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Barbara Levy

Founder & President / London International Awards (LIA)

Remember the iconic Rosie the Riveter poster for Westinghouse Electric? Rosie, clad in a red bandana and overalls, determinedly declaring, “We Can Do It!” Barbara embodies that independent, visionary, can-do attitude that was echoed in 1942. (For the record: Barbara has never worn a bandana or overalls. Ever.)

Barbara firmly believes that there is a world out there full of opportunities, and has proven this by becoming the first woman to launch an international creative awards show. She started her career at Clio in New York in 1979, and in 1986 chose to cross the ocean to London and start the London International Awards (LIA). Thirty-nine years later, she is still the only woman founder of a global awards show, one of five top international advertising creative awards shows recognized by WARC Creative 100 Rankings – the global benchmark for creative excellence.

Like all visionaries, Barbara is a worrier. She worries about the future of the creative industry. Her jealousy of the creative spark makes her a strong advocate of young talent. In 2012, Barbara initiated and fully funded Creative LIAisons – a global training academy to inspire and nurture young emerging talent between the ages of 21 and 30. To date, more than 1,500 creative professionals have been turbo-charged through master classes, workshops, seminars, and personal interactions with top creative people from around the world because of this program. More recently, a global virtual mentoring program has been added, where mentees get personal access to three different coaches for one-on-one sessions.

Never one to be cagey, Barbara is also the first and only person to pull back the curtains to the awards judging rooms, allowing these young people to witness first-hand how creative giants review, judge, and award work. LIA is the first and only global awards festival to allow this.

Currently, Barbara still carries on a long-term affair with a Tiffany Lamp in the Macklowe Gallery in New York. Neither has yet to make a commitment.