Equal Opportunities Commission


Racial D&I Conversation with Adrian Warr (Edelman) (5 November 2021)

A Conversation with Adrian Warr

CEO, Southeast Asia, Edelman

Racial Diversity And Inclusion

To watch the full interview, please visit our Facebook Page.


Adrian Warr is a communications consultant who has gained experience in corporate, crisis, branding, marcomms, employee engagement, public affairs and digital marketing while working with some of the greatest consulting firms in the world. He is the CEO of Edelman Southeast Asia.

In this conversation, Adrian emphasises the impact that businesses may have on social transformation. He says, “We are looking at businesses to fill gaps that governments are unable to fill. For that, we are seeing businesses as much more of a lever for societal change.” He adds that “people want to work for a company that makes them proud” which means companies in turn have to be proud of what they do and their businesses have to represent their values. Businesses also have to be inclusive, diverse and fair. “That demand is coming loud and clear from employees who in this day and age are more empowered,” according to him.

When it comes to policy at Edelman, Adrian shared that through partnering with various NGOs, listening to employees, engaging leadership, and training, they are able to build inclusive principles into the culture of the company. “It’s often about knowledge and training”, he says, which can encourage people to create a more inclusive environment.

Adrian also gives some valuable advice on how business leaders can inspire their shareholders and supply chains to embrace racial diversity and inclusion. This includes switching the language from negative to positive when promoting equality and presenting human stories rather than statistics to create a human connection.

He mentions some of the practices and policies at Edelman that work towards promoting racial equality based on a value system including:

  1. Courage to do the right thing
  2. Freedom to be constantly curious
  3. Relentless pursuit of excellence
  4. Commitment to positively impact society

He brings up an important point that “many businesses are still governed by metrics around shareholder value and that is the system we have created. We do not need to blame the businesses but rather, change those structures. We should now learn to measure our business by how it can contribute to societal issues. Many leaders who are involved in driving equality are doing it because it’s the right thing to do and not necessarily because there is a business benefit".