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Hires, Wins & Business

AWARD School Appoints Karen Ferry as NSW School Head

Karen joined Leo Burnett in 2016, as a senior copywriter. Her career spans 11 years, acquiring over 70 awards and accolades through her work

AWARD School Appoints Karen Ferry as NSW School Head

Karen Ferry, senior copywriter of Leo Burnett, has been appointed NSW AWARD school head alongside Brendan Willenberg, creative director of Clemenger BBDO. 

Karen joined Leo Burnett in 2016, as a senior copywriter. Her career spans 11 years, acquiring over 70 awards and accolades through her work with some of Sydney's leading agencies including The Monkeys, DDB and JWT. She identifies career highlights to include having her work shown at SXSW and published in industry textbooks, to judging on award juries and tutoring AWARD School. Karen also attended the inaugural AWARD Emerging Creative Directors course in 2016. 

Karen said: “For all the chat around the changing media landscape and future of advertising, one thing will always hold true and that's the power of a big idea.” 

Next year marks 35 years of AWARD School and she adds: “I’m super excited and honoured to be taking the charge alongside Brendan, and look forward to guiding tomorrow’s bright sparks into illuminating the future.”

Brendan Willenberg, current NSW school head states: “Karen’s skill as a creative leader and passion for mentoring make her an exciting addition for the school. It’s only been a few weeks since we wrapped up AWARD School 2017 and Karen is already throwing ideas at me on how to make 2018 bigger and better. There is a lot to look forward to.”

Karen succeeds Niccola Phillips, head of art, M&C Saatchi who has held the school head position since her appointment two years ago and prior to this served as an AWARD committee member. 

Niccola’s tenure was characterised by significant highlights including developing the inaugural AWARD School pop-up event at Semi-Permanent where emerging creatives worked on live briefs for socially responsible causes. Niccola also awarded four AWARD School scholarships along with the David Droga Prize while in post.

She attributes the students to be her greatest inspiration. Niccola says: “Their thinking is fresh, their outlook is positive, and the energy that they bring into the room each week is contagious. Be assured, I'll be following the careers of the next generation of creatives with a proud smile on my face.” 


AWARD chair and chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Australia, Mike Spirkovski welcomes Karen paying tribute to her prior success as a tutor for the program. 

“Karen has already proven her worth by helping tutor this year’s AWARD School National winner Tom Lawrence. I look forward to seeing Karen’s impact on next year’s curriculum.”

Mike added: “On behalf of AWARD I would like to thank Niccola Phillips, for her incredible dedication and support as head of AWARD School over the past 2+ years. She has set us up for future success.” 

Genre: People