Valerie Pinto | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2020

Valerie Pinto


Weber Shandwick India


“Don’t look at innovation only through the lens of technology or data.”

One of the youngest CEOs in India’s PR industry, Valerie Pinto well knows there’s no monopoly on the likes of knowledge and prosperity, in turn shaping her career around the goal of empowering others, from colleagues to community, to pursue education and opportunity. That MO is behind Pinto’s widespread accomplishments, fueling Weber Shandwick India’s consecutive years of double-digital growth and 90% client retention, while also supporting movements like the fight against gender bias. A founding member of the Global Network for Women in PR, Pinto is a big believer in the using the power of storytelling to spur social change — and has done so in her public as well as professional life. In 2019, Pinto teamed up with director Vibha Bakshi in producing “Son Rise,” a film that focuses on ordinary Indian men standing up against women’s inequality. A similar partnership with Bakshi in 2015 reaped “Daughters of Mother India,” an awarded film and awareness campaign aimed at transforming public policy around rape and sexual abuse in India.

How do you define innovation?  
Innovation is an original solution to a real problem.

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
Stay home stay safe, a campaign by the Gates Foundation on Covid-19 where they leveraged data to understand nuances of densely populated places to address communication challenges on social distancing.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing? 
Adidas, Fitbit, Visa, Disney Marvel, Omidyar Network.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.' 
Turning a film into a movement. When a film maker brought a film for publicity, we decided to change it into a movement to address the issue of gender bias. The film went on to become the training film for sensitizing the police on gender violence and had a second part which brought men into the conversation on diversity.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?  
Nike; innovation in communication and addressing pertinent issues through their communication efforts are always inspiring.

How do you get out of a creativity rut? 
Travel, meet interesting people who are doing different things with their lives, speak to children.

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation? 
Open minds bring in new fresh thinking. Don’t look at innovation only through the lens of technology or data.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job? 
Running a travel or food company.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Matthew McConaughey Podcast

What's your favourite time of day and why? 
Early morning. The mind is the freshest!