Building the next generation of leaders


Sharmla Chetty is unapologetic about expressing her mission to build the next generation of leaders. She is the regional managing director in South Africa for Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE), an organisation with a global educator network of more than 1 000 people – from traditional academics and educators to anthropologists, actors, ballerinas and race car drivers.
Initially, it is difficult to grasp what he means when she describes Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE) as: “We’re a blend of both business and university, yet we are distinct from both.” But it becomes clearer as she delves deep into the organisation’s operations.

Chetty explains: “We create a courtroom experience during which students are presented with the issue ‘on trial’. Participants learn that it’s their role to be legal counsel in either charging or defending the case. They build an argument, which they later present before a judicial committee.”
Besides, Duke CE creates an authentic boardroom so that women, for instance, can understand what it is to operate in one. They learn to understand the nuances of boardroom speak as well as the unwritten rules of engagement.
“We have doctors and judges and experienced board members teaching our courses. The aim is to make the learning stick, to help people to retain the information we give them and to apply it at work.”
Established in South Africa in 2006, Duke CE also exposes participants to a real company boardroom experience, through its partnership with a headhunting firm.
Prior to joining Duke CE, Chetty was the head of human capital development at Nedbank where she had spent 20 years. She passion is to see women become economic drivers for Africa. “Not only are they responsible for households and a vast economic spend, which is not always recognised in the manner that it should be, but every day I see how they’re increasing their impact in business and leadership.”
Duke CE has been consistently rated among the best in corporate education. One of the best accolades is being ranked number one in the world in custom executive education by the London Financial Times in May for the 12th year in a row.

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