Campaign and Creative Equals call for ‘Future Leaders’ to put themselves forward

The list recognises adland’s top 30 female, non-binary and gender non-conforming rising stars.

Future Leaders list: applications now open
Future Leaders list: applications now open

Campaign and Creative Equals are calling on creatives to enter the Future Leaders list, which recognises adland’s top 30 female, non-binary and gender non-conforming rising stars. 

Future Leaders is back for its fourth year after a hiatus in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The list aims to shine a spotlight on up-and-coming leaders in the ad industry and reduce gender inequalities. 

The initiative is free to enter and is open to creatives, copywriters, art directors, designers, social content creators, creative directors, creative technologists, UX designers and film producers. Applicants must submit three pieces of work for clients or a personal project. 

Applications close on 15 April and the entry form is available here.

This year’s judges include: Lisa Campana, design director at Wunderman Thompson; Billy Faithfull, chief creative officer of Engine; Sue Higgs, joint executive creative director at Dentsumcgarrybowen; Tamryn Kerr, creative director of VMLY&R; Shirin Majid, deputy executive creative director at VCCP Kin; and Richard Robinson, managing partner of Oystercatchers.

The Future Leaders list comes as research shows women are among those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. According to the most recent IPA Agency Census, the number of women employed in agencies fell disproportionately to men year on year, with a drop of 13% full-time women in member agencies versus an 8% decrease among men.

Agencies also reported a gender pay gap of 23% in favour of men – a slight improvement on the 24% recorded in 2019. But the figure is significantly higher in creative and other non-media agencies (26%) than in media agencies, where it stands at 14%.

In other recent data showing that women are being severely affected by the pandemic, a survey of nearly 20,000 mothers and pregnant women carried out by campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed found that 15% had been made redundant (or expected to be) in what founder Joeli Brearley has referred to as “a generational rollback”.

Ali Hanan, founder of Creative Equals, pointed out that those who feature in the Future Leaders list are "often seen for the first time within their own company." 

She added: “This list matters. Some of those who have been on our list have now taken their place in 2021 as leaders, including Carole Davids, now group creative director at Vice Virtue, Jade Tomlin, now group creative director at AKQA and Franki Goodwin, now an executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi. 

“These hires and promotions are noteworthy, but in many cases you have to ask: what took so long for this woman to be recognised? Why do so many sit at ‘associate creative director’ for years?”

Maisie McCabe, UK editor at Campaign, said: "There's no question that more diverse and inclusive creative departments produce better, more effective work. Championing and supporting the next generation of talent is a vital step towards achieving that goal and Campaign is proud to again partner with Creative Equals on the 30 Future Leaders list.”

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