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Female Creative Leaders 2017 - Meet the 150 women redefining the creative industries

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 we asked 15 incredible female leaders in design, advertising, illustration, tech, film, fashion, arts, social enterprise and more to nominate the 10 women that they believe will redefine the creative space over the coming years - all with the aim of inspiring the next generation of female creative leaders.
Discover, connect and be inspired by these amazing women, listed below.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre & Founder of Women of the World Festival (WOW)

“I like being able to make younger women feel they've got an ally – women should support other women."
Jude Kelly’s 10 inspiring women:
Sughra Ahmed, Senior Programmes Manager at the Woolf Institute in the Centre for Policy and Public Education
Liz Carr, British actress, stand-up comedian, broadcaster and international disability rights activist
Elif Shafak, Turkish author, columnist, speaker and academic
Genevieve Say , Performer, Choreographer, Artist
Gemma Cairney, BBC Radio 1 presenter & Author
Phyllida Lloyd, Film Director
Rachel Long, Poet, Facilitator, Curator
Emma Rice, Artistic Director of Shakepeare’s Globe Theatre
Xiaolu Guo, Chinese-British novelist and filmmaker
Debris Stevenson, Grime-poet
Zareen Roy-Macauley, 18 year old poet from IDOG
June Eric-Udorie - 18 year old writer
Laura Jordan-Bambach, co-founder of She Says, President D&AD and Chief Creative Officer of Mr President


“In moments of self doubt, hang on to the knowledge that you’re not there by accident, have confidence in your ideas and speak up.”
Laura Jordan-Bambach’s 10 inspiring women:
Jade Tomlin, Creative Group Head at Hugo & Cat
Casey Bird, Freelance Creative Copywriter & SheSays President
Fabiana Xavier, Creative. Art Director. Stand-up Comedian.
Florence Poppy Deary + Ruby Norman-Curran, Art Director and Copywriter team
Thea Hamren, Creative Director at Mr. President
Nathalie Gordon, Creative. Influencer. Cultural purveyor.
Danielle Pender, Founder and Editor of Riposte Magazine - a smart magazine for women.

“Work out what success means to you and follow your own goals. Don’t be swayed by how other people define success, it’s not one size fits all. Don’t look at the competition. Just do what you do and make it amazing. Don’t try and be something you’re not to follow a trend.”
Danielle Pender’s 10 inspiring women:
Ronan Mckenzie, Photographer
Liv Little, Founder of gal-dem
Vicky Grout, Photographer
Jade Jackman, Journalist & Filmmaker
Domino Pateman, Senior Programmer Southbank Centre for WOW
Kai Lutterodt, Creative Director at Diversity Matters
Francesca Allen, Photographer
Nelly Ben Hayoun, The Manufacturer of the Impossible
Charlie Craggs, Trans activist-Nail Transphobia
Amanda Nevill CBE, Chief Executive of the British Film Institute (BFI)


“Just remember, life isn't a rehearsal. Love every day to its full, and if you don't, change tomorrow.”
Amanda Nevill CBE's, 10 inspiring women:
Rungano Nyoni, Writer & Director
Claire Oakley, Writer & Director
Nelly Ben Hayoun, Manufacturer of the Impossible
Lynette Wallworth, Artist & Director
Hope Dickson Leach, Writer & Director
Alice Lowe, Actress
Faye Ward, Creative Director & Producer
Tuppence Middleton, Actress
Matimba Kabalika, Talent Development Manager BFI
Bola Agbaje, Playwright
Polly Nor, Illustrator


“Dedicate time to your passion. Keep creating and putting yourself out there. Even if it doesn’t take off right away keep at it and you will keep on learning and evolving.”
Polly Nor’s 10 inspiring women:
Nina Chanel Abney, Artist
Juno Calypso, Artist
Celeste Mountjoy, Illustrator
Monica Kim Garza, Artist
Claudia Maté, Digital Artist
Tschabalala Self, Artist
Sasha Katz, GIF Artist
Sara Andreasson, Illustrator and Designer
Zahra Swanzy, Curator, Speaker, Creative Collaborator
Liv Little, Founder of gal-dem - an online and print magazine run by women of colour, for everyone.


