WACL Talent Award 2023 winners announced

WACL Christmas Gala 2019, 5Dec2019, ©BronacMcNeill.com

WACL (Women in Advertising Communications Leadership) in partnership with NABS, the support organisation for the advertising and media industry, have announced the winners of this year’s 19th annual WACL Talent Awards.

A total of 29 women were chosen from 172 applications to receive bursaries of up to £1,500 each to fund a training course of their choice.

Entrants spanned a mix of ages, backgrounds and locations – and representative of the whole industry – media and creative agencies, brands, tech platforms, startups and more.

WACL Talent Awards 2023

This year saw the most diverse set of courses chosen, with only 25% of courses about leadership, compared to 60% last year.

Other courses ranged from sustainability, behaviour change, to brand strategy and NLP.

“In WACL’s 100th year, we were in awe at the talent, drive and determination of applicants”, said Michelle Whelan, Chair of the WACL Talent Awards committee and CEO of VMLY&R Commerce.

“The women driving our the next generation of our industry forward are not only future leaders, but going above and beyond to drive gender equality throughout the industry.”

“This year, more than any other, we heard with honesty and authenticity of the sometimes very personal challenges women rising up careers are having, from fertility to menopause, ageism and health challenges, the burden of responsibility is still falling on women to overcome these in the workplace.

“As WACL and NABS, we are immensely proud to be able to further accelerate the careers of 29 women through the Talent Awards.

“As we think about continuing to accelerate gender equality within business and our industry, I can’t wait to see the impact this year’s cohort will have”.

WACL is also awarding The Wendy Braverman Award, first launched two years ago.

A leading light in the advertising industry across more than three decades, Wendy was a champion of talent, dedicated supporter of NABS and long term WACL member. Introduced in 2021, the award is given to one of the Talent Award winners who truly reflects Wendy’s entrepreneurial flair.

The judges awarded two women this year: Anisa Morridadi, Founder and Exec Chair of Beatfreeks and Natalie Moores, Co-founder of Mac&Moore.

On winning the award Morridadi said: “Winning the WACL Talent Award is recognition that I am a leader and a trusted voice in this space.

“I’m so excited to join this coven of epic, powerful women who will help guide me through this next part of my journey.”

Moores said: “I started my career as the only woman in the room, which led me to think for a while that I needed to be the loudest voice in the room, I now support anything that puts different voices into the room… as that sparks the best conversations.”

One exceptional winner is also awarded the annual 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.

This year’s winner is Kenny Dada, Account Director at VCCP.

“Winning the award is a huge honour and a highlight of my career to date”, Dada said.

“I truly believe that all women at the start of their careers should be given the right tools to thrive, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds, and I am so excited to learn more about ways to enable this more in the industry, thanks to the funding from WACL.”

All winners will receive a membership to the Futures networking group – created and run by alumni of the awards and a copy of Kathryn Jacob’s book Belonging.

Launched by Tess Alps in 2005, the WACL Talent Awards are designed to encourage talented and inspirational women to stop, reflect on and prioritise areas of their development in order to accelerate their careers and achieve their full potential.

In the last 16 years, more than 225 women have received bursaries totalling over £450,000.