Meet Di Fleming AM, Ducere’s Chair, Foundation Executive Director and Head of University Engagement for Ducere Global Business School.
“Education has always been central to my life,” Di Fleming shared. Di is Ducere’s Chair, Head of University Engagement and Executive Director of the Foundation.
From an educator to philanthropist, businesswoman, Di Fleming’s impact in Australia, Africa and across the globe is immeasurable. Her experience outside of Ducere includes her principalship of Kilvington Girls Grammar School, Director of the Victorian Government's Centre of Excellence in Digital Design, Founder and CEO of Accelerated Knowledge Technologies, Founder and CEO of Digital Harbour, Founding President of the Australia Africa Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Australia Africa Advisory Group to the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and appointment as Honorary Consul for Mauritius in Victoria, Australia.
Di is the first educator in Australia to be awarded Telstra Business Woman of the Year which she said was, “a breakthrough in delivering the critical need for school students, especially girls to have access to industry standard technologies, to build robots, to access AI and explore the potential of programmable logic control systems.” Additionally, she was awarded Member (AM) for the Order of Australia Honour for significant service to Australia-Africa relations, and to education.
December 2021 will mark a decade at Ducere for Di. “I became part of Ducere because of CEO Mat Jacobson, who in his conviction and passion for Ducere, tapped into my extensive experience across Africa, integrating diplomatic connections, social enterprise and business development. He convinced me to walk with him into the unknown.”
Di believes strongly in Ducere’s fundamental philanthro-capital approach, the centrality of applied industry projects within the MBA programs and the unwavering passion and commitment of staff.
Her work with the Ducere Foundation has achieved the distribution of over 750,000 copies of African Children’s Story books across Africa, the publication of 60 collections of African Children’s Stories which included 1000 student authors from 24 African countries. Di has worked from Botswana to Ethiopia, Mauritius to Senegal, Madagascar to Namibia encouraging children to unlock their imaginations, share their lives and to preserve their oral tradition by capturing the stories their elders were told when they were little.
For Di, “investing four months of each year for almost a decade, pan-Africa capturing stories written by African children, for African children to share across the globe has been a privilege, with many challenges and an outcome where the intelligence and passion of African children has been central”. It was Mat who believed that Ducere could and should deliver culturally authentic stories and it was Di who made the vision into reality.
Di has always believed that life and work are integrated where enjoyment of the sunrise be it Africa or Prague, walking along the shore with her granddaughters, playing the piano and laughing with her lifelong friends and being grateful for online technologies.
Di’s mantra is consistent, “that soft power can move mountains, innovation comes from the collision of the unfamiliar and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is paramount.”