Posted on January 06 2016
This week's Wednesday Woman is multi-talented Ade Onilude, founder of Women in Marketing and organiser of the Women in Marketing (WIM) events which she started in 2004 and WIM awards which kicked off in 2010. At the core of all the different roles she takes on, is a deep-seated mission to recognise and celebrate women from different sectors including marketing, business, film, music and tech. Here's Ade's story:
Newnham: Can you tell us about your background? What were you like as a kid?
Onilude: Born and raised in London, with Nigerian heritage, I would describe us as Afropolitans with a global mindset. My father was the strict one ~ he was all about education, education, and mum, the creative one, was all about learning about other cultures, alternative thinking, fashion and music, and these set the seed for my influences.
As a child I loved TV, film and fashion; I grew up with Breakfast At Tiffany's, cartoons, iconic legends such as Elizabeth Taylor and Muhammad Ali. Music was also big in our household as both my parents loved music from Fela, Beatles to Motown which fueled my interest in the creative world and learning about different cultures. I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I just knew it would be creative and working with creative people.
Newnham: What do you now?
Onilude: I've had a multifaceted career in fashion, regeneration, local community projects, but primarily I've been working in the luxury retail sector. Outside of this, my main focus and passion is Women in Marketing. I'm also deeply honoured to have been elected Vice President of Marketing for The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) based in Washington DC which will be my main focus going forward.
Newnham: How did you come up with the idea for WIM and what was your mission with it?
Onilude: I created Women in Marketing when I became an active member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) London region. After taking my exams, I wanted to expand my passion for marketing and I felt that the events at the time were very male orientated. I wanted to do things differently so I went against the rules and created a event that would celebrate women and their contributions.
WIM was also created in homage to my late mother ~ the rule breaker element relates to her, it's always been very personalised from the beginning.The essence of WIM was to educate, inspire, network, and have fun; there had to be a element of glamour so the venues had to be right too. Events are held in March to coincide with International Women's Day.
I'm grateful for the support I've had from CIM Greater London Board and Marketing Zone for supporting my vision via the annual events and awards.
Newnham: WIM is now in its eleventh year, and you now also host WIM awards ~ why is it important to celebrate women in the industry?
Onilude: I held the first Women in Marketing event in 2004, and I created the awards in 2010 so WIM has grown very organically.
I was inspired by the amazing women who had presented at, and the women that had attended, the WIM events, and I felt we should celebrate and recognize their contributions. The aim of the awards was also to promote, recognise and celebrate women’s achievements in senior leadership roles, who are making a difference in a profession that touches the public in millions of ways every day. Personally, I think it's important to recognise the contribution women make in the industry and it's been interesting seeing developments in the industry since its creation.
But I don't celebrate these women alone. I have to give huge thanks to the support from senior women and men in the advertising and marketing sector for supporting, judging and sponsoring the awards over the years as it would not have flourished without them ~ these include Gail Gallie, former CEO Fallon UK, Sarah Speake, CMO Clear Channel, The Marketing Academy, and also WIM award hosts Daryl Fielding and Rita Clifton.
Nenwham: What plans do you have moving forward for WIM?
Onilude: Women in Marketing took a rest in 2015, so I was primarily active on Twitter which has been a great platform, helping me to grow and connect globally with other women's networks, industry influencers and thought leaders, and in developing my interests in other sectors such as technology, fashion, film and philanthropy.
In 2016, when WIM returns, diversity will be its main theme, carrying on from my contribution to Advertising Week Europe in 2015. The essence of what we will be doing is to educate, connect, collaborate and celebrate, and this will be reflected in new-style events and revised awards where I will be working with Nikki Cochrane, Co-Founder Digital Mums and Emma Sexton, Co-Founder of Flock Global to reflect the influence of women and entrepreneurialism. WIM will also be supporting Horizon Women and Women Returners, with more collaborations to be announced in the future.
I'm also very excited to be asked to be European Producer for a global project "She Rises" which will tell the stories of women in marketing, advertising, media, film, music and gaming - again, more to be revealed later this year!
Finally, there will be synergies/collaborations re WIM and my role as VP Marketing at TIAW re global gender initiatives.
Newnham: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give a younger Ade?Onilude: Life is a journey-there will be ups and downs. Don't sweat the small stuff!