Lucy Squires, Rubies in the Rubble: Finding purpose at board level

Clim8 Careers Team
03 March 2021

Lucy Squires, Head of Marketing at Rubies in the Rubble

New responsibility

Up until very recently, board members have had the traditional responsibilities of establishing vision, mission and values, setting strategies and structures, delegating to management and in larger firms exercising accountability to shareholders.

However they now need to get to grips with the ‘purpose-driven’ movement that is picking up speed as more and more companies adopt the model. 

Disconnect at board level

Purpose driven culture is meant to start with the board yet only 41% of companies have purpose embedded at board level. Research suggests that even companies that prioritise purpose often do not have it fully integrated into their systems, processes and culture.

This can cause a disconnect with employees and customers. We wanted to know what differs in a company that has successfully embedded purpose throughout. What would you need to know if you were planning to make the jump in your career to a purpose-driven board.

We brought onboard Lucy Squires to help us understand.

Lucy Squires is the Head of Marketing at Rubies in the Rubble; a company that makes award-winning condiments that are packed with flavour and packed with purpose. Prior to this board role, she had spent five years at the world’s largest food and drinks business, Nestlé, in a variety of roles before she decided she needed more from her career.

Were there noticeable changes in the way you worked when you moved over to a purpose driven company?

The passion from the people is remarkable. That was definitely the biggest change. Everyone who works at Rubies in the Rubble works here because they want to play their part in stopping climate change. 

The size of the business was also a huge change. I went from a global conglomerate to a start-up of 10 people.

Why did you choose to apply for a job at Rubies in the Rubble?

I wanted to take what I had learnt at Nestlé and apply it to a purpose driven business whose mission was to have a positive impact on the planet.

Have you seen a change in the way strategies are formulated moving to a purpose driven company?

Sustainable projects aren’t ‘nice-to-haves’ or some marketing campaign at Rubies in the Rubble. They are critical and intrinsic to the way we do business. There have been a number of times that we have turned down commercial opportunities if we can’t find a sustainable solution.

The sachet away campaign, created to stop plastic sample sachets, is a prime example of something we have stood for this year.

Although there was a large commercial opportunity to produce sachets of our products for the hospitality sector, we decided it was against our values to use anything with plastic despite the revenue it would have created.

Have you seen a difference in the juniors coming up through your teams in comparison to when you were younger?

Well I am the youngest person at Rubies in the Rubble, yet attend Board Meetings with our founder & CEO - so I think that says a lot!

Looking at the more junior roles in our team, it’s a similar story. We have had people join who have also worked for larger companies and not felt fulfilled in their roles. We have also had interns who know they want to work in changing the food system but don’t know where they can add the most value. 

As a board, how do you all inspire your employees to work towards your purpose?

We talk about our impact a lot. Our values are clear and we have company behaviours that embed our values.

Here are some of our people initiatives:

  • Lolager: We love a portmanteau. LOL + Manager = Lolager. This role gives the ownership of “fun” to a different team member each month. What we love about this is the variety of activities we’ve had as a result. There’s been beach cleans & dance classes (pre-Covid), to virtual cook-alongs and murder mysteries (Covid). There’s a token budget of £50 each month to cover basic expenses (or a round of drinks) – small enough that it doesn’t blow the bank and encourages everyone to be creative! 
  • Feelback: We really love a portmanteau. Feeling + Feedback = Feelback. This is our pulse barometer, an anonymous survey that goes out to the team. There’s a short monthly survey and a deeper quarterly survey. We track the team’s mental and physical wellbeing, their happiness at Rubies, workload and how supported they feel. We then discuss the results as a team and make appropriate changes. 
  • Team sessions: We’ve started having team sessions across the year, whether it’s diving into our values, or more recently an MBTI workshop to understand our preferences and working styles.
  • Fri-yay: Ultimately we have to hit targets, so if we hit our monthly budget we get the last Friday of the month off. This is in addition to our holiday allowance. A Friday treat to unwind and have fun after all the effort that has been given in that month.

Have your KPIs changed as a board member in a purpose driven company from previous roles?

Yes. Since becoming BCorp certified, we now ensure our environmental impact is reported as well as our revenue and profit. 

What are your top tips for someone looking to make the jump to a board role in a purpose driven company?

Research. Research. Research. 

There is also such a broad range of companies out there, make sure you write down what you want from the company and role before you start searching.

Lucy can be reached on Linkedin.

Learn more about Rubies in the Rubble's work here.

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