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Lucy Kebbell

Meet Lucy Kebbell, Chair and Corporate Services Manager at Commonsense.

As a child, I never really pondered the future or aspired to be anything specific. My imagination was somewhat limited in that regard.

My professional journey began at 17 when I took on the role of a waitress and barista in London. It was a transformative experience as it taught me the importance of humility and the realization that, in certain contexts, my own needs and desires were of little significance. I also learned a valuable lesson: never underestimate the creativity of waitstaff, particularly the gay Irish waiters, when it comes to exacting revenge on unruly customers.

After my youthful adventures overseas, I transitioned into a career as a commercial lawyer, dedicating 17 years to this field. My most recent role was with Airways, the national Air Traffic Control company.

Currently, I serve as the Corporate Services Manager for Commonsense, a family-owned organic food business where I’ve been involved, on and off, since the age of 16. In this multifaceted role, I oversee communications, design, IT, and business systems.

My creative and inspired moments often occur when I’m not actively seeking them. Whether I’m at the beach or tending to my garden, solutions to problems I hadn’t consciously considered sometimes present themselves out of nowhere. These moments are precious, and I’m usually quick to jot down my newfound ideas to ensure they don’t vanish as swiftly as they appeared. A trusty notebook is a constant companion for this reason.

My happiest moments are found in the embrace of nature, surrounded by my family. In these moments, my partner, Paul, and I can be the kind of parents we aspire to be—disconnected from the digital world and fully engaged with our children. Witnessing our kids develop their skills and independence brings immense joy, even though it’s accompanied by the bittersweet realization that they’re no longer our babies.

In 2018, our major undertaking is the rollout of our new branding. We’ve recently rebranded from “Commonsense Organics” to “Commonsense” and need to update all signage and communications accordingly. It’s crucial for us to effectively communicate the reasons behind this change, as people may assume it signifies a departure from our commitment to organic products, which is far from the truth. While organics remain a core value, we also prioritize ethical trading, fair trade, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. We believe it’s time for these other values to shine, and this was challenging to achieve while “organics” dominated the spotlight.

At present, I draw inspiration from the likes of Jacinda, Oprah, and Rey.

A recurring question I ask myself is, “What if I don’t do this?” It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing things out of routine or obligation. When I take a moment to reflect on the “why” and conclude that I can accept the consequences of not completing a task, it feels like a liberating gift.

I thrive on collaboration, as it lessens the burden of failure and magnifies the joy of success. I find my best collaborative partners to be intelligent, creative individuals who hold strong opinions but are also adaptable and quick to pivot when circumstances demand it. During the rebranding project, I’ve had the privilege of working with professionals like Inject Design (graphic design), Catherine Adam (design consultant), Sarah Connor (branding consultant), and Mark Huser (web developer), all of whom share this collaborative spirit.

One individual who has consistently pushed me to improve is our relationship counselor, Rhonda. Maintaining a partnership can be challenging, especially when both partners are strong-willed, have demanding commitments, and are raising two children. Regular sessions with Rhonda have significantly enhanced our communication and connection. Plus, it’s become a running joke for Paul to serenade the prelude to a session with “Help, help me Rhonda.”

Courage in my work manifests primarily when making decisions. In my previous role as a lawyer, I typically advised decision-makers, but in the realm of business, I’m constantly faced with making decisions. Not all of them will be successful, so having the courage to embrace failure is essential, as it allows for risk-taking. I instill in my children the idea that mistakes are only negative if we don’t learn from them, and as adults, we should heed this wisdom too.

Mentorship has played a significant role in my life, and my parents serve as incredible role models. They embody compassion, kindness, and generosity, always welcoming others into their home. I grew up in a halfway house they operated for individuals transitioning from mental institutions, and to this day, we spend Christmas with some of them. My father has set the tone for our unique business model, emphasizing cooperation over competition and people over profit. Even at 79, he remains actively involved in the business and shows no signs of slowing down, recently returning from a three-week adventure in the Amazon and Galapagos Islands. My parents make aging seem like a grand celebration!