Enter our Talent Awards and see the difference it makes

WACL, Festival of talent, 18May2023, Photographer BronacMcNeill

The WACL Talent Awards 2023/4 are now open

The entry deadline for this year’s awards is 22nd October 2023

What is it?

The WACL Talent Awards is a grant scheme for emerging female+ leaders working in media, marketing, advertising and communications. It’s awarded by WACL in partnership with NABS.


Why does it exist?

WACL’s purpose of accelerating gender equality for the benefit of all in our industry means we’re passionate about supporting as many emerging female+ leaders as we can. So we set up the WACL Talent Awards to foster great talent and support more women on their journey to leadership.

Each year we are proud to award grants to around 25 individuals to fund a training course they have chosen to support their goals for the future.

This year, we are offering grants up to the value of £1,500 to all our winners.

Who can apply?

The WACL Talent Awards are open to all ambitious and talented individuals identifying as female+ in advertising and communications aspiring to achieve their leadership potential.


It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your background is – if you’re ambitious, want to make a difference and are motivated to succeed, you’re the perfect applicant for this awards scheme.


To be eligible to apply you must:

  • identify as female+
  • be currently or most recently employed or engaged in the media, marketing, advertising and communications industry
  • based in the UK
  • have at least 3 years of industry experience
  • committed to a career within this industry
  • have the application endorsed by our current/recent employer or sponsor
Here are five questions to explore that can help you write a winning submission
  • Are you passionate about the media, advertising, and communications industry and can you share examples that bring this passion to life?
  • How will your chosen course stretch you beyond where you are today and why does it feel like the right opportunity for you and your career?
  • What examples can you share of supporting, growing, and inspiring other women and tackling inclusion for all in the industry?
  • What have you achieved outside of your day job that you’re proud of (personally and professionally)?
  • What does being a leader mean to you, personally and professionally and what are your leadership ambitions in the future?


Simply put, we want to get to know the whole of you, inside and outside of work, and hear the story of what sort of leader you are, how you inspire others and how you want to progress as a leader.

How do I apply?

Click on the link here to access the application form.


All applications will be carefully reviewed and a shortlist of candidates will be invited to meet with a group of WACL Leaders who will then select the award winners.


Key dates for your calendar

Open for entries: 11th Sept 2023

Closing deadline for entries: Midnight,13th October 2023

Notification of shortlisting for interviews: early December 2023

Interviews take place: 22nd/23rd/25th January 2024

Notification of decision: February 2024

Winners celebration evening: March 2024


If you have any questions take a look at our FAQs that we’ve put together and feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected]


What happens if my line manager won’t support my application?

A reference is still required, but it can be from someone else within a senior position at your company or a previous employer or sponsor.

What if I’m thinking of leaving?

You could speak to your future employer or a sponsor about endorsing your application. You do not need to be in employment to apply for the awards, but you need to be committed to a career in the Advertising and Communications industry.

What if I am on maternity leave?

Apply now! Contact your current employer about how they can support your application.

I live outside of the UK. Am I eligible?

To be eligible, the UK must be your primary residence, and you must have spent the majority of your career working within the UK Media, Marketing, Advertising and Communications industry.

Will the Interviews be in person?

We expect to offer in-person and virtual interviews to help make the process accessible to all. 

Is my sector eligible?

We welcome applications from all industry sectors so long as your role is within media, marketing, advertising or communications, e.g. you would be eligible if you worked at a bank as Marketing Manager or worked on their paid search strategy but not if you worked in a bank within their HR function.

What is the Patricia Mann Award?

Each year we make a special award to one or more of the outstanding 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 in the industry. She was VP of JWT International & Head of External Affairs, one of the first women non-execs sitting on The Woolwich, British Gas, then Centrica and even Chaired the Parliamentary Debating Group. WACL’s values are inspired by how 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 with this award that embodies some of her spirits and can do for the women that follow what she did for us.

What is the Wendy Braverman Award?

Wendy Braverman was a leading light in the advertising industry for more than 3 decades. A champion of talent, a dedicated supporter of NABS and a long term active WACL member, Wendy sadly passed away in the summer of 2020.

The award is given to someone who the panel believe truly reflects Wendy’s entrepreneurial flair. As the overall awards are targeted at Future Leaders, this could be someone who is showing entrepreneurial initiative and ambition but needs the award to develop their skills further, or it could be someone who is running/starting to run their own small company like Wendy did or someone wanting to lead an initiative that would create change for other future women leaders.

Talent Awards: how to ask your employer for support


Put yourself in their shoes

How will your team, manager and organisation benefit from your learning?

How could you share your learnings with other people?


Anticipate, acknowledge and address obstacles

What options and ideas can you suggest in response to potential challenges to supporting your learning?



Makes perfect

If you’re nervous about the conversation it might be useful to practise what you’d like to say to someone else (a mentor, a work friend, even yourself).

You don’t need to memorise the exact script. Decide the three key points you want to make in a conversation and summarise each point into one word, so you have an easy ‘at a glance’ reminder in your notebook.



The art of asking: dont’s and do’s

Don’t apologise or make excuses for asking for support. Do focus on the reasons someone should support you (ie. you’ll add more value to the team, share knowledge and upskill others)


Don’t over-explain or feel you need to do all the talking. Do be clear on the support you are hoping for and be prepared to listen to their response


Don’t put pressure on yourself to resolve everything in one conversation. Do give yourself enough time to have a few conversations before asking your employer to commit to a decision


Don’t expect someone to remember everything you say. Do make sure you close a conversation by reiterating what support you’re looking for and when you need a decision by and it’s often useful to follow up the conversation with a summary over email


You can view guidance on examples of courses to research here



Discover more

Find out about 2022’s Festival of Talent
Learn more about WACL’s mission
Support one of our campaigns to accelerate gender equality
Find out why WACL is supporting timeTo
Read more about why new leadership models are so important
Sign up to our mentoring programme with WACL Leaders
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