Carol H. Williams’ legacy has forged a path for a multi-cultural narrative in a space that was once a gated community that excluded Black and Brown voices. Yet, despite the overwhelming task in creating racial equity in the advertising space, Williams has continuously modeled unflinching thought leadership, which has cultivated some of the most legendary campaigns ever created in the ad world.
“Powerful narratives are the shaping force in our lives and thereby creates empathy and motivates action at their most profound level.  Narratives that ignite and nurture passions within us, envision new possibilities, develop confidence, and inspire us to overcome any obstacles that we face in making what was once unimaginable, imaginable.”
Carol H. Williams
Williams founded Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA) more than two decades ago after recognizing the need for advertising that speaks to the sophisticated and influential African American and urban markets. Started in 1986 in William’s living room, CHWA now has offices in Oakland, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, and a satellite office in New York. Her highly diverse and skilled staff produces award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies—including General Motors (Cadillac), General Mills, Kraft, Gilead Sciences, HP, Nationwide Insurance, Procter & Gamble, the U.S. Army, The Walt Disney Company, Marriott and several others. And one of the many products of the agency’s success is annual billings that have exceeded $100 million for more than a decade.
Before establishing CHWA, Williams already had over a decade of experience pioneering advertising work. Top marketing executives recognized her creative spirit in college and competed to hire her. As a Chicago native, Williams started her career at Leo Burnett in downtown 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.
Williams has received numerous professional honors and community awards during her career. She is also passionate about community service and has used her talent and resources to help dozens of philanthropic endeavors, including the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, U.S. Dream Academy, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and several local community organizations in Oakland and Chicago.
As the first African American woman to do so, Williams will accept Ad Age’s Vanguard Award during their Women to Watch awards ceremony, which will be held virtually on September 15, 2020. The entire conference runs from 10:00 AM EST to 4:00 PM EST. Williams will be conducting a fireside chat at approximately 1:30 PM EST, where she will talk about her experiences in the ad business and provide her unique perspective on how women’s roles have evolved over the years. Click here for more information.
Carol H. Williams Advertising is a full-service integrated agency specializing in print, broadcast, radio, and digital branding. Their unique insights have helped many Fortune 500 companies craft award-winning multi-cultural campaigns. Founded over 20 years ago, CHWA has grown to be the largest, independent, and female-owned, African American communications agency in the U.S. Carol H. Williams Advertising is also the longest-running independent multi-cultural marketing shop in the country.
To learn more about the Carol H. Williams Advertising Agency visit: | |
Phone: 510-763-5200


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