Jessica Goodfellow
Aug 18, 2020

Women to Watch 2020: Exceptional female talent from the APAC marcomms industry

Presenting the 40 outstanding women across marketing, media, technology and communications in Asia-Pacific who are the Women to Watch class of 2020.

Women to Watch 2020: Exceptional female talent from the APAC marcomms industry

Last month, we wrote a feature that explored why Covid-19 is an opportunity to 'fast-track' diversity, not an excuse to slow it down. Based on conversations with former Women to Watch winners, the feature discussed how businesses are being presented with a chance to reflect on what matters most and evolve work practices to be inclusive and flexible. While a survey of Campaign Asia-Pacific readers revealed concerns about a slowdown in progress on gender diversity, several of the women interviewed in the piece reported that diversity initiatives have been ramped up this year as businesses use the pandemic as a catalyst to build a workplace that is fit for the future.

While it was heartening to learn that important initiatives to support women were not falling by the wayside amid troubling economic times, to be honest, we were not expecting to receive as many nominations to Women to Watch this year as we did in 2019. Budgets are being squeezed across the industry, and many businessess have frozen award entries for the rest of the year (although Women to Watch is not a typical award programme).

We are delighted to reveal that 2020 has been one of our biggest years yet for paid submissions to Women to Watch, which is now in its eighth year. It has been inspiring to see the volume of companies and individuals that have taken the time to nominate exceptional women during this time—proof that gender initiatives remain a priority for the industry even in the most adverse circumstances.

It means Women to Watch was a very competitive list this year, making for some exceptionally difficult decisions for the senior editorial members of Campaign Asia-Pacific's judging team. All the entries went through several rounds of judging and analysis to ensure the women who have been selected are the most deserving of this commendation. If your entry didn't make it to the list, please don't be disheartened. There will be plenty more opportunities for you get involved in Campaign's lists or editorial coverage, as we double-down on our coverage of diversity and inclusion.

Read about previous Women to Watch:
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2012

We have been particularly inspired by the diversity of entries this year across both industries and geographies. We have representation from Singapore to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong to the Philippines, India to Indonesia, Japan to Korea, Vietnam to China, Australia and New Zealand. We've also had a greater mix of industries this year, covering holding companies and independent agencies, publishers, adtech vendors, brands, events companies, producers, consultancies and more. Many of the women featured in the list have not always been in the marcomms industry, which often works in their favour. From contemporary dance to international trade to journalism, these unique beginnings bring a diversity of thought to their current roles. Others have been with the same company from the outset, proving that company loyalty exists in the modern world and can lead to fast progressions. Several women also run other ventures alongside their day jobs, such as a probiotic brand and a yoga and meditation business. In many ways, this year's list is our most heterogeneous yet.

This is our eighth edition of Women to Watch, and when we started the list in 2012, we may have hoped that it would no longer be necessary by 2020. But the founding principles that inspired the creation of Women to Watch back then remain relevant today. Significant gender inequality still exists within the industry that we write about every day—and some regions in Asia remain particularly problematic for women. In fact, Campaign and Kantar's annual Diversity Study found that equality had actually deteriorated between 2017 to 2018. Read more about this here. So while there is inequality, there is still a need to spotlight the inspiring stories of women who have overcome biases, smashed glass ceilings and lifted not only their own but other women's careers too.

With that in mind, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who dedicated so much time and attention to nominating themselves and their colleagues, plus those who provided endorsements. We know it is not an easy task but your diligence allows us to shine a light on those worthy of commendation. We hope Women to Watch can continue to be a motivator for female rising stars in the industry, and a resource of the incredible female talent this region has to offer. Once again, an enormous congratulations to this year's group of Women to Watch. 

The 2020 Women to Watch are (in alphabetical order by given name):

Aakanksha Patel

Oliver Agency

Abigail Crosby

Merkle DWA

Anita Hsieh

BBDO China

Anna Gunnell

VMLY&R Wellington
New Zealand

Caroline Campbell Troman

Brave Bison

Caroline Hsu

The Hoffman Agency
Hong Kong
Celia Karl

Danielle Jin

Danni Wright

Devi Attamimi

Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living ASEAN, Indonesia

Ekta Thomas

Zeno Group

Elman Lee

The Dairy Farm Group
Hong Kong
Enita Budiyanti
Dentsu MainAd

Erin Tsuchiya
Eunice Tan
The Secret Little Agency

Florencia Eka
The Trade Desk

Holly Millward

CSM Sport and Entertainment
Hong Kong

HS Chung

Hill+Knowlton Strategies Asia
Imogen Hewitt
Spark Foundry
Jayomi Lokuliyana
Sri Lanka
Joanne Wong
Kara R. Santiago
Spark It! Marketing Communications
The Philippines
Karrie Lam
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong
Khin Mu Yar Soe
Laura Quigley
Integral Ad Science (IAS)
Le Tran Do Quynh
The Purpose Group
Maggie Cheung
DDB Group
Hong Kong
Min Sharon Liu
Clearwater Communications
Hong Kong
Nicky Wang
WE Red Bridge
Priyanka Bajaj
Priyanka Borah
Dentsu Webchutney
Renee Hyde
CHE Proximity
Sanne Drogtrop
Sarah Emmanuel-Cheong
Shayne Madamba
Havas Media Ortega
The Philippines
Sunshine Farzan
Tricor Group
Hong Kong
Sze Hunn Yap
Japan Airlines
BWS, Woolworths Group
Vasuta Agarwal
Ziena Jalil
New Zealand


Campaign Asia

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