“Be bold, be brave and surround yourself with other exceptional women. Not only will you be able to shout louder with each other's support, but you'll need each other when things get tough!”
Liv Little’s 10 inspiring women:
Jade Jackman, Journalist and filmmaker
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Opinions Editor at gal-dem
Yara Shahidi, Actress and activist
Sage Adams, Cofounder of Arthoe Collective and activist
Mahaneela Choudhury-Reid, Photographer, Writer & Communications Manager
Emma Dabiri, Social Historian, Writer and Broadcaster
Vicky Grout, Photographer
Princess Nokia, Musician
Emma Blake Morsi, Founding Editor-in-Chief at Nocturnal
Jamie Klingler, Head of Publishing Operations at ShortList Media


“We are in the middle of a huge regression in terms of our rights and having our voices heard. My best piece of advice would be to persist, and continue to persist. It won’t be easy in the current climate, but it is worth the struggle.”
Jamie Klingler’s 10 inspiring women:
Chloe MacIntosh, formerly of Made.com & Creative Advisor Soho House & Co
Camilla Elphick, Shoe Designer
Natasha Tomalin-Hall, Art Director
Yaa Gyasi, Author, Homegoing
Elizabeth Haigh nee Allen, Chef
Hanya Yanagihara, Author A Little Life
Terri White, Editor
Lizzie McQuade, Milliner
Marjane Satrapi, Comic Artist & Author of Persepolis
Quiara Alegria Hudes, Playwright and Pulitzer Prize Winner
Marina Willer, first female Partner at Pentagram Design London

"Stay curious and connected to the real world. The virtual world can make us indifferent to any real beauty, real pain and real experiences, but design has to work for human beings"
Marina Willer’s inspiring women:
Nelly Ben Hayoun, The Manufacturer of the Impossible (3rd nod for Nelly!)
Kate Moross, Director & Designer
Pauline Saglio, Interaction Designer
Tea Uglo, Creative Director of Google's Creative Lab
Astrid Stavro, Founding Partner Atlas
Liza Enebeis, Creative Director at Studio Dumbar
Beatie Wolfe, Anglo-American singer songwriter.
Brilliant (GQ) // Captivating (Wired) // Mesmerising (MOJO) // Extraordinary (Forbes)


“I love the Bavarian saying my father always quoted... that is “The eye of the farmer fattens the pig" which means that if it's your baby, your pig, even the act of overseeing will ensure it's growth. No one can watch your pig like you!”
Beatie Wolfe's 10 inspiring women:
  • Emily Gobeille, Co-Founder of Design I/O
  • Ina Fried, Journalist, Axios
  • Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings
  • Janet Billig Rich, Manage This Media
  • Sammy Payne, Co-Founder of Open Bionics
  • Sarah Rose, Director of Consumer Insight at Channel 4
  • Jessica Rosenkrantz, co-founder Nervous System
  • Julia Kaganskiy, Director, NEW INC at New Museum
  • Nadia Ricketts, Founder BeatWoven
Camille Walala, Print • Design • Interiors
“Perseverance! That’s what my dad said to me … I did, didn’t give up until I got happy with what i was doing professionally!”
Camille Walala’s inspiring women:
Claire Madiot, Florist
  • Sabine Zetteler, Creative publicity
  • Bettina McILwraith, Ethical fashion stylist
  • Julia Jomaa, Creative Director
  • Alice Mayor, Founder We Built This City
  • Juliette Ihler Meyer, Journalist
  • Sarah Ihler Meyer, Art Critic
  • Aine Donovan, Founder of They Made This
  • Annie Nicholson, Artist
  • Marie Rouvière, Vegan food pioneer
  • Tracy Yelza, Entrepreneur
Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation & Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility, Viacom International Media Network

“To be a successful leader is to be bold, assertive and fearless. Powerful stereotypes often serve to tame young female leaders to submission from an early age but being “bossy”, contrary to what you may have been told as a child, is a good thing – you need to be bossy to be a boss."


Georgia Arnold’s 10 inspiring women:
Mmabatho Montsho, Filmmaker & Actor
Celeste Mountjoy, Illustrator (2nd nod for Celeste)
Liv Little, Founder of gal-dem
Gemma Styles, Blogger
Luisa Omielan, British comedian
Ray BLK, British singer and songwriter
Stephanie Sandows, Actress
Emma Gannon, blogger, author and podcast host (2nd nod for Emma)
Maggie Rogers, Musician
Julie Adenuga, Radio Presenter for Beats 1, Apple's 24/7 radio station
Nishma Robb, Head of Ads Marketing at Google and Chair of Women@Google UK

