Derek Fleming

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Director of Business Development
Marcus Samuelsson Group
New York City
Age: 39

In 2009, Derek Fleming helped his friend, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, to launch the Marcus Samuelsson Group, a hospitality management and food media company. As the company’s director of business development, he negotiated new restaurant operations, most notably the Red Rooster Harlem, where Fleming is an equity partner. Today, he is focused on developing and implementing new revenue-generating strategies around corporate partnerships, product development and real estate transactions.

Born and raised in California, Fleming launched his real estate development career in San Francisco as a project manager for the Redevelopment Agency, a role he describes as a good fit for his “passion for community development and interest in being a change agent.” There, he helped to lead the development of the Mission Bay redevelopment housing and retail project. He moved to New York to become a fund manager at the New York Empowerment Zone, taking on the management of a $60 million public lending portfolio. He structured finance packages that facilitated the creation of new jobs and the revitalization of Harlem. He subsