WACL History History of WACL – 2000s Last Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Key events:

  • The Millennium Dome was launched in the UK to celebrate the start of the 2000s
  • Ken Livingstone became Mayor of London, the  first directly elected mayor in the UK
  • The Harry Potter film franchise began in 2001 and spanned the decade
  • The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001 provoked the ongoing  ‘War on Terror’
  • Communications were revolutionised through internet, web and mobile technologies
  • Women adopted sensible Crocs and Uggs but didn’t give up their Manolos and Choos
  • Climate change and global warming became political priorities
  • There were 2 serious worldwide financial crises in the decade
  • In 2009 Barack Obama became the first African American to become US President
  • Carol Ann Duffy was appointed the first female Poet laureate (and the first Scottish and gay one too)in 2009


It was a decade of huge change and anxiety, but also a decade of breakthroughs for women, which WACL reflected.  Our speakers included the first female CEO of a FTSE100 company (Dame Marjorie Scardino), the first female General from open selection across the British Army (Brigadier Patricia Purves) and the first female Director of the Royal Institution (Baroness Susan Greenfield .

In fact, the many successful women claiming their place in public life enabled WACL to draw heavily on them; in some years there were only female speakers at dinners.  Global CEOS of advertising companies like Shelly Lazarus and Ann Fudge visited us.  Ann was also our first African American speaker and was joined soon after by our first Asian female speaker, Perween Warsi.

The Wacl activities which are designed to help the next generation of women expanded from the  yearly Forum (later Gather) to include regular evening workshops, and in 2003 the Future Leaders’ Award was launched.  This fund uses some of the profits from  the training activities to offer promising middle management women bursaries to enable them to benefit from further marketing and management training on their way to the top.