"Get comfortable with saying “Yes, I'll give it a go!” when given a task, even if you don’t feel comfortable. Try to stretch yourself and learn what your passions and capabilities are. Keep an open mind. Push your own boundaries. You will be much more effective down the road if you truly understand yourself."
Nishma Robb's 10 inspiring women:
Sophia Tassew, Art Director
Mobbie Nasir, Chief Strategy Officer, We Are Social
Lilian Sor, Head of Planning, Grey
Emily Harlock, Head of Planning, AMVBBDO
Charlotte Morton, Head of Creative Agencies, Google
Hana Tanimura, Senior Designer, Google Creative Lab London
Stacey Stollery, Head of People & Culture, Livity UK
Kate Killick, MojiWorks
Karen Boswell, Head of Innovation, adamandeveDDB
Ruth Hogben, Film Director
Alice Black, Co-Director, Design Museum

“Don’t self-censor: a reason why women don’t progress up the ladder is that they self-censor and don’t put themselves forward as men always do. Create a network and invest in the relationships that you have. Work hard – as Warren Buffett said ‘the harder I work, the luckier I get. Ask for help when you need it, there is not prize for struggling on your own. The right advice or help at the right time can be life changing.”
Alice Black’s 10 inspiring women:
Morag Myerscough, Designer
Patrizia Urquiola, Designer
Maria Balshaw, Tate Director elect
Roksanda Illincic, Fashion Designer
Amanda Levete, Architect
Anya Hindmarch, Fashion Designer
Harriet Anstruther, Interior Designer
Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries
Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director Royal Court theatre
Paula Nickolds, newly appointed MD of John Lewis
Otegha Uwagba, Founder of Women Who a London-based platform for creative working women

“Don't wait for other people to give you permission to live the life or create the career you want, otherwise you'll be waiting around forever.”
Otegha Uwagba's inspiring women:
Kelly Anna - multidisciplinary Print designer & Illustrator
Lynette Nylander - deputy editor of i-D magazine
Jo Fuertes-Knight - Filmmaker, Presenter and Writer
Ruby Wight - Graphic Designer and Art Director
Kate Hamilton - Editor-in-Chief SUITCASE magazine
Emma Gannon - Blogger, Author and Podcast Host
Cecile Emeke - Black-British filmmaker, writer and artist
Amaal Said - photographer and poet
Pip Jamieson, Founder of The Dots

'You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with most. Surround yourself with positive people, avoid the drains!'
Pip Jamieson’s inspiring women:
L.A. Ronayne , CD at Havas London, contributing editor of Riposte magazine and D&AD trustee.
Stephanie McClaren-Neckles, Co-founder at Let’s Be Brief
Nadya Powell, Founder, Innovation Disorder
Julie Seal, Creative Strategist at Facebook
Emma Sexton, Founder Flock and Make Your Words Work
Cindy Gallop, General legend and activist
Saskia Roddick, Co-Founder The Quarter Club
Gemma Greaves, Chief Executive of The Marketing Society and founder of Cabal, a private club
Melanie Eusebe, Executive Producer of WOW, Chair of Black British Business Awards and Board Member Creative Industries Federation.
Kadish Morris, Publisher of g-irl.com
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Project Team

Laura Jordan-Bambach

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  • Creative Partner
  • Creative Partner, D&AD, Shesays

Danielle Pender

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Liv Little

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  • Editor in Chief at @galdemzine
  • Lion TV, Freelance, gal-dem

Alice Black

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  • Co-Director
  • Design Commission, The Design Museum

Jamie Klingler

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  • Head of Publishing Operations
  • Shortlist Media Ltd

Jude Kelly OBE

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Beatie Wolfe

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  • Singer-Songwriter & Innovator
  • Beatie Wolfe

Polly Nor

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  • Artist
  • POLLY NOR

Amanda Nevill CBE

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  • CEO
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Georgia Arnold

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  • Executive Director, Staying Alive Foundation, Viacom
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Otegha Uwagba

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  • Founder of Women Who
  • 4th Estate Books, Women Who, Freelance

Camille Walala

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  • GRAPHIC ARTIST || DESIGNER || ART DIRECTION
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Nishma Robb

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  • Marketing at Google and Chair of Women@Google UK.
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Marina Willer

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Annie Ly

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  • Marketing and Partnerships at The Dots
  • The Dots, InterMedia China

Robyn Siân Cusworth

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  • Content, Writing & Arts
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Sophie Howe

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  • Marketing, Partnerships & Event Production
  • The Dots

Bethany Lloyd

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  • Creative Marketing & Partnerships
  • The Dots, Art Educator / Tutor

Leanne Hammill

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  • Head of Marketing and Partnerships
  • The Dots

Project Tags

  • IWD
  • international women's day
  • Inspiration
  • female icons
  • female
  • motivational quotes

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