Member FAQs

How does the President/ Vice President get chosen? 

A new Vice President is chosen every year by the existing VP who is about to become President. She is allowed to choose her VP and makes that choice using criteria such as: 

  • Who is passionate about the Club and what it stands for? 
  • Who knows the Club well and has served on the Exec before? 
  • Who is widely known and respected by members? 
  • Who embodies the values of the Club? 

Once she has a shortlist of potential VPs, she seeks the counsel of Past Presidents who will help to make the final decision. 

Each President serves for a year (from July to the end of June). The Vice President generally spends her VP planning her Presidential year and getting to know areas of the Club that perhaps she is less familiar with.  

How does the Exec get chosen? 

There are three types of role on the Exec: 

  • ‘Hon’ roles (e.g. Hon Sec, Hon Treasurer) which are chosen by the President and cover strategic responsibilities like finance, comms, events and tech. These roles usually rotate every two-three years.
  • Committee Chairs who are responsible for the delivery of a WACL activity such as the Gala or the Festival of Talent.  These are chosen within each committee. An existing Committee Chair will choose her Vice-Chair (almost always someone who has served on that committee and knows what it entails) about half way through the WACL year, ensuring the incoming Chair has plenty of time to prepare for her year as Chair. 
  • Sometimes the President may choose to add a new role to the Exec to reflect the Club’s priorities at the time. For example, in this WACL year, we have a WACL100 committee, chaired by Carol Reay, with a remit to plan special events and celebrations during our Centenary year, 2023 and we have a joint consultation role, shared by Merry Baskin and Hanisha Kotecha.

Why is there no Exec member for Diversity and Inclusion? 

This year, responsibility for D&I is shared between the Exec members. We are developing a framework, with the support of DEI specialists, which will provide an overall approach for the Club that can then be implemented across all its activities and committees.

How long does each Exec member serve? 

Most roles turn over every year. This is because running a Committee is a significant investment of time and few WACL members who have full time jobs are able to do more than a year.  The system of each Committee Chair choosing a VP within her year helps to ensure a smoother handover and some succession planning. Plus, it means that more WACL members get a chance to play a key role in the running of the Club. 

Hon roles, which are more strategic in nature, may serve for a longer term, at the discretion of the President. 

How do I join a Committee? 

Committees tend to turn over every year around AGM time (the exception is the Christmas Gala, where the new committee is usually in place earlier in the calendar year, to ensure they have enough time to deliver an amazing event by December!)

 To join a committee you should get in touch with the Committee Chair to let them know your interest. A good time to do so is in the Spring. We are aiming to create a form on the website/ in a Google Sheet where you can register your interest in joining a committee – watch this space. 

Please note that we ask members to only join ONE committee at a time. They’re often oversubscribed so we try to spread the WACL love. 

What do I HAVE to do as a member? 

There are relatively few things that you have to do, but here they are: 

  • Pay your subs on time – WACL finances are VERY tight – it really helps our cash flow if you pay them quickly and it saves an unnecessary amount of admin chasing you up! 
  • Attend the AGM. It’s the only event each year that we ask everyone to attend. 
  • Get involved: attend dinners, join a committee, volunteer to be a mentor, encourage your female talent to enter the Awards or go to the Festival of Talent. As with most things in life, the more you put in the more you get out. Or put another way ‘give’ to WACL and you’ll ‘get’ extraordinary support, inspiration and friendship in return. 
  • Most importantly, support other members. We are first and foremost a a membership Club, so members come first. The joy of WACL is being part of an amazing community of senior women, many of whom will have valuable experience and learning to share. If a WACL member contacts you, get back to them as soon as you can. They will do the same for you. 

I thought there was a ‘three dinner rule’? 

Now that there are so many ways to engage in WACL, you no longer have to attend three formal dinners. That said, the dinners (and increasingly the smaller members-only events) are great ways to meet other WACLers and enjoy the social side of the Club. 

We are also doing our best to run events with a more affordable ticket price than the big dinners. If you happen to have access to a space that could accommodate some of us free of charge, please get in touch with our Hon Events Secretary, Jodie Fullagher. She would love to hear from you!

Are there any things I mustn’t do? 

WACL is a community and a social space. It’s not a place to promote your business or to solicit for new business. Put another way, networking is an implicit benefit of Club membership, not an explicit one. 

WACL’s membership is also now very broad. We have members in their 40s and in the 80s, from client organisations, from agencies, from start ups and from trade bodies. People have different opinions and experiences and we encourage members to share and listen respectfully. 

What is WACL’s purpose and how does this come to life?

WACL’s official purpose is ‘to accelerate gender equality in the advertising and communications industry through support, inspiration and campaigning’.

The core of the Club is ‘support’ – helping each other professionally, and sometimes emotionally or personally as well. This is where programmes like peer to peer mentoring come in, but the bulk of WACL’s support activities are informal. WACL support is one of the benefits of the deep and long-lasting friendships that are formed between members.

For around the last 10-15 years, we have built up the ‘inspiration’ part of our purpose, focusing on the next generation of leaders through the Festival of Talent (previously called ‘Gather’), our inspiration ‘Sessions’ and Mentoring programme.

The campaigning element. of the purpose is very new to WACL – our first campaigns were launched in 2020 (Flexible First). Looking ahead, it’s likely that we will do some work to refine our campaigning activities to make sure they’re aligned with member interests and play to our strengths as leaders in advertising and communications.

If I want to propose someone for membership how does that work? 

New members have to apply for membership and complete an application form, which is then reviewed by the membership committee and is scored against 5 criteria. They also have to have two WACL members to propose and second them, who are not serving on the Exec committee and who they don’t currently work with. 

If you would like to propose or second someone for membership, it’s worth supporting them to write the strongest-possible application. 

Louise Johnson is chairing the New Members committee and can provide you with further information. 

Can anyone come to a WACL event? 

Some events are members-only, and some are for members and their guests. The Events section of the website makes this clear.  If you would like to bring a a guest, we ask that you book their ticket for them. Access to tickets for these events is a key benefit of membership plus it eases our administration burden and makes the seating plan a little easier! 

There’s so much going on, how do I stay on top of it all? 

We are aware that as the Club’s activities have grown so have our comms channels, albeit not in the most structured way! So, our ambition moving forward is to simplify things for you. 

  • Start with the President’s newsletter, which comes out each month, and will include details of upcoming events and Club news. 
  • If we need to let you know about something urgently (e.g. a reminder to book tickets for something) we will try to minimise the emails you get by putting them all into a weekly ‘WACL bulletin’.  (We are working on this currently, so ‘bear with’ while we get it up and running)
  • The website should be the ‘bible’ of everything WACL. The old one was creaking, we hope this one is easier to navigate (and easier for us to keep up to date). You should now be able to book all events via the website.
  • Our Facebook group is the place for online ‘chat’ where you can connect with other members.
  • Our external channels – Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – are mainly reserved for communication about our campaigns and Talent-related events.
  • We experimented last year with an app… it didn’t work as well for us as we hoped, so we are retiring this. 

I’m new to WACL. What’s the best way to get to know people? 

If you’re new to WACL, we know it can feel a bit intimidating. People make life-long friends through the Club so it can seem a bit cliquey at first.  

The best way to find your WACL tribe is to throw yourself in. 

  • Go to an event and sit on a members’ table (sometimes we have specific new members tables). 
  • Join a postcode party or hold one yourself. 
  • Put your name forward for a committee (time and again, members tell us this is the best way to feel part of the Club quickly)
  • Use the members directory to get in touch with people. WACLers are very friendly! 

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