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Women of Tomorrow Awards 2018 Winners

Here are the 10 outstanding women who have been named the IPA and Campaign's Women of Tomorrow 2018

Read Gemma’s submission

“Software engineering isn’t for girls.”

The first of my family to go to university, I was one of two women studying the subject at Sheffield and the only female in a team of coders at the MOD. Being told it wasn’t for girls was the determining factor in deciding to do it.

My other love, the law, wasn’t open–I hadn’t chosen the right A-Levels. So, I studied as a post-grad, alongside my job at Ogilvy & Mather, qualifying as a barrister five years later.

I believe passionately in the power of personal growth and unlocking potential. This drives me to make our agency and people shine in this crazy, exciting industry and I’m dedicated to leading work that grows team pride, collaboration and recognition for everyone. I love that my role allows me to do all this.

I believe this is what makes me a woman of tomorrow:


Hired as PA at Ogilvy & Mather, I started on a steep, new learning curve. Seven character-defining years later, I left as New Business Director for Ogilvy Group UK across direct, PR, design, media, healthcare, advertising. I was part of a brilliant team changing a legacy mind-set and culture in the face of new entrepreneurial agencies, transforming reputation and culture through great wins including Philips, Expedia and Kronenbourg. I hired people better than me. I learnt the value of failure and unwavering resilience. I worked hard to earn my stripes.


Seeing the need for agencies to make a step-change in a new digital age, I joined consultancy JFDI, nudging teams to regain their new business mojo with new attitudes and new capabilities. I trained 50+ industry professionals in modern new business skills, helped G2 win Costa Coffee, redefined Zenith’s marketing strategy and won Royal Caribbean International with Lexis.

Today, I lead a crack-team of our next-generation leaders empowered to drive culture at Geometry and I’m a mentor, both internally and with the IPA’s New Business Group.


In 2014 Geometry invited me on board with a task to build UK reputation and growth, fast. As WPP’s biggest ever merger we were the industry’s largest start-up, but with zero UK presence and no reason to step inside. In year one we had 1 pitch – since then we’ve won over 30 new clients, and I now sit on the EXCO.I’ve had to find new ways to market our brand as an agency for a new world. With a gifted team, I’ve helped flex the agency offer to deliver against briefs such as store-of-the-future, direct-to-consumer, eCommerce acceleration and more. Clients now come to us for innovative answers to new challenges.

Believing in the power of conversation, I’ve developed and launched Captivate, our thought leadership platform and written for The Drum.

This year I’m leading a pro-bono account for an ovarian cancer charity – something very close to a colleague’s heart and an incredible privilege.

My side-hustle? An online business to get experience running a company. It’s called Petit Hermite and scheduled to launch in March. I’m terrified!

Annette King, former CEO, Ogilvy UK: “An innovative leader with agility, optimism and charm. Gemma’s a natural woman of tomorrow!

Stephen Woodford, Advertising Association CEO: “Gemma brought new perspective, led us to evolve and win in a complex landscape.”

Michelle Whelan, CEO, Geometry UK: “A sharp strategic thinker with great capacity to lead people forward, Gemma is the beating heart of our agency"

Read Caroline’s submission

I’m Caroline Benson, Co-Founder of Cuttsy + Cuttsy. We are a communications agency specialising in healthcare. People, and making meaningful connections between them, is at the very heart of what we do.

It was working as a care assistant whilst at university and then studying a PhD in prostate cancer that created my passion for health related communications. I began to realise that there was something missing; the facilitation of real, honest conversations between people, which could lead to meaningful change. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in an industry that was becoming increasingly driven by efficiencies and lessening real personal interactions.

I founded the agency during the recession in 2011, with a three-year-old daughter, mortgage, and no financing. We took any opportunities that were offered, branded a hair salon, did freebies with the hope that they would lead to paid work. Relief hit as we landed our first retainer with a major client and since then we have never looked back.

