President, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Carol H. Williams Advertising

Carol H. Williams founded Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA) more than three decades ago after recognizing the need for advertising that speaks to the sophisticated and influential African-American and urban markets.  Started in 1986 in Carol’s living room, CHWA now has offices in Oakland, CA, Chicago, and New York City. A highly diverse and skilled staff produces award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies—including General Motors, The Walt Disney Company., Coors Brewing Co, US Army, General Mills, Kraft, Gilead Sciences, HP, Allstate Insurance, Procter & Gamble (My Black Is Beautiful; Pantene and CoverGirl), Marriott, Partnership For a Drug-Free America, and several others. More recently, CHWA’s work includes the 2020Census and Discover The Unexpected, a fellowship program by Chevrolet and the NNPA that connects brands to audiences completely through digital engagement by following young aspiring journalists-of-color.  CHWA’s annual billings exceeded $100 million for more than a decade.

Before establishing CHWA, Carol already had more than a decade of pioneering advertising work behind her. Top marketing executives recognized her creative spirit in college and competed to hire her. Carol started her career at Leo Burnett Company in Chicago and quickly earned a position as the first female and first African-American Creative Director and Vice President. After 13 years at Leo Burnett, she served two years as Senior Vice President, Creative Director at Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco.’

Early in her career, Williams created some of the most memorable advertising campaigns in history, including:

  • The timeless Secret Antiperspirant campaign “Strong Enough For a Man, But Made For A Woman”
  • The highly successful Pillsbury frosting campaign, “Paper Knife”
  • The entertaining Pillsbury campaign, “Say Hello to Poppin Fresh Dough”

Now as the leader of her own team of marketing experts at CHWA, Williams continues to develop captivating advertising for dozens of clients by asking the question “Whose eyes are you looking through when you view the world?™ Successful campaigns include:

  • The highly successful “Pass Those Cookies” campaign for Lactaid
  • The Effie award-winning “Our Stand” TV ad for Allstate Insurance Company
  • The captivating “Poetry In Motion” campaign for General Motors
  • The groundbreaking “Imagination” for The Walt Disney Company
  • The No. 1 general consumer-rated TV ad for 2007, “Signs”, for The Walt Disney Company

Carol has received numerous professional honors and community awards during her career, including becoming the first African-American female creative director to be inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s’ Advertising Hall of Fame and Recipient of the David Bell Award for Industry Service. Passionate about community service, she has used her talent and resources to help dozens of philanthropic endeavors, including the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, U.S. Dream Academy, National Newspaper Publishers Association and numerous local community organizations. A native of Chicago, Carol has a daughter, Carol Hood, a creative director, author and writing graduate fellow of the University of London.

Read Carol H. Williams’s Matrix 2020 profile here.


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