Sharmla Chetty hopes to be a role model and empathize in her new role as CEO of Duke Corporate Education


Activist and leader Sharmla Chetty hopes to “build on a legacy” as the new CEO of Duke Corporate Education.

Chetty took over from Michael Chavez on October 5 to become Duke CE’s fifth CEO in 21 years of existence.

“I am grateful to [Chavez] for his exemplary leadership and recognizing that he will continue to lead his work with his clients, delivering the consistent excellence and thought leadership he has brought to businesses around the world during 15 years at Duke CE, ”said Chetty in a Press release.

Chetty grew up in South Africa and has been an activist from a young age.

“I was kicked out at a very young age because I was an anti-apartheid activist,” Chetty said. “I was going to study law, but being expelled, I went to study at another university. In the end, I applied to enter the bank and they loved taking a candidate like me, it was different.

Chetty moved from her role as Head of Human Capital Development at Nedbank to Duke CE to achieve her aspirations to generate social impact and make a difference. She founded the Duke CE South Africa office in 2007.

Chetty previously served as President of Duke CE for Global Markets, North America, Europe & UK, Asia & Africa. She is currently a Director of the Board of Directors of the AVI Group Black Equity Program, Chair of the BCG Development Trust and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Chetty was the winner of the 2016 Entrepreneurial and Academic Excellence Award on the African Continent as well as the 2016 Businesswoman of the Year Award finalist for education. She is a founding member of #MillionYoungMinds, a movement that has disseminated Sophia the robot to more than 7,000 schools, reaching over a million young South Africans on the topic of artificial intelligence.

“Leadership is no longer about command and control, it’s about showing care and empathy, about being relevant at a time like this,” Chetty said. “Gone are the days when you could delegate and say this and that, [nowadays] you have to present yourself, you have to be a role model – people have to see you as a visible leader. “

Sharmla holds an MBA from Henley Management Business School and an MA in Management and Executive Coaching from Wits Business School. She also studied at the University of Johannesburg and graduated in Human Resource Development.

What is Duke Corporate Education?

Duke CE was established in 2000 and is associated with the Fuqua School of Business. It is a global provider of training for business leaders, operating in more than 80 different countries. Duke CE is also the primary partner of Dialogue, a journal for managers and leaders.

Duke CE’s head office is in Durham, with offices in London, Johannesburg and Singapore. Clients that Duke CE has worked with in the past include Jacobs, Standard Chartered Bank, MTN Group and AstraZeneca.

“We have the ability to co-create and transform organizations at a high level, using education [and] leadership as leverage to become a force multiplier, ”said Chetty. “Themes like… cybersecurity, diversity and inclusion are interwoven into a strategic leadership agenda, helping [our clients] to transform their business strategy.

From a Duke basketball experience at Cameron Indoor Stadium to agility simulation training with NASA astronauts, Duke CE offers programs that merge traditional classroom experiences of leadership and business experts with interactive experiences.

“One of the experiences we can bring is the Duke basketball experience where the leaders [of our client organization] will come to Cameron Indoor Stadium and work with a set of employees from Duke Athletics and the Duke basketball team to train them in a hands-on visceral basketball experience where they work on the job of team and collaborative skills, ”said Christine Robers, Marketing Director of Duke CE. “There would be moments of reflection where they would debrief what worked and what didn’t. How to deepen and build trust within the team? “


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