About Future Leaders Award Last Updated: Sep 19, 2018

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Applications open 17th September 2018
Final deadline for applications 26th October 2018
Judging takes place in January 2019
Winners announced early February 2019

What is the Future Leaders’ Award?

The Future Leaders’ Award is a bursary scheme for women in the advertising and communications industry with the potential to be great leaders. We reward talented and inspirational women with a vision for what they want to achieve, an understanding of the difference they can make, and the motivation to succeed.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, what branch of the industry you work in, whether you want to get to the top of the corporate ladder or strike out on your own. We are delighted that applicants showcase the growing breadth and diversity of women in advertising and communication.

So how much is the bursary worth?

Every year, we award around 30 successful applicants a training bursary representing a 75% contribution towards an educational/training scheme of your choice worth up to the value of £3,000. The remainder of the fees must be met by your current employer (or, if you are unemployed or your company cannot fund the remainder, we will contribute 100% of the fees, up to the £3,000 maximum)

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.

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 NABS

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 will re-open in September 2018. Once completed and submitted, a panel of judges will review all applications and the final shortlisted candidates are invited to meet the panel for a 15-minute interview.

WACL Future Leaders Award opens for entries: 17th September 2018
Closing deadline for entries: 26th October 2018
Notification of shortlisting for interview: December 2018
Panel Interviews take place: January 2019
Notification of bursary award decision: February 2019
Winners Dinner: March/April 2019

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 to 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?

And lastly

  1. 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 or most recently 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 the current employer if you are opting for the 75% grant
  • Have an application reference by your most recent employer if you are opting for the 100% grant

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 2017/18 Patricia Mann prize winners were Georgina Purdy from Ogilvy & Mather, Kathryn Marriott from Global Media and Remi Pedro from Direct Line Group.


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:

Anna Blackwell Managing Director Dentsu Aegis Network
Bumble Davis Senior Producer Taylor James
Cecilia N’Zaou Manager, Product Marketing and Demand Strategy, EMEA Oath
Clare Bowen Head of Creative Development Radiocentre
Dannielle Beechey Partnerships Planner MediaCom
Ellyse Kostoglou Account Director The Story Lab
Emily Conway Senior Account Director JWT
Emma Nicol Head of Employee Engagement Ogilvy & Mather
Emma Saddleton Communications Planning Manager Carat
Gemma Moroney Head of Strategy & Insight Mischief PR
Georgina Purdy Senior Account Manager Ogilvy & Mather
Gini Sharvill Global Senior Brand Manager, Haagen-Dazs General Mills
Jennie Cashman Wilson Founder & CEO Abram Wilson Foundation for Creative Arts
Kathryn Marriott Head of Commercial Marketing Global Media
Katie Traxton Associate Director PR WeAreFearless
Laura Phipps Head of Communications & Engagement Alzheimers Research UK
Lauren Crozier Marketing Manager BT
Lyndsay Morgan Head of Operations Climb Online
Maria St Louis Agency Sales Manager Channel 4
Meigan Brown Copywriter Karmarama
Mieke Stones Head of Marketing London Sport
Nadja Lossgott Creative Partner AMV BBDO
Ramat Tejani Marketing Manager GSMA
Remi Pedro Biddable Consultant Direct Line Group
Sajeeda Merali Marketing Services Director Infopro Digital
Samantha Gray Head of Social Media Barclays
Stephanie Matthews Commercial Audiences Manager ITV
Victoria Marshall Senior Account Director iCrossing
Zara Bryson Associate Insight Director Publicis Media
Zoe Cooke Commercial Controller OgilvyOne

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The Drum