Wacl Talent Award 2021 winners are praised for 'compassion and empathy'

25 women have received bursaries this year.

Wacl Talent Awards: winners will receive bursaries to fund a training course
Wacl Talent Awards: winners will receive bursaries to fund a training course

Twenty-five women have been named this year’s Wacl Talent Award winners by Women in Advertising Communications London in partnership with advertising charity Nabs.

The winners will receive bursaries of up to £3,000 each to fund a training course of their choice.

Claire Hilton, chair of the award committee and global brand director at Virgin, said: “We saw strong themes emerge in this year’s applicants. As the UK begins to come out of the pandemic and businesses continue to build new ways of working, many entrants highlighted the significance of female leadership and, crucially, the empathy and compassion women can bring at a time when it is needed most. 

“With training budgets tighter than ever, it’s so important to invest in development for female talent to help women not only reach these leadership positions, but to also succeed once they get to those roles.”

Waclsaid it received 214 applicants for the Talent Awards and it considered a cross-section of women, including freelancers, those currently on furlough or made redundant.

“Entrants spanned a mix of ages, backgrounds and locations – from the South West of England all the way up to Scotland – as applicants from outside London increased 69% compared with the previous year,” Wacl said.

“Over half of this year’s winners have chosen to focus their training on leadership, particularly developing their style and influence, while 44% want to grow their core marketing skills.”

Wacl made two other awards. 

The inaugural Wendy Braverman Award – named after the headhunter who died last year – recognises entrepreneurial flair and went to Marcella Collins, founder and managing director at Prompt Marketing.

The Patricia Mann Award for championing change and challenging the status quo to support other women and make a positive impact on the marketing and advertising industry was given to Susi Castle, chief marketing officer at District 34.

Since the Wacl Talent Awards launched in 2005, more than 225 women have received bursaries totalling over £350,000.

There is mounting evidence that women’s careers suffered disproportionately during the pandemic.

Figures from the newly-published IPA Census show the number of women employed full time in member agencies fell 13% while the number of men dropped 8% last year.

The declines were more pronounced when it came to part-time employees as the number of part-time women fell 25% and part-time men dropped 15%.

The Wacl Talent Award 2021 winners are:

Charlotte Hugh, Dark Horses

Marcella Collins, Prompt Marketing

Jenni Evans, Sue Ryder

Rosanna Connolly, Morena

Saffana Monajed, Omnicom Media Group

Christine Okorocha, VAMP Social

Kirby Allie, Ogilvy Health

Susi Castle, District 34

Jessica Tagg, Blis

Nikki Sehgal, TEDxLadbrokeGrove

Francesca Coia, Republic of Media

Yewande Ogunkoya, Essence

Amy Shaw, OPEN Media

Jayna Mistry, ClearScore

Caitlin Pinner, UM

Sandy Downs, Teamspirit

Laurian Osborne, Facebook

Uzma Afridi, NABS

Clare Russell, Ogilvy

Elspeth Spelzini, Starcom

Anne Phillips, Edrington-Beam Suntory

Zoe Chambers, Google

Danielle Jade Barwick, Barclays

Rukaya El-Turki, M&C Saatchi

Jenny Lister, Publicis Media


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