We are the only healthcare agency that uses the principles of Emotional Intelligence as the basis of how we work. We believe that by using these principles, we are more self-aware, motivated and can empathise with our audiences. This is vitally important in an age that is driven by data and technology, and for me the future is about not losing the characteristics that make us human, so that we can still engage meaningfully with each other.

The work we do is varied and interesting and what is so special is that it makes a difference to people lives: our agency team and clients but more importantly the end users – patients, carers and healthcare professionals. We could be working on a campaign to raise awareness of a life-threatening disease; interviewing patients who undergo cancer treatment to tell their story to help others. A project I am really proud of is working with a group of cancer patients to identify and create materials to make the experience from diagnosis to treatment easier for other sufferers, in a language they can understand.

Supporting the team grow and develop in their careers gives me great enjoyment and its fundamental to the success of our agency. I am proud to say that we have achieved our IPA Gold CPD accreditation in every full year of membership.

As a mother who juggles family and work, and employs lots of working parents its very important to provide a culture of flexibility and respect within the agency. For the last two years we have won The Working Mums SME Top Employer award something I am very proud of.

We have set up programs to bring mothers back to work after extensive time out of the workplace, developed working practices to enable parents to still have careers whilst bringing up their families. We have tapped into this massive talent pool of individuals alongside individuals who have come straight from school, developing them into valued employees.

So far on this journey, I have been the main business developer, FD, CSD, office manager, mentor, listener, juggler, runner, tennis player. I am a member of industry groups including PM Society Patient Engagement Group Co-Chair.

I believe in the power of meaningful connection in healthcare communications. As by doing so, we can change people's lives. The future to me is about building these connections, because ultimately people matter.

Read Tainah’s submission

I am passionate about life and I try to live with a clear purpose and vision. I don’t believe the best things just happen. I always set myself personal and professional annual objectives divided into 10 categories, ranging from wellness to finance. I also develop a yearly theme which serves as a guiding principle for any decision. This discipline and commitment to reaching my very best has lead me to achieve first class honours in two masters, record a music album, set up and successfully sell two businesses, a boutique agency and a digital publisher with a profit margin over 500%.

I’ve always followed one principle in my career which is to be a servant leader. I believe the best way to rise is by lifting others. During my time as an entrepreneur, I had the privilege of developing brilliant people who drove the businesses forward and in less than three years the agency won many prestigious accounts including HSBC and Mondelez.

“Tai is incredibly talented, she sees broader and cares deeper.” Rucelmar Reis - Founder of HSBC Technology

“Tai made me strive for higher goals and achieve things I could only dream of.” Gisah Akel - Account Director, Sitz.

At Manning Gottlieb OMD, I have found a place where my entrepreneurial and leadership skills are truly valued. I am a Business Director, working with an extremely talented team of 15 people and helping some incredible brands to grow. My role is to provide the right platform for the team to thrive and develop their best work. I’ve created my own development methodology which allows me to identify people’s potential and invest in their growth. I also became a NABS ambassador to leverage all the resources available in our industry to empower people further. I truly believe that if its leaders get better, the whole organisation gets better. The work we are producing has lead to a deep level of trust within our team, with our valued clients, secure incremental new business and build a successful model to run complex accounts. This is being replicated around the world in other Omnicom agencies.

“The relationship we’ve built with Tai is the best relationship with any agency I’ve ever worked with. Her team is truly like an extension of ours.” Ian Mackey – Former Consumer Manager MAC

But it isn't just about the work. My passion for helping people has lead me to train as a coach and volunteer as a marriage counsellor. I lead a marriage preparation course and have so far had the opportunity to meet over 300 couples, equipping them with key principles to build strong relationships.

My journey has given me the opportunity to influence people across many spheres of life. I fully embrace this responsibility and my ambition as a leader is not to create followers but to continue raising future leaders, encouraging them to confidently live up to their full potential. I believe it is this that makes me a true woman of tomorrow.

Read Nathalie’s submission

As a Woman of Tomorrow, it's our responsibility to rewrite the rules and make changes that other women (and men) will benefit from, particularly those in more junior roles. Change is a grassroots movement.

