After a life in the corporate fast lane, Carol Welch is indulging her inner hippie - and is well on her way to becoming a fully fledged 'greenie'.
The Green & Black's marketing chief joined the organic chocolate brand 10 months ago from 'big purple' - the nickname by which its staff refer to parent group Cadbury Schweppes; and she admits that the company culture is beginning to rub off on her.
Welch claims to be a 'complete convert' to Green & Black's ethos - she now takes notice of what goes into her shopping basket, is more aware of ethical lifestyle choices, and is fast becoming a cocoa-bean expert under the tutelage of the chocolate brand's head taster.
Eating vast quantities of chocolate is an occupational hazard that comes with working in a place such as Green & Black's, and one which Welch has embraced wholeheartedly. Luckily for her, she enjoys exercise; as a teenager, she was an international swimmer, training 20 hours a week for weekend competitions.
These days, the 37-year-old is able to maintain her petite figure by running through the quiet streets of her home village in Oxfordshire and chasing around after her two young sons.
The Green & Black's story is an interesting one. The company, which launched in 1991, took the market by storm with its rare mix of organic credentials, style and high-quality product. Its arrival at a time when the organic food industry was in its infancy woke everyone up.
In 2002, Cadbury acquired a minority stake in Green & Black's before swallowing up the whole company three years later. Marketing director Mark Palmer left soon after, and Cadbury stalwart Welch replaced him last October.
She acknowledges there was 'a bit of scepticism' when she arrived at Green & Black's trendy Southwark offices, but her conversion to the company's way of thinking soon dispelled this.
Intervention from Cadbury is minimal, Welch says, citing the lesson dealt to the company following its purchase of Snapple, a quirky US drinks brand that had gained fame in New York delis. It was subsequently merged into another firm, Mott's, which saw the brand lose much of its individual character.
'Cadbury has learned how to manage the smaller independent businesses and is very keen on keeping the spirit of the brand alive,' she adds. …