Michele Fleming
Michele has more than 20 years’ experience as a senior Government Relations and Strategic Marketing Executive and Board Member with a strong focus on export strategies and high-level stakeholder engagement with Federal, State and Local Government.

Michele has been a Board member of Trade and Investment Queensland since October 2016 and is also an Associate Principal and Head of Government Relations at Populous in the Asia Pacific region, a global specialist architecture firm and the 2019 Australian Exporter of the Year. Michele served on the Board and management of the company for several years.

With the increasing importance of Services Industries to the Australian economy and their potential for export growth, Michele has valuable skills in developing and encouraging the export capabilities of Services firms.

Michele has provided executive advice to a number of business and government organisations developing business with Asia, including 9 years on the Queensland Executive of the Australia China Business Council. Michele completed the Federal Government’s Asialink Leaders Program in 2016.

She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

what boards and committees do you currently sit on?

I have been a Member of the Board of Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) since 2016, now in my second term. TIQ is the government’s global business agency, assisting exporters to break into emerging and established markets, and promoting Queensland as a place to do business.
I have also contributed to a number of peak bodies and Government organisations developing business and networks in Asia including nine years on the Australia China Business Council (Queensland Branch), and two years on the Queensland India Council.

When and why did you decide to pursue boards?

I wanted to use the experience I have learnt during my 20-year executive career in a different way; guiding an organisation, particularly in the area of export and investment, rather than being involved in day-to-day activities of a firm. My first step was to undertake some formal education. Graduating from a Company Directors course gave me the confidence to pursue Board opportunities.   

What challenges and hurdles have you had to overcome in pursuing board roles and/or serving on boards? 

I had to improve my understanding of company financials, a fundamental part of serving on a Board. A Directors course provided me the knowledge to understand the expectations, demands and requirements of Directors.
Articulating clearly to the appointment panel how I could add value to the Board helped secure my first Board success. I was unsuccessful on another Board application because while I was interested in the organisation I lacked experience in the core business of the firm.

Have you had mentors and/or sponsors and have they helped you? if so, how?

Everyone needs mentors. I will always be grateful to my first mentor, who encouraged me to do a Directors course and join Women on Boards.

How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?

I have found the webinars and workshops valuable in updating my knowledge and helping provide a framework of how I might go about consolidating and organising my search into the Boardroom in the future. I have also found networking events valuable in providing a forum to talk with likeminded women who are always so generous in sharing their tips and suggestions for moving forward.  

Any tips for women starting out their journey to the boardroom?

WOB once gave this good advice during a workshop. Once you start your journey into the Boardroom, keep a spreadsheet of all your contacts and the steps suggested to you. Sometimes the suggestions can seem small, but after a while a pattern emerges and it can be very useful in charting a way forward.