25 From 25: women who have shaped the digital industry (part 2)

To mark the 25th anniversary of the first banner ad and the birth of digital marketing as we know it today, The Drum has partnered with Futures Network, Innovate Her and WACL for a special project. Together, we’re honouring 25 women who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry in that time.

The 25 from 25 were chosen by a panel of industry luminaries after our readers were invited to nominate the people they felt were most worthy of recognition. You can read more about the selection process, and our jury, here.

We’re profiling each of the 25 honourees in a series of articles running on thedrum.com each day this week. If you missed part 1, catch up now.

Once we’ve revealed the full list, we’ll be asking you to help us decide which of our 25 from 25 deserves an extra special achievement award at next month’s Dadi Awards ceremony.

But more on that later. For now, let’s meet five more women who have shaped the digital industry…

Emma Scott

Emma Scott started her career as a political researcher before turning her hand to television and entertainment. At Freeview she led the team that launched the UK’s first, free digital television platform before going on to help the BBC launch its first on-demand service. She was then chief executive officer of Freesat prior to making the move to Beano.

As chief executive officer of Beano Studios, Scott was tasked with bringing the brand into the 21st century which she has achieved by launching Beano.com, the first online iteration of the heritage comic, and overseeing the digitisation of its much-loved characters.

Tamara Littleton

Tamara Littleton is the founder and chief executive officer of The Social Element, formerly called Emoderation – a consultancy-led media agency that provides social media solutions to some of the world’s biggest brands. Littleton founded the company in 2002 just before the rise of social media and she has gone on to build it into an operation of over 300 people, using a predominantly remote-working model.

Littleton is also the co-founder of Polpeo, a social media crisis simulation company. She is passionate about child safety online and is a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety which advises the UK government on the moderation of communities to safeguard children online. She is also a champion of diversity, the LGBTQ+ community and female entrepreneurs.

Karen Boswell

Throughout her career, Karen Boswell has worked across the marketing spectrum in every sector to help world-class brands and organisations evolve. Prior to her current role of chief experience officer, EMEA at VMLY&R, Boswell spent four years at Adam&EveDDB, where she was head of innovation. She is also the former global client lead and creative strategist at AKQA. She has since gone on to found THEI.A Cognition, which is building a cutting-edge neural network that runs in real-time to provide an interactive and personalised immersive experience.

Boswell was previously the winner of the IPA’s 2016 Women of Tomorrow awards in technology and innovation, was named as one Google’s top 10 female creatives to watch for in both 2017 and 2018. She was also Cannes Lions juror in the same years.

Nicole Yershon​​

When Nicole Yershon joined Ogilvy and Mather, she was given the simple brief of bringing the storied agency into the 21st century. She achieved this by building relationships with third party suppliers and embracing new technologies that saw Ogilvy digitise some 10,000 tapes of adverts dating back to the 1950s. Yershon later went on to be the founding partner of Ogilvy’s London Digital Innovation Lab – the dedicated Innovation unit of Ogilvy & Mather Group where she worked with brands such as Amex, IBM, BP, Crimestoppers, Selfridges, Unilever, BA and Wetherspoons.

In 2016 she founded NY Collective with a mind to remove the traditionally opaque practices of consulting and marketing agencies.

Gill Whitehead

After starting her career at the prestigious Bank of England as an economist, Gill Whitehead joined the BBC Worldwide executive committee at just 28. At the BBC she held several senior positions including head of strategy. After three years with the corporation, Whitehead went on to be director of audience technologies and insight at Channel 4, where she oversaw the launch of the broadcaster’s first ever digital platform, 4OD (now All4). Under her leadership the platform gained over 10 million users in just two years.

Whitehead moved on to Google, where she held the post of senior director of client solutions and analytics. As The Drum revealed in August, she is leaving he company to study for a Masters at Oxford’s Internet Institute.

The next five inductees in the 25 from 25 will be revealed tomorrow. Find out more about the Dadi Awards on the official website.


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