Carol H. Williams

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

Carol H. Williams founded Carol H. Williams Advertising (CHWA) 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 Williams' living room, CHWA now has offices in Oakland, Calif., and Chicago, and a satellite office in New York.  A highly diverse and skilled staff produces award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies—including General Motors, The US Census, the U.S. Army, US Bank, ComEd, Union Bank, The Walt Disney Company, General Mills, Kraft, Gilead Sciences, HP, Nationwide Insurance, Procter & Gamble, AARP, Covered California, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Marriott and countless others. CHWA’s annual billings exceeded $100 million for more than a decade.

Before establishing CHWA,Williams 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. Williams 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 Anti-Perspirant 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 in recent years 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

Williams has received numerous professional honors and community awards during her career. She also is 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, the NAACP, U.S. Dream Academy, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and several local community organizations in Oakland and Chicago. A native of Chicago,Williams has a daughter, Carol Hood, Senior Writer, Style and Content Editor for Carol H. Williams Advertising and novelist; a son, Tipkins Hood, Jr. and two grandchildren, Tipkins and Shelby.

Member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, Class of 2017


Last Updated: December 2016