#FounderFriday: Lucy von Sturmer

#WednesdayWisdom: Rozemarijn Dols
9th April 2019
#FounderFriday: Beth Massa
19th April 2019

It’s #FounderFriday and today we’re talking to member and founder of The Humblebrag: Lucy von Sturmer. As an introduction to our new podcast series: Foreign Founders (stay tuned!) Lucy will share some of her wisdom with us today. “Amplifying the voices of change-makers and creative innovators”, The Humblebrag is a platform specialized in strategic communications consultancy. Read all about the amazing female founder below.

Could you please introduce yourself and your company?

I cut my communications-teeth in the world of journalism, television and PR in New Zealand, and in 2012, moved to The Netherlands where I worked across NGOs such as Hivos and creative agencies like MediaMonks. During this time, I “found my voice” contributing to publications such as The Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Drum, and I realized the power of thought leadership.

I started applying this skill to the CEOs and leadership I was working with to help them raise their voice, and in 2017, I branched out on my own to help more companies and organizations to do this.

We’re living in a time when audiences are calling for businesses and brands to define and defend their values and my belief is that, in this new climate, it takes thoughtful, tactful communications that go beyond smoke and mirrors to resonate.

With this in mind, The Humblebrag is on a mission to support change-makers and creative innovators to amplify their voice. Our clients span creative agencies, ambitious startups, NGOs and multi-stakeholder initiatives and we offer strategic communications support focusing on brand positioning, ghostwriting, press relations, and ongoing counsel.

What milestones have you reached/lessons have you learnt in 2018?

I really believe in my mission, and I’ve seen it work, but I had no idea just how popular ‘thought leadership and pr’ support would be. In 2018, I grew quite quickly and hired a team. Being 100% transparent, it was just too much too soon. I’ve had to learn that being an entrepreneur/ manager/ and an executor all at once is a lot to take on. I’ve paired back my services and client roster to an amount that works for me, and I’m partnering with other experts to create bespoke teams around projects.

In terms of big wins: the most exciting was working with genuine industry frontrunners – brand experience agency HarrimanSteel, sustainable fashion initiative The ZDHC Foundation, impact strategy firm Fronteer and ‘think tank’ and start up Lab Rooms, among others. An insane and surprising highlight is being nominated by Fonk Magazine for the SAN ‘New Kids on The Block Award’ listed as one of the most promising new businesses across The Netherlands.

What do you hope to achieve in 2019?

Slow and steady growth! I’m moving into a new office in The Jordaan with my new business partner, and we both bring a suite of loyal, long-term clients with us that really resonate with The Humblebrag’s mission. I’m looking forward to our client roster deepening, and also our independent editorial platform which we fund to champion change-makers to gain traction!

I’m a millennial which means I’m purpose-hungry. My approach to business is that my consultancy funds my mission; I genuinely want to inspire more business leaders to define and defend their values in response to mounting social, cultural and environmental issues. As we’ve seen, government and NGOs cannot solve the issues of our time alone. We need bold voices within business to champion these issues too – and at The Humblebrag we want to celebrate the frontrunners and be part of this movement.

In what way(s) did TheNextWomen support you to grow your business?

Over the past 7 years, I’ve worked hard to ‘inburgeren’ with countless nights spent at Dutch class, trying my best to understand this unique little country. First and foremost, the network has allowed me to engage with many ambitious and inspiring Dutch women. It has also really pushed me to ‘scale my thinking’ as the network is so wide and with a diverse range of experience.

What’s your best advice for other members? (As -starting- female entrepreneurs)

Stay centered, but also spend time and energy ‘following your nose.’ Perhaps because I’m a curious person, I say ‘yes’ a lot and it’s led me to meeting some inspiring individuals and make many surprising connections. My other bit of advice to fellow millennials would be: no matter how smart and savvy you are; you simply can’t fast-track experience. Listen to your elders!