About Future Leaders Award Last Updated: Jan 2, 2018
Applications for the WACL Future Leaders Award 2017/18 are now closed. Applicants who have applied will be notified if they have been shortlisted by mid-December 2017.
Applications opened 18th September 2017
Deadline 7th November 2017
Judging taking place in January 2018
Winners announced 26th January 2018

So what exactly is the WACL Future Leaders Award?

It is a training bursary offered to women within the industry to help enhance their likelihood of getting to the top ranks of their organizations and being leaders within our industry. WACL will give up to 75%, to a maximum contribution of £3000, towards the cost of a further educational/training scheme of your choice. The remainder of the cost of the course must be met by your current employer. So if your course is £400 – we give you £300 and your employer the remaining £100. But if your course is £5000 then we give you £3000 and the £2000 comes from your employer. We are delighted that our applicants come from all areas of our industry, from large and small media, PR and communication agencies, to media owners both large and small, emerging digital businesses, charities, PR and client businesses too. The scheme is a WACL initiative which is administered by NABS.

What is WACL?

WACL is a network of the most influential women in the advertising, marketing, commercial media and communications business. It is a supportive and spirited group of individuals who meet to enable women in our industry to reach their potential and retain senior positions.

Why should you do it?

If you are a future leader you will no doubt be thinking about the skills, capabilities and experience you will need to advance your career to play a greater leadership role in our industry. Whether you want leadership training, to improve your commercial acumen or any other aspect that you believe will help propel you forward in your career in our industry WACL will consider offering a bursary. And it also looks great on your CV, your LinkedIn page and allows you to boast a little to your family!

A ready-made network

Networking is key to success and if you are lucky enough to win an FLA then you automatically join a networking group called FUTURES. They hold quarterly events for all previous winners and it’s a great way of meeting like-minded people in the industry and really getting to know them. You can find out more details here – nabs.org.uk/FUTURES or contact the team directly through futures@nabs.org.uk.

How to apply & the process

Applications are now open. Once completed and submitted, a panel of judges will review all applications and the final short-listed candidates are invited to meet the panel for a 15-minute interview.

WACL Future Leaders Award opens for entries: 18th September 2017
Closing deadline for entries: 7th November 2017
Notification of shortlisting for interview: December 2017
Panel Interviews take place: 17th/18th/19th January 2018
Notification of bursary award decision: End of January 2018
Winners Dinner: April 2018

What we are looking for and how to write a good entry

Remember we are looking for leaders who are dedicated to growing their career in our industry. In your application aim to demonstrate your leadership approach and experience so far, bring to life your leadership potential and style. Here are some Winners Testimonials & Tips:

Kelly Stephen (winner 2015)

My advice for completing the application? Don’t leave it to the last minute.

  1. You’ll need thinking time to decide what you really want to achieve, and the course you’ll need to help you get there
  2. time to put pen to paper
  3. time to share your application with others to get their input too.

Looking back at my form a year on it’s a true reflection of me – the whole me – my journey, my story. Not just ‘work me’. And it talks in a very frank and honest way. Use the form to really represent who you are and the impact the course will have on the future you.

Gina Hood (winner 2015)

Think about the impact your course will have not only on you, but also how it will benefit others. One of the key missions behind the FLA – and WACL as a whole – is using the power of the community to support and nurture everyone’s talents. By being given the opportunity to undertake training to better yourself, you also have a responsibility to pass this on wherever you can. Explain how you think this could happen in your particular case, and why by being awarded the bursary you’ll be able to bring others up along with you on your career journey.

My experience

The main impact the WACL FLA has had is to boost my confidence, and in tandem inspire me to support other women wherever possible. In winning the award in the first place, it made me feel that I had a perspective on leadership that was worthwhile sharing with the world, and secondly the course I undertook directly tackled some of the issues I had faced in lacking confidence in myself.

The training I chose was a RADA initiative designed to support women in a working environment: particularly with regard to challenges linked to gender. This was something that was so much more valuable for me than a traditional knowledge-based course as it focused on addressing overall behaviours and attitudes that can have such a large effect every day.

The confidence I developed as a result enabled me to take a much more active role in tackling issues I saw in our industry: inspiring me to become involved with several networks, put on events focused on at gender issues and challenges, and be proud of having a voice with other women.

