Celeste Warren: Leading Global Diversity and Inclusion

From being named one of the National Diversity Council’s “Most Powerful and Influential Women of Pennsylvania,” to being honored with awards such as the Black Achievers in Industry Award, Celeste Warren has enough accolades to fill her own trophy case.

As the Vice President of Human Resources and Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence at Merck, Warren oversees a global diversity and inclusion strategy that covers the people, processes, and policies at Merck regarding diversity and inclusion, so the first thing Warren does each day is check her all-too-full calendar to make sure the company is on track with that plan.

“It’s not just a matter of making sure that the company is in line with current regulations regarding diversity and inclusion,” Warren says. “We don’t want to just follow the letter of the law, we want to embrace the spirit of the law and be one of the leaders in the area of diversity and inclusion.”

Along with making sure the home base is on the right path, Warren is also responsible for working with Merck’s global leaders to integrate diversity & inclusion with business performance to create a competitive advantage. She would like to help to move Merck to a transformative state where diversity and inclusion are global in nature and is transforming the environment, culture and business landscape. 

“Diversity and inclusion need to be a part of all that a company does if it wants to be truly successful,” says Warren.

For example, Warren explained that Merck works to embed diversity from the drug discovery process all the way through to the commercialization of the product by leveraging its diverse workforce.

“It’s not just a question of language, but of cultural and socio-economic sensitivity, too,” says Warren. “Having a diverse workforce helps you better understand the needs of the diverse patients in the communities you serve.”