Leadership 2050: Andrew White and Audette Exel

‘Saving the world one investment banker at a time.’

In episode 3 of Leadership 2050, Andrew talks to Audette Exel, the founder and CEO of the pioneering Adara Group, one of the world’s first businesses for purpose. Audette Exel is not afraid to rip up the rulebook. In fact she’d positively encourage it. Because now is not the time for ‘business as usual’, and it is the rebels who are doing things differently.

When she left the world of activism to become a lawyer and then a corporate finance magnet, critics said she had sold out. But by connecting the world of finance with humanitarian development, she has shown a new way forward for the business world.

It has been said of Audette ‘she makes money to make change’.

25 years ago she set up the Adara Group, with a radical new model – a development foundation funded by a financial advisory business. To date, Adara businesses have donated nearly £10 million (AUD $18million) to Adara Development, which provides health and education support to remote communities in Nepal and Uganda. Donors have contributed a further £30 million (AUD $54million) to the projects.

Audette Exel with Sister Christine at the Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda
I believe the next ten years are going to be the most important in all of our lives, facing existential threats to humanity. And business knows that. Companies that are not purpose-led are not going to be in existence in any significant way within a decade.

Audette believes profoundly in the magnificence of human beings and that corporate philanthropy is the way of the future. 'I am a social justice business person' she says.

Leadership 2050 is a podcast exploring the leadership we need to successfully transition to 2050. Who are the innovators setting the agenda for a more equal and sustainable future? In each episode Andrew talks to a visionary leader from the business community who is confronting the challenges humanity faces and finding solutions.

Andrew's research and teaching focuses on how leaders transcend 21st century challenges such as disruptive technology change and the climate crisis. Also, how they create cultures that are diverse, inclusive, resilient and high performing, alongside the ongoing challenge of delivering profitable growth. At Oxford he directs the Oxford Advanced Management Leadership Programme and works with leaders from industry and governments across the world.