Rowena Johnson (winner 2015)

I have 3 pieces of advice for anyone wanting to apply for this year’s FLA award:

  1. Just do it! This opportunity has peaked your interest for a reason. Less thinking, more action.
  2. Pick a course that you are passionate about and be clear on how it will benefit your career progression. What skill will it add to your bow and why is that important for your development and thus beneficial to your company?
  3. And lastly

  4. Enjoy it. It is not often you get an opportunity to talk about your achievements and ambitions to such an esteemed group of leaders in Advertising. Be prepped but always be yourself.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must:

  • Be a woman
  • Be currently employed in the marketing & communications industry
  • Have at least 3 years industry experience
  • Be committed to developing a career within this industry
  • Be able to demonstrate potential as a future leader
  • Have the application endorsed by current employer

What we ask of you

The impact you can have of sharing your story and experience with others across our industry is considerable, inspiring others to participate and leading by example demonstrating the benefits of taking on leadership roles. All we ask is your willingness to take part in any PR initiatives we undertake including potential speaking engagements such as Gather or other events subject to your availability.

The Patricia Mann Award

Each year we make an award to one of the winners in honour of a long-standing and influential member of WACL, Patricia Mann OBE who died in 2006. She was truly a trailblazer for women within the world of communications. She was VP of JWT International & Head of External Affairs and one of the first female nonexecutive directors sitting on the boards of The Woolwich, British Gas then Centrica. She held numerous senior roles across The IPA, The ASA, WACL and was even Chairman of the Parliamentary Debating Group. WACL’s core values are inspired by the way Patricia led her life always ready with advice and guidance – no matter how busy with a great sense of fun. Patricia opened the door for so many of us to follow through and we look for someone to recognise that embodies some of her spirit. The 2015 Patricia Mann prize winner was Pilar Santos a creative from Mother.

The Winners Dinner

You will be invited to attend an informal winners dinner in April 2018 in central London. This will be the chance for you to meet and network with your fellow winners, the WACL judges and other senior members of WACL.


If you have any questions on the WACL Future Leaders Award please contact: wacl_fla@nabs.org.uk

The 2016/17 winners of the FLA were:

Name Position Company Course
Alison Quinn Project Manager Yahoo-Inc Executive Presence for Women, RADA in Business
Anne Mogelvang Associate Director MediaCom Rising Women Leaders – University of Cambridge
Emma Callaghan Group Account Director Trinity Mirror Solutions Executive Presence for Women, RADA in Business
Fiona Ravlic Head of Sales 8 Outdoor Rising Women Leaders Programme, University of Cambridge
Frith Janes Strategist Arena Media Code First Female Professionals
Geri Tuneva Head of Marketing Qubit “Code_in A Day” – Decoded.
Jennifer Morris Strategic Communications Planner Google Mini MBA, Management Centre Europe
Jenny Douglass Operations Manager Primesight Business Psychology MSC – University of East London
Jox Petiza Content Strategy Associate Director MediaCom Designing Strategy for Competitive Advantage – London School of Economics
Juliet Kent Creative Now TV Presenting – City Lit
Kate Ivory Strategy Director Carat Design Thinking Bootcamp, The Design Thinking Academy
Lois Shimmen Marketing Manager GiffGaff Strategic Decision Making for Leaders, Cass Business School
Lucy Moody Planner J Walter Thompson The Mini MBA, Birkbeck, University of London
Nicola Shepherd Head of Media Barclays Executive Presence for Women, RADA in Business
Philippa Dunjay Senior Planner Karmarama Personal Impact in Meetings – RADA in Business
Priya Datta Account Director iProspect Communicate with Impact: Business Design Centre
Rachel Clutterbuck Event Manager JWT Stage Management Skills – Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Sam Vine Account Director Now Stage Fright – RADA in Business
Sara McCraight Head of Marketing Street League Mini MBA – Marketing Week
Sarah Mead Business Director – Sales JCDecaux Women for the Board – Westminster Business School
Sonia Karia Board Director Iris Worldwide miniMBA Executive Development Programme – London School of Business & Finance
Tara Austin Planning Director Ogilvy & Mather Lateral Thinking Certification – The Holst Group
Vikki Hutton Editor Mumsnet Leadership Advantage Series – Advantage Business Partnerships

The skillsets women need in order to move up in their careers lie firmly in personal development and self-belief.