IWF member profile

Sharmla Chetty

Sharmla Chetty

Board Member

Sharmla Chetty is a visionary driven by one purpose – transforming organizations and society through leadership. She is passionate about achieving sustainable outcomes in the areas of what she terms ‘professional justice’- diversity, equity, inclusion and women in leadership. Her areas of ongoing research include board leadership, the future of work, humanity and technology and people practices and processes.

In her current role, Sharmla oversees business operations and global markets at Duke Corporate Education (Duke CE) to ensure alignment with strategy for the company globally and for its regional practices in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. She also leads client relationship management, advisory work designed to maximize the impact of client learning and development efforts, and leadership solutions to build strategic capacity and capabilities for clients around the world. Sharmla brings extensive knowledge of each market and its industries, collaborating with leaders across the organization to achieve measurable results.
An expert in emerging markets, Sharmla provides global perspective to clients, with deep local experience in a range of industries including financial services, healthcare, mining, petroleum and FMCG from working in many regions including the USA, Europe, Africa, China and India. Enlisting her global team, she engages in every market to build resilient business disciplines and networks to drive change with leaders in industry, key political stakeholders, community leaders, academic institutions and consulting partners. She also focuses on developing business growth plans by studying economic trends and revenue opportunities and analyzing organization operations; identifying opportunities for improvement, optimization and systems enhancement.

Sharmla is a strategic advisor to board and c-suite leaders, coaching senior executives on how to grow their revenues and profits; implement effective strategies; shift culture, build accountability systems and elevate performance.
Sharmla founded the South Africa office for Duke CE in 2007 and grew it into the preeminent custom executive education provider on the continent. Prior to joining Duke CE, she was Head of Human Capital Development at Nedbank for over 19 years, where she focused on building the next-generation leadership pipeline. She is currently a board trustee for the AVI Group of black shares scheme, Chairperson of the BCG Development Trust and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. As part of an Aspen fellowship programme, she implemented the Women Leading Africa Board Programme building Pan-African bench strength for women serving on board positions for Africa.

Sharmla was a finalist for Business Woman of the Year Award in 2016 for Education and recipient of the 2016 Award for Entrepreneurial and Academic Excellence on the African Continent. With her deep commitment to build leadership for a better world , she led Duke CE in hosting The Davos of Human Capital event in 2020, convening global CEOs and CHROs and thousands of participants to discuss how leadership can be the force multipliers for positive change in business and society. In 2019, she also founded #MillionYoungMinds, a live stream with Sophia the Robot to one million South African youth on the topic of artificial intelligence and its impact on the future of South Africa. she is a founding member of a mentoring circle designed to mentor and coach South African youth.

Education section

  • Doctor Candidate Middlesex University
  • MBA from Henley Management Business School in the UK and a Masters in Management and Executive Coaching from Wits Business School.
  • Studied at Johannesburg University and holds a qualification in Human Resources Development.

Thought Leadership and News

News Story:

  • Sharmla Chetty of Duke Corporate Education Promoted to President of Global Markets
  • The Imperative for Human-Centered Leadership in South Africa
  • The Future Just Arrived, But Is South Africa Ready?
  • People Are at the Heart of Digitized HR
  • Overcoming Adversity as a Female Leader
  • How the MTN Group is Grappling with Uncertainty