I’m a curator rather than a commander. I mentor at Ad School SCA, run the placement programme at my agency and am responsible for the agency’s ‘Creative Fund’ - used to inspire and encourage creativity; I thrive because of the people around me and they need to be able to flourish every damn day.

As Creatives, work extends into play. We’re paid to make work for clients but without the ideas we cultivate outside of our 9-5, we wouldn’t be best serving our clients.

After doing a talk called ‘Don’t Dream, Do’ where I discussed the importance of pulling ideas off the page and making them yourself, I began offering my help to anyone with an unmade idea, in what I call ‘Push Projects’.

My first successful Push Project was ‘Last Man Standing’, a community futsal match in which 6 London youth groups united over a love for sport. The quarterly match is now supported by Nike, Coke, Lad Bible and SbTV. I knew nothing about Futsal but I saw something in Gundeep Anand’s original idea when I saw it stuck in his book.

Making, designing, and using our lateral thinking abilities to problem solve is fundamental to being the best version of ourselves. I push for this often as possible and for more thinking to happen outside of our confirmation-bias bubbles.

Diversity within the creative industries is incredibly important to me. I’ve created campaigns like #SOwhiteproject (a photography initiative that shines a light on the underrepresentation of the BAME community within advertising) and Taxi Fabric (an Indian company which seeks to show society that Design can create change rather than simply being functional) with the specific intention of expanding hiring pools and breaking down social barriers.

With an almost all-male management team, it’s with work like this that my voice is heard. I believe the key to our success as an agency, lies in nurturing people who expect more, collaborate and seek out diverse opinions.

I’ve never hidden my personal voice or agenda. Working hard doesn’t inevitably bring success – you have to put yourself out there.

And I have.

I’ve launched Kickstarter campaigns, spoken to the Queen about rape, chaired a talk at The London Feminism Conference and been part of a White Paper written by Berkley University about the science behind happiness. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in if I didn’t welcome being vulnerable.

In Advertising, words like ‘vulnerable’ can be used against women - along with ‘bossy’, ‘confident’, ‘pushy’ etc. It’s up to us to reclaim this language. As Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient says, “A woman who wants to be a man is a waste of a woman”. It’s because of emotion, empathy and compassion that we, The Women of Tomorrow, behave differently and will make a difference.

Read Sarah’s submission

I’ve always had a passion for solving problems. It’s one of the main reasons I became a creative. I’m that annoying person. The one who doesn’t stop thinking, creating, making and questioning until I can find a way to solve things. And I love it. I always like to do the unconventional, the road less travelled.

Early on at JWT, I felt I could give Rimmel a more defined personality and point of view. I persuaded them to let me blog for them about London life. Rimmel quickly became the voice of London and I continued to blog for them for 4 years.

At CHI&Partners, The Princes Trust had a poster brief to drive fund raising. I didn’t think posters would do the trick, so proposed a transformable shop. A shop that would host a different entrepreneur each month. We called it ‘The Tomorrow’s Store’, and not only did it raise money, it gave young entrepreneurs high-street visibility to showcase and sell their work. Winning numerous industry awards, The Tomorrow’s Store is still running today, and is one of my proudest achievements.

Last November at NOW, I worked with the Women’s Equality Party to create a guerrilla campaign asking women to switch their Out Of Office on in support of Equal Pay Day. Because if women aren’t being paid the same as men, why should they work at all? This campaign united women in workplaces across the UK.

Outside of work, my friend and I set up a small sustainable fashion business ‘Back of the Wardrobe’. We spent our weekends delving into women’s wardrobes to create new looks from their existing clothes, reinvigorating both their look and their self-image.

I also helped launch a friend’s restaurant in Stockport ‘Where The Light Gets In’ consulting on design, branding and marketing. This year it was named among the top 10 UK restaurants outside of London.

I am part of a volunteer-powered free neighbourhood film festival in Herne Hill giving local young filmmakers a chance to screen their films in front of audiences.

