These courageous women didn’t just break into the advertising industry at a time when there were few people of color in the business, they started their own agencies.

They were courageous and successful.



As one of the most successful African-American women in advertising, Caroline Jones left an indelible mark on adland. In addition to being the first black woman creative director at J. Walter Thompson -- where she worked her way up from secretary and copywriter posts -- Ms. Jones held executive positions at BBDO and other general-market agencies. Later she launched and co-founded several well-respected specialty shops, including Caroline Jones Inc., where she was president at the time of her death at age 59 in 2001. Some of her biggest clients included McDonald's, American Express, Anheuser-Busch and Kentucky Fried Chicken, which took Ms. Jones' "We Do Chicken Right" campaign and adopted it as its general-market slogan. "Her importance in the industry was not fully understood," ad exec Ted Pettus old Ad Age near the time of Ms. Jones' death. "There are all too few role models for African-American men and women in this business, and Caroline was one of them." Jones spearheaded advertising that changed how Americans thought about some of the world's most popular brands.


Joel P. Martin was the president of J. P. Martin Associates. The concept of her agency was to introduce a product in the black communities of the major markets and let it spread to the general population, as many things both commercial and cultural have in the past. Going out on her own took a considerable amount of courage, since at the time she only had a few years of experience from McCaffrey & McCall, followed by a few years with Fulton & Partners, an industrial design firm, which followed a brief stay at I.B.M., where she did audio-visuals. In 1974 Martin moved to New York and literally got her first client by going door to door. That client was Ashanti Bazaar, an African boutique that since has become a specialist in fashions for large women. Before closing her agency to become a transformational speaker, her agency’s roster of clients included Clairol, Anheuser-Busch, Essence magazine, Carnation and others.




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. CHWA’s annual billings exceeded $100 million for more than a decade. Jones is a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, Class of 2017.



Barbara Juanita Gardner Proctor was an American advertising executive. After several years of working for advertising agencies, Proctor started her own business in 1970. Before long, Proctor and Gardner became the second-largest African-American advertising agency in the U.S., with clients that included Jewel Foods and Kraft. By 1983, the company had $12 million in billing. Proctor won a number of awards for her contributions to the fields of writing and advertising, including the Small Business of the Year Award (1978) and the Black Media Award for Outstanding Professional (1980).