Lucy returned to Cumbria after a successful career as an artist which saw her studying in Paris and working and living in London and New York.
She took on her role at the Holker Group after her father, Lord Cavendish, decided to retire after leading the group for more than 40 years.
“They [Lord and Lady Cavendish] both wanted to wind down and they wanted the next generation to take on control,” she said. “They did not want to be sitting here until they ran out of energy.
“It was as different as it possibly could be, as the life of an artist is quite solitary.”
Lucy served an apprenticeship on the board of directors of the group, which proved to be a true educational experience.
“I think it had advantages and disadvantages,” she said. “For example, I could ask all the questions that nobody else asked without feeling too silly but the disadvantage was that I had to ask all of those questions.
“The biggest challenge was establishing what direction that I wanted the business to go in – when one generation takes over from the one before there are always changes that need to
be made to adapt the business to the changing environment.”
She found the transition to the top job in 2014 went far more smoothly than expected, especially as it involved taking over as boss from someone who had been in charge for 42 years.
“I was expecting it to be tough but, as it happened, it wasn’t,” she said.
Lord Cavendish remains a member of the company’s board and helps his daughter whenever she needs it, but does not interfere with her work.
“Like other small and medium-sized enterprises, we have to make the voice of Cumbria heard,” said Lucy. “My main concern is sustainability, as I do not want the headaches we have now to be passed on to the next generation.”