Thought Leadership

2022 was an endurance challenge for Women in Marketing

With data showing that almost half of women in business feel burned out, the lesson from the Women in Marketing awards was one of endurance.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


It would be easy to write off 2022 as a year of missed opportunities. A lettuce outlasted a Prime Minister, the second Elizabethan age ended and a pandemic-induced mental health crisis jostled with the cost of living as individuals and businesses alike navigated a volatile and unpredictable market.

For women in the workplace, it became increasingly apparent that we are in the midst of the biggest role back in gender equality in living memory. Lean In and McKinsey pointed to the ‘great breakup’ as women assessed their relationships with their employees and voted with their feet. The great resignation was undoubtedly a great headline, but in 2022 women embraced the great reassessment.

According to Deloitte’s Women@Work research almost half (46%) of women in the workplace feel burned out. While 53% feel that their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago. It is an ecosystem where not only are emotions closer to the surface but elevating and celebrating the leaders making a difference is business critical. 

In many ways it was these challenges, the grief and grit which has been so collectively endured, which made this year’s Women in Marketing Awards so precious. As leaders from companies such as Pinterest and Dentsu Creative picked up awards, the judges and audience alike could not help but be moved and motivated in equal measure.

For Ade Onilude, the key theme for a year like no other is that of evolution. As she explained: "2022 marks the 18 year anniversary since the creation of the first Women in Marketing event. I chose Evolution as our global theme for 2022 to reflect the evolving landscape of marketing, evolution has been a thread professionally for WIM as an organisation and for me personally this year.”

I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world

Women in Marketing Award entry submission
WIM_Awards_2022_-157 WIM Global 2022 winners shot.JPG
WIM_Awards_2022_-173 Group shot 2.JPG

Meet the transition generation

The diverse range of winners not only provided a resounding ‘yes’ to that enduring question ‘is this industry for me?’ But they underlined that it is the ‘transition generation’; the leaders going above and beyond to change the narrative, to build brands and tell stories in new and innovative ways, who are having the biggest impact on brands, business and employees alike. 

At a time when women’s creative careers have been suffocated and subsumed by so many competing pressures, the award winners provided that much-needed fuel for running your own race. As one female creative director explained in her award entry ‘I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world’.

It’s an ethos that underlined so many of the award winners. In a world in which DEI is so often reduced to a panel presentation or a headline, the ethos of Women in Marketing 2022 was one of action. 

For Onilude, gratitude was also at the top of her personal and professional agenda, she said: “Thank you to the WIM Team, our 2022 awards host Debbie Ellison, the class of 2022 judges, our partners, and supporters. To the Global class of 2022 winners, commended and the shortlisted-we salute your game-changing work, to celebrate our 18 year anniversary we've released the WIM Global List 2022, this is part two of our 2020 ten-year award anniversary list, the 2022 Global list shines a light on past, present and future influencers from the world of marketing and beyond. The WIM Global Journey continues"

The power of opening doors

To mark International Women’s Day in March this year Creativebrief shared some of the best advice given by Women in Marketing Award winners past and present.  An exercise in underlining the power of deciding what you stand for and then standing for it all the time. As Claire Gillis, CEO International at WPP Health Practice explained: “Always open the door behind you, for those women coming next. For me, the key to building your career is pacing yourself and speaking up.”

At the end of a year in which a growing number of data points underline a workplace in a state of overwhelm, the enduring power of the Women in Marketing community is the courage and collaboration that comes when you rise by lifting others. 

Creativebrief is proud to be a media partner for the Global Women in Marketing Awards. Congratulations to the 2022 winners. Look out for the latest Women in Marketing Series interviews featuring the global class of 2022 winners and commended.

For the full list of winners please click here.

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