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WACL Future Leaders Award

What is the FLA and why does it exist?

The Future Leaders Award (FLA) is an exciting, purpose-led grant scheme, awarded by WACL, in partnership with the industry charity NABS, for the most talented and inspiring future female leaders working in media, marketing and communications. This is our 14th year of awarding grants to future female leaders and we want you to apply.

WACL’s purpose is to accelerate gender equality in the media, marketing and communications industry, because while change is happening gradually, still only 36% of leadership positions are held by women, despite women accounting for 50% of all employees. This is something WACL is campaigning to change by supporting more women on their journey to leadership. And that’s where the FLA comes in.

Every year we are excited and proud to award grants to around 30 women to fund a training course. The course is chosen by you to help you address any blocks you feel are holding you back and can help you achieve your leadership potential. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re based in the UK, or what your background is, if you’re ambitious, want to make a difference and are motivated to succeed, you could well be a WACL Future Leader. We’re immensely proud that our winners reflect the growing breadth and diversity of women in the industry.

WACL opened my eyes as to what true, altruistic female collaboration looks like. What happens when other women reach behind them to pull the rest of us up the career ladder with genuinely no gain for them. It’s inspired me in the way in which I relate to other colleagues, mentoring, and shown me what excellent leadership really looks like.

Bumble Davis – Taylor James

How big a grant could I receive?

If you are chosen as a future leader you can receive up to £3,000 towards the course of your choice. In most cases we fund 75% of the cost and ask that your employer funds the remainder. This is because we have learned something important along the way …that you are working out what is holding you back and having the courage to be open about your training needs with your employer and asking them to commit some money to support you, is what starts to catapult your leadership career.

And don’t worry if you are self-employed or between jobs or your employer is not in a position to contribute towards the cost, we will fund 100% of fees for up to 10 applicants.

If you are wondering if you are eligible, please do read our FAQ or get in touch with one of our team [email protected]

What’s in it for me?

This is time for you to make a step change, it is a real chance to invest in yourself and develop the skills you need for the future. And you get to choose where to focus your efforts – whether it’s presentation skills, coding, commercial acumen, strategic thinking, creativity or something entirely different. If you can identify what will make a difference to you, we’ll consider funding it.

If you an award, you’ll automatically become part of a networking group called FUTURES, which is made up of all the past winners. They hold engaging and upbeat quarterly events which are a great way of meeting like-minded people in the industry and really getting to know them.

The award looks great on your CV, your LinkedIn page and allows you to boast a little to your family!

But it’s really not just about the winning! Many of our past applicants have talked about how the application journey sparks your thinking about what you want to achieve and what you need to do to get there. This in itself has been transformational for their careers, giving them the motivation to go for a promotion, ask for more development or the courage to have conversations they previously might have avoided.

How do I apply?

Applications will open in September 2019, when you’ll be able to download the entry form (don’t worry, it’s relatively short and straightforward!) Once submitted, a panel of WACL judges will review all the applications and the shortlisted candidates will be invited for a chance to meet with a small supportive group of WACL-ers to present their story and desired course. The panel will then choose the award winners.

WACL Future Leaders Award opens for entries: 9th September 2019

Closing deadline for entries: Wednesday 23rd October 2019

Notification of shortlisting for interview: Early December 2019

Interviews take place: 20th, 21st & 23rd January 2020

Notification of award decision: February 2020

Winners’ celebration: March/April 2020

Download the application form here.

What are we looking for?

We’re looking for you! We passionately want to support as many emerging female leaders as we can. We are looking for authenticity, talent, a clear vision and the motivation to succeed in the industry. We want to hear the story of what sort of leader you are or would like to be, and how you inspire others. Think about what makes you different and how you could help us create a more gender equal future for the industry.

It’s a total cliché but it was genuinely life-changing. I would never have taken the leap without WACL’s funding and my boss’ support. So go for it! You’ve literally nothing to lose. Apply for an FLA. Think big about what you ask for and why. Whatever you do ask for, make sure it makes you stand out and it comes from the heart.

Gemma Moroney – Mischief

Who can apply?

Applicants must:

  • Identify as a woman
  • Be currently or most recently employed in the media, marketing and communications industry
  • Have at least 3 years industry experience
  • Be committed to developing a career within this industry
  • Have the application endorsed by the current employer if you are opting for the 75% grant
  • Have an application reference by your most recent employer if you are opting for the 100% grant

The Patricia Mann Award

Each year we make an award to one or more of the winners in honour of a long-standing and influential member of WACL, Patricia Mann OBE who died in 2006. She was truly a trailblazer for women in the industry. She was VP of JWT International & Head of External Affairs, one of the first female non-Execs sitting on the boards of The Woolwich, British Gas then Centrica and even Chaired the Parliamentary Debating Group. WACL’s values are inspired by the way Patricia led her life – always ready with advice and guidance, no matter how busy with a great sense of fun. Patricia opened the door for so many of us to follow through and we look for someone to recognise with this award that embodies some of her spirit, and can do for the women that follow, what she did for us.


If you have questions, take a look at our FAQs that we’ve put together and feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected]

Download the application form here.