And last year, I started my own alcoholic Candy Floss business, Sweet Mother Fluffer, which has been featured on The Drum.

Back in 2013, I was a Campaign ‘Face To Watch’. This had a profound effect on me. I have never had a female boss. It always made me question what kind of leader I wanted to become.

Since then, I have worked with countless young teams, creating a fun, supportive environment, where teams are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones inside and outside of work. Every year I host workshops with universities to encourage creatives to think differently. And I am part of the IME mentorship program that helps give young unemployed people support and advice.

To be a Woman of Tomorrow is daunting. But I wish I could have had someone to look up to when I was starting out. To show that we can be our own bosses, launch our own ideas, and follow our own path.

Read Nadja’s submission

My writer, Nicholas, and I are lucky enough to work on some of the agency’s highest profile briefs. We try to use this platform to create bold, successful work that makes a positive difference in culture (and hopefully dispel some undermining myths about female creative ability).

We created #Bloodnormal for Bodyform: ending the blue liquid era, showing period blood for the first time in ad history and helping normalise periods. We worked unending hours, fought obstacles and outright no’s, pushing against this entrenched taboo. It’s been hailed as groundbreaking by major news organisations and I’m proud about the heartfelt global responses.

Our anti-terror podcast for MET Police reached no.2 in the iTunes charts and has helped move the agency away from traditional campaigns.

While Guinness “Sapeurs”, the story of Congolese dandies helped put the brand back into positive growth for the first time in years, the most rewarding was seeing it praised for showing Africans as positive role models and cultural equals.

Previously, we were part of the team that did the Black Pencil winning Zimbabwean "Trillion Dollar” campaign that helped the newspaper survive against the brutal Mugabe regime.

I’ve also CD’d awarded, effective work and recently led the winning pitch for Alzheimer’s Research.

I sit on international juries like Cannes, D&AD and One Show. And have been named as one of The One Show & 3% Movement’s 10 Next Creative Leaders, as well as Management Today’s 35 under 35.

The South African phrase “each one, teach one” is my motto. I’ve learnt from inspirational people like Cilla Snowball, Rosie Arnold, Sandra deWitt, Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi and Dave Buchanan. In turn, I mentor a number young women and teams, help students with their books and do talks and workshops with organisations including D&AD NewBlood and St Martin’s. I also help One Show with young creative development programmes.

My mentee, Josie Shedden says, “Nadja nurtures by example. She’s helped me grow confidence and encourages me to have a voice myself. She’s like one of the cool older girls at school you want to emulate.”

I tackle leadership by looking for the best way to collaborate with others and get the best from them; I’m always honest and straight; I bring humour, humility and complete commitment to challenges and won’t rest until I know I’ve put every ounce of creativity into the task.

My ECD’s Alex and Adrian wrote something kind about me: “There’s absolutely no point us telling you Nadja has talent. That’s clear from her body of work. So, what we’d like to tell you is how she uses that talent. How she uses it to make others better. How that talent is honed through Stakhanovite levels of hard work. How she remains humble when she has won everything. How she is fearless in knowing when to stand firm and wise enough to understand when to bend. You can only lead if people want to follow. People would follow Nadja anywhere. She is a woman of tomorrow shaping today.”

Read Kim’s submission

I’m a Strategy Director, a small business owner, a women’s coach and a mum. I believe in being able to bring the whole of one’s self into the workplace; every skill, strength, passion and, of course, every weakness.

Wunderman has helped me see that a career should be unlimited. With them, I’ve been able to grow, have developed my own personal resilience method and have been able to help others, too. I’m the Lead on a super-exciting account (Samsung), but also have a bigger purpose in life to help women flourish. I joined Wunderman three years ago. Since then, they’ve helped me find purpose in both these things; I’ve helped form a team, kick-started a women’s mentoring programme and, like many women, have overcome some pretty big obstacles professionally and personally.

