Wunderman Thompson UK CEO, Pip Hulbert, has been named as one of Ad Age’s Leading Women for 2022.

This year is the first ever global Leading Women list, and includes inspiring women who are pioneering new technologies, driving brands forward or tapping into culture to target fresh audiences. Ad Age’s Leading Women are also striving to empower women and improve diversity, blazing a trail for others to follow.

Ad Age commented:

Pip Hulbert combines a zeal for new business with a focus on empowering her agency’s female employees.

Promoted to CEO following the merger of Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson in 2019, Hulbert has aced major pitches as the integrated agency played to the strength of its broad offer. In 2021, it won 14 new clients across brand, CRM and digital experience including Amazon, First Direct, Ikea, Pets at Home and Canon, while 62% of existing clients grew their relationships. Since then, Essity has appointed the agency to a global user experience and design brief focused on diversity and inclusivity.

“I love new business because I’m personally very inquisitive and I think it helps you grow as an individual as well as a business,” said Hulbert.

This year Hulbert also pioneered the launch of Wunderman Thompson’s women’s network, Rise, and Magpie, a mentoring app aimed at connecting women in the agency. She is hoping for Magpie to eventually be rolled out throughout the WPP network.

On being shortlisted for the list, Ad Age sat down with Pip to ask a few questions:

What advice would you give your younger self?

I’d tell myself that it’s good to jump in and give everything a go, even when I don’t think I’m “qualified”—at least in the context of work. When it comes to snowboarding, I’d say the exact opposite, and gently suggest to my younger self that taking on a black run as a complete beginner is not a good idea.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Leaving fantastic jobs on three different occasions to travel the world without a plan. On paper, it probably sounds like a bad move in terms of career progression, yet each time I arrived home feeling humbled but wiser—and energized by a new opportunity that presented itself along the way.

If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing and why?

I’ve always thought I’d like to be an art dealer. I’d get to spend time immersing myself in a world of amazing paintings and sculptures, and the work is still a mix of creative, new business and client relationships: my favorite things!

What should the industry do to encourage more diversity into its ranks?

It’s obvious to everyone at this stage that passively writing “we’re an equal opportunity employer” isn’t doing enough, so every organization must have a proactive strategy with defined targets and measurable outcomes, which is owned at a senior level. Of course, each business is different and elements of those strategies will vary, but I believe one essential pillar is supporting a culture of allyship, and this means ongoing education at every level.

What is the biggest lesson you have taken away from the pandemic?

While we can do a lot of our work, training, well-being support and even some socializing using virtual platforms, to truly learn and progress it’s vital to be with other people in real spaces. So much is learned from observing what’s going on around you, and this is just not possible when everyone is at home all the time. This doesn’t just apply to people who are at the beginning of their careers either—it’s really shown me how much we learn and develop from each other in totally unpredictable ways.

Congratulations Pip! See the rest of the honourees on Ad Age here.

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