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#OpenUpTheWorkforce With Celeste Warren, Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence at Merck

Written by Nasim Ranjbari on March 28, 2024
3 min read

Presented by Symba, #OpenUpTheWorkforce interviews feature executives advancing inclusion, diversity, and equity for the future of work. In these short audio-only episodes, host Ahva Sadeghi speaks with top leaders about what it takes to develop and implement inclusive processes. 

In this episode of #OpenUpTheWorkforce, We're joined by Celeste Warren, VP of Merck's Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence, for a conversation on building inclusive workplaces. Clocking in 25 years at Merck, Celeste looks back on a remarkable journey that began in HR as a business partner for sales and marketing. Her illustrious career has seen her evolve through diverse roles across the organization, from research to global support functions. Celeste's career at Merck exemplifies her dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Throughout her roles, she's consistently championed an inclusive workplace culture. Her approach ensures every task, strategy, and initiative considers how it benefits everyone equally. Join us as we explore Celeste's insights on leading DE&I initiatives and shaping talent acquisition strategies for Merck's evolving workforce. Listen here:

About Celeste Warren

Celeste Warren is Vice President, Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence.  As the leader for Merck’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence, she is responsible for working with Merck’s global leaders to advance and embed diversity and inclusion throughout the organization to enhance the employee experience and maximize business performance.

Ms. Warren joined Merck in 1997 and has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility within the organization.

She has been recognized for her work in diversity, equity and inclusion including:

  • Black Enterprise’s “Top Executives in Global Diversity and Inclusion”
  • Savoy Magazine’s “Most Influential Women in Corporate America”
  • Diversity Global Magazine’s “Influential Women in Global Diversity”  
  • Diversity Woman Magazine’s: “Elite100” List

She serves on the boards of RWJBarnabas Health Systems and Paradigm for Parity.  She is also a member of CNBC’s Workforce Executive Council and World 50’s Inclusion and Diversity Impact Community.  

Celeste is a published author and her articles on diversity, equity and inclusion have been featured in numerous national and global publications and she has had the opportunity to speak at various events across the world.

Celeste attended the University of Kentucky where she earned her B.S. degree. She received her master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.  

She is the wife of John Warren and the mother of two children, Christina-Celeste and John Steven, Jr. 

Merck's Boilerplate

Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, operates with a steadfast dedication to its mission: employing cutting-edge science to safeguard and enhance lives worldwide. With a rich legacy spanning over a century, Merck has consistently offered rays of hope to humanity through groundbreaking medicines and vaccines. Aspiring to lead the biopharmaceutical domain in research intensity, Merck continuously pioneers innovative health solutions to combat diseases in both human and animal realms. Embracing diversity and inclusivity, Merck nurtures a global workforce committed to responsible operations, thereby contributing to a safer, sustainable, and healthier future for all individuals and communities.

How to Open Up the Workforce

To open up the workforce effectively, we must adopt a proactive and inclusive approach. This entails expanding our recruitment efforts to encompass a broad spectrum of sources and events, including career fairs tailored to diverse communities. Moreover, Celeste underscores the importance of building strong relationships across different networks and leveraging employee business resource groups to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds and identities. She advocates for a mindset shift, urging us to not only think outside the box but to actively engage with individuals of varied identities to explore innovative recruitment strategies. By fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included, we can create a culture that not only attracts diverse talent but also retains it, ensuring a fulfilling experience for all members of our workforce.

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Nasim Ranjbari

Nasim Ranjbari is the Design and Marketing Coordinator at Symba, where she brings her passion for design and marketing to the forefront. With a degree in Digital Marketing from Arizona State University, Nasim is dedicated to driving innovative marketing strategies and creative design solutions.

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