Future Leaders Award – Time to apply

Are you a woman working in the advertising industry and would you like to receive financial support for a training course you would love to do? Hurry up. The deadline to apply for the WACL Future Leaders Award 17/18 is close. The deadline is now past and that the judges are currently in the process of deciding who will receive the bursary. The winners will be announced on the 26/01. Stay tuned

Five years ago, WACL, a club of women leaders created an award to help women in the industry to fund training of their choice, their purpose being to accelerate gender equality in the communication and marketing industry. The objective is to offer them help to enhance their likelihood of getting to the top ranks of their organizations and become a leader. Giving financial support to fund a training course of their choice was a way of doing this.

Five years later, the annual award is still going, and if you want to be part of it, it’s time to work on your application. The financial support will cover 75% of the training, the other 25% having to be paid by your employer, with a maximum contribution of £3000.

And there is a novelty this year. Among the 25 to 30 bursaries that will be given, 10 of them will be fully funded! “We wanted to acknowledge the current economic landscape and give women coming from smaller, more entrepreneurial companies, where money for training isn’t available, equal chance to receive one of our awards. We didn’t want to leave anyone out,” explains Rachel Forde, CEO of Spark Foundry UK and sits of WACL’s Exec Committee for the FLA.

Another novelty: this year the winners will receive an hour long one-to-one mentoring session with one of WACL’s senior leaders.




Who, what, how?

Last year, among the 196 people who applied:

- 32% were from Advertising Agencies

- 31% were from Media Agencies

- 22% were from Media Owner

- 8% were from Client Side

- 7 % Other

And among the winners, the main types of training chosen were associated with coding and improving self-confidence in public speaking.

Philippa Dunjay, planner at Karmarama, was one of last year’s winners, “I think it’s a great opportunity. My agency is good with providing training but it isn’t the case everywhere. It is also nice to be selected on your qualities. A lot of awards in the advertising industry are based on nomination; you need to be nominated by your peers. Many of the ‘future leader’ style awards are based on nomination by a senior person – so it depends on your merits, but also on having a good relationship with them. The selection criteria for the WACL award are different. It is the result of a process only based on who you are and what you demonstrate. Adding to that, there is an element of prestige. Receiving the award shows that you are considered as the top of the industry. It feels nice.”

To apply you must :

  • Be a woman
  • Be currently employed in the marketing & communications industry
  • Have at least 3 years industry experience
  • Be committed to developing a career within this industry
  • Be able to demonstrate potential as a future leader
  • Have your application endorsed by your current employer

the selection criteria revolve around:

  • Ambition and drive
  • Appetite to support other women in the industry
  • Interests, both in and out of work
  • Openness and honesty
  • Genuineness

Why only women?

Is it really necessary to have an award dedicated only to women? Don’t men also need training?

“It isn’t a reaction to the lack of equality in training. The purpose of WACL is to support future female leaders and to help the leaders of tomorrow reach the next stage of their career. That’s why the award focuses on women,” explains Rachel Forde. As for Philippa, “I have the impression that my agency is quite equal. We have women at the top of our company. But there is an industry wide problem with the promotion and retention of women at top levels. It is also interesting to see that in the planning department for instance, where I work, there are 14 men and 3 women. On the other side, when we meet the clients’ teams, there are usually 50, 60 or 70% of women in their team. Another point is that it is nice to be in an all women environment where we can share similar situations and talk more explicitly about problems we face. It is sometimes difficult to know what the cause of an issue is. Is it gender, personality, work…?”


If you want to receive a boost to reach the next step in your career, you still have a few hours left to apply. Go to the website and fill in the form.