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The industry as a whole may still be struggling to achieve gender equality, but that doesn’t mean we’re short of heroes to emulate and point the way forward for us. So read on to meet some of the women that have most impressed and galvanised us in the last 12 months.
Charlotte’s work has won awards at D&AD, Cannes Lions and Creative Circle, and she was recently shortlisted in The Drum’s Creative Woman of The Year Awards. And outside her day job, she’s the co-founder of
Through her workshop, Own Your Story, Olivia coaches audiences in a methodology for crafting a clear, concise and compelling personal brand story. She recently published her first book, Ask Olivia: An Entrepreneur’s Advice For Entrepreneurial Life. Elsewhere, Olivia also works as a freelance sports reporter. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), ESPN and ESPN Radio, and NBC Sports California.
After being born into homelessness in South Korea and driven by the hardships endured during her formative years, Jolene Delisle is inspired to work with values-driven organisations and clients she can positively impact. She co-founded her branding and creative agency
Since then, she’s been committed to working with female founders, empowering minority entrepreneurs and activating local endeavours. Current clients include unicorn startups like Zola and Klarna, cultural institutions like NYC Tourism and NYC Pride, as well as established brands like Evian and MassMutual. Since the agency’s inception, the company has tripled revenue every year.
An Italian independent typeface and graphic designer, Alessia Mazzarella is a specialist in type design and font engineering. She has previously worked as a senior type designer at Fontsmith, as a senior font developer at The Northern Block and has developed original typefaces for URW Asterisk and Google Fonts.
She holds an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading and degrees in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins and Graphic & Media Design from the Sapienza University of Rome. Today, she’s behind the studio and foundry
A senior member of the design team at independent London design studio
She especially loves to give a voice to the smallest details and is a big advocate for side projects. When Rose isn’t in the studio, she can be found
Last summer, Brooklyn native Nicole Cousins graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and is now working as an associate designer at
Originally from Canada, Hilary Archer is a brand designer, graphic design lecturer, and founder of the creative collective Twenty Assembly. Working predominately in brand design, Hilary has worked with brands and studios of all sizes and now runs the creative collective
Hilary also lectures graphic design at Shillington in London. She loves being kept on her toes through teaching and helping to build creativity, confidence, and value in the creative community worldwide.
Shelley Smoler is Executive Creative Director at
Before Droga5, Shelley and her creative partner Raph were creative directors at Bartle Bogle Hegarty London, working with Audi, Google, Heineken, KFC, Mentos and The Guardian. They were also part of the team that created a campaign for The Zimbabwean newspaper, which received over 50 awards, including a D&AD Black Pencil, a Cannes Lions Grand Prix and two Grand Clios. The award-winning project is now part of the permanent collections of the British Museum and the Design Museum.
Shelley has been a frequent fixture on the global circuit of advertising awards shows, both as a recipient and a jury member, where she enjoys taking a break from her gentle demeanour by fighting loudly for good. She offers insight-led ideas in a South African accent that has been surprisingly resilient in the face of almost ten years in London.
Annette K. Dennis
She’s got a ton of experience in a broad range of industries thanks to her adventures in the UK and United States for over a decade, being part of the team at various small and large agencies around the world. Today, she’s based in Melbourne where she heads up the independent publishing imprint
Annette K. Dennis
Laura Jordan Bambach
For over 20 years, Laura Jordan Bambach has enhanced the advertising industry through her fresh and pioneering spirit. She is recognised globally as an innovator and industry leader, described by The Guardian as “a digital female icon”. And less than a year after joining London creative agency
Before joining Grey in 2020, Laura co-founded the creative agency Mr President in 2014 and acted as its Chief Creative Officer. During this time, she was honoured as one of the Fifty Most Inspiring Women in Tech by Inspiring Fifty and was named the most influential digital influencers in the UK on The Drum’s Digerati list. Under her stewardship, Mr President was named Agency of the Year by The Drum and International Small Agency of the Year by AdAge.
Laura is a former president of D&AD who has been twice named one of Britain’s most influential people within the Debrett’s 500 Annual List and recognised as Individual of the Year at the DADI Awards. She was also honoured in Campaign UK Female Frontier Awards for Championing Change. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of the digitally connected world, she was presented with an honorary doctorate for her services to graphic design from Norwich University of the Arts in 2015 and the University of South Wales Alumni Award for Arts and Culture in 2018.
Laura is a true champion for diversity and co-founder of
Laura lectures around the world and has written a creative curriculum for the RCA, UNSW Art and Design and Westminster University. Her passions extend to exploring areas of identity and gender, and she is also a trained taxidermist!
Laura Jordan Bambach
“I love that design is an integral part of life that takes many forms. For me, great design is clever and succinctly communicates a narrative/story. Seeing something well designed, be it graphic design, fashion or architecture genuinely fills me with joy,” she adds.
On the side, Marssaié also teaches graphic design at Shillington where she says she enjoys sharing her experience and insights with the students, who – in return – “inspire her with their fresh perspective and limitless ideas”.
A graduate of the School of Visual Arts,
Describing herself as a multi-disciplinary creative,
Looking through her impressive portfolio, it’s clear Missy Dempsey loves all things bright, bold and colourful, whether she’s illustration personalities for Madri Gras, designing concepts for social impact campaigns, or creating collages for her next exhibition. Her mission is to bring joy to the world through every medium. This creative passion is carried through to her side project,
We especially loved her part in the project for
Taiwanese-born designer Olivia Chen began her career in advertising, working in New York City and helping to create campaigns for huge clients, including NYU Shanghai, American Express and Rolling Stone. She then moved to Hong Kong and worked in boutique branding firms such as Tommy Li Design Workshop and Substance. Later, she found herself in Melbourne and worked for Yoke and BrandWorks while building up her own studio
Today, Oliva is based in Sydney and focuses all her time on her own studio, making good use of both interior and branding skills that she has learned along the way. With a network of talented people with various cultural backgrounds and skillsets, Olivia and her team create strong visual identities and multi-sensory branding experiences. She also loves to give back to the creative community by teaching graphic design at Shillington.