but we can all do something to help. Lucy works to create awareness on reducing harmful environmental impacts and the need for us all to play our part in the fight against climate change. She tells us how a one-off event held by The Humblebrag evolved into a non-profit initiative now known as Creatives for Climate. Developed as a response to the increasing urgency of the climate crisis, the initiative Invites creatives from all walks of life to use the platform as a tool to continue spreading awareness. “The event was really to amplify the voices of climate activist groups, to tell people we should be taking them seriously,”says Lucy. “We even hosted Patagonia as a prime example of a purpose-driven brand that is future proof because it collaborates with such groups. What started as a movement to engage creative industries with environmental activist groups has now grown into an established foundation.”

Without a doubt, Lucy has the ability to inspire people to make positive and impactful changes. With much of her time spent raising awareness and educating others, we wanted to know what is the greatest lesson she has learned. “A lot of these issues are intersectional,” she begins. “Sometimes it feels like you have to pick and choose between animal rights or feminism or sustainability. But I’ve realised, and what I have found so liberating, is that these issues are all interconnected so it’s a lot easier to start addressing them with a holistic approach.”

Coming to the end of our call, we asked Lucy what the future holds for her after this pandemic. “For anyone working in sustainability, it is a personal journey as much as a professional one,” she tells us. “If Covid has prompted anything in me personally, it’s that I want to live a different life. I want nature to be a bigger part of my life. That’s probably my next step, incorporating a lifestyle that is more regenerative so that I can deal with the impact-driven work I want to do.” We all have the power to make positive and long-lasting changes by taking steps towards sustainability and encouraging others to do the same. Given the current pandemic and climate change crisis, as Lucy says, we should all aspire to be the change we want to see.