Many women can relate to having periods in their careers where they’ve lost confidence or found their motivation waning. Prior to joining Wunderman, this had become almost my constant state. When I joined the team here, I was encouraged to be honest. This helped me not only grow self-assurance but also grow a new role for myself. I now feel like I’m developing every single day, and I use this experience to help others.

I’m the Champion speaker in our women’s leadership training programme ‘Pass It On’, where women at every stage in their careers learn how to build a professional life that they love. The ambition is simple: give them the tools and network they need in order to be promoted, help them become more fulfilled, and create more women leaders in the industry. This sharing platform has made such a huge difference to women at Wunderman already, and it’s only in its second year.

In order to further help women grow, I have my own small business; Clementine is an app that helps women overcome anything from self-doubt to low confidence to overwhelm at work. I juggle this against a Huffington Post blog, a monthly podcast and an experience-sharing community.

I’m grateful to Pip Hulbert, Wunderman CEO, for nominating me. Through her I was able to make a critical step-change in my career and make the Wunderman values part of my personal and professional life: Own It (never dropping the ball for clients, my team, my family), Collaboration (see that I don’t have all the answers), Be Generous (because we all have something to offer others) and Get Uncomfortable (I succeed at this every day).

My working style is no-bullshit (not quite as no-bullshit as Cindy Gallop, but getting there). My team would say dedicated to driving better experiences for clients and that I’m ‘all-in’ when it comes to team work. I don’t believe in hierarchies and never will. More than anything, I want to be a good mum (who doesn’t?) and always inspire women to do more, because they can have a great career, a great home-life and a great a side-passion. And there are so many professional women who can help them achieve it.

Read Rachel’s submission

As a planner at JWT, for the past 5 years I have worked on collecting and mining female insight, culminating in a global study: The Female Tribes, having become frustrated with the narrow lens through which women were represented in popular culture. The project was initially fuelled through extensive desk research but has grown into a global proprietary study covering over 8000 women, aged 17-70 years across 19 different countries: perhaps the largest female insight study of its kind within the industry. I combined this work with my day job, convinced that the story of what I term ‘Female Capital’ – the value that women bring to the world as women- needed to be told.

I have used this insight to inspire a more progressive and authentic representation of women through advertising, challenging stereotypes and unconscious bias, but also through product and service design to change the way the world works for women. Female Tribes has been embraced by the agency at all levels, and I have led the initiative to recruit teams around the network to build local expertise, this year launching Female Tribes Consulting, a response to client demand for a bespoke service enabling business to design their products and services through a female lens. I’m also proud to say that Female Tribes has inspired graduates to work with the agency as part of our recruitment programme.

As part of our work on Female Tribes I’ve championed a number of initiatives to challenge the limited representation of women:

• Produced 4 part documentary Her Story: the female revolution with BBC World News to tell the story of female progress

• Led the development of the 2017 #FThePayGap campaign for International Women’s Day

• Championed the development of the Gender Quota Study in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media- a study of gender representation across the past 10 years of Cannes advertising entries

• Led the development of the #drawaline Campaign with UN Women UK to end violence against women and girls

This year will mark the launch of the Female Tribes book, to be published by Penguin Random House, enabling me to further spread the message of Female Capital, demonstrate that femininity is a strength not a weakness busting the entrenched stereotypes around women.

What people are saying about Female Tribes:

• “#Squadgoals Is Over. It’s Time For Female Tribes” Elle Magazine UK

• “At Advertising week last month, I saw an incredible talk from Rachel Pashley of JWT on Female Tribes Her central premise was that we should start defining women by their possibilities and not their responsibilities”. IPA Blog

• “It is a fascinating look at how we have all evolved away from a single stereotype of stay-at-home mum” Forensem Marketing

• “The top authors on the matter – such as JWT’s Rachel Pashley and the indomitable Cindy Gallop – are evidently female” Katie Deighton, The Drum, On Gender Inequality.

• “’Change the narrative on women to be game changing’ Great quote from Rachel Pashley” @APGLondon event #femaletribes @damayanti_p

Read Sarah’s submission

As Director of Innovation at Wavemaker, I’ve had a unique career path, from brand to start-up to agency. This diverse experience is the foundation for the areas I am most passionate about – growth, change, education and disruption.

I’m a wife, and a mother to Sebastian, the kindest little soul I know. I love being a working mum; watching my parents work so hard growing up inspired me and gave me strong role models to look up to. I hope to be the same.

I spend at least one evening a week offering career advice to those starting out, whether school leavers in search of inspiration or start-ups looking to break the mould. I find this particularly fulfilling - I get my kicks from seeing people succeed.

‘Sarah helped me find my feet when I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Her recognition of my skill set and strengths gave me the confidence to apply for jobs I didn’t think I would get, but I did.’ Charlie, Graduate

Lead by example: I understand the importance of good leadership, having been mentored myself by people who recognized my talents and helped me to realise them. This is how I lead. Recognising the unique skills of people, offering support and nurturing them to become the future women of tomorrow.

Take risks: From moving to New York and delivering a business plan, to taking Equinox’s content site to a stand-alone business. Launching a start-up. And most recently, joining an agency in a completely new innovation role because I believe that in order to be good at marketing you need to be an innovator.

Champion alternative definitions for success: Whilst my day job is all about client projects, I believe extra work is needed to proactively set an agenda for innovation. I have challenged the conventional approach and believe innovation is a cultural issue. By facilitating and providing tools to everyone, collaboration has meant innovation is on the plan for many clients for the first time.

Make a difference: Last year, I questioned the fact that only 2% of VC funds went to female-founded start-ups and launched an initiative to get advertising agencies to stop tech tourism and support the long-term future of female founders. Beyond mentoring entrepreneurs with the support of some awesome people at Wavemaker, we sponsored a digital academy for female entrepreneurs and drove awareness of the need for change. I was also able to recruit some passionate colleagues to champion the mission.

‘Somebody like Sarah is the ultimate person you could look for as an advisor when founding a start-up Working alongside her as an advocate for innovative start-ups at a grass roots level, has been truly inspiring; She’s a true champion of startups.’ Amber, CEO, Zyper

I have followed a path that has been right for me. One that has allowed me to continually develop my skills, drive change, and go to work being proud that I am making difference. For me, a woman of tomorrow carves out her own path and is bold and brave enough to take risks. I believe I am a woman of tomorrow.

Read Marianne’s submission

Marianne is a driven leader, committed to making improvements to the world around her both privately and professionally. She is an important voice for disability equality within the creative industry.

Despite only having worked full time in creative agencies for the past 6 years, Marianne has been quickly promoted through the ranks at several design agencies. Her swift ascension to senior positions reflects her ambition, capability and dedication.

Marianne is now a Senior Consultant at Interbrand, but having not only found success in her branding career, Marianne has also found a way of marrying this expertise up with her passion for disability inclusion.

Marianne decided she was fed up with the half-hearted effort made by brands to represent and provide for disabled people, so she set out to make a difference, for those considered ‘different’. In 2016, she founded Think Designable, a thought leadership collective dedicated to evangelising the benefits of inclusion through mainstream design.

Think Designable is comprised of like-minded creatives from London’s agency world. Through open conversation with brands and businesses, the aim is to encourage them to make inclusive products and services central to their business, as opposed to an afterthought. The initiative has garnered support from some of the most influential and innovate organisations in Britain including the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Channel 4, Scope and BT as well as The Office for Disability Issues, Business Disability International and other global inclusion specialists.

In 2017, Think Designable forged partnership with the Festival of Marketing to reward and celebrate inclusive brands. Marianne facilitated the first disability panel at the festival as well as instigating and presenting the first ever Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award at the Masters of Marketing Awards.

Other current priorities include preparation for the next event, Designable 2018 which is being supported by The Minister for Disabilities. Marianne is also heading up their first brand research paper focussed on amplifying the needs of disabled consumers, as well as campaigning for a change in the way image libraries represent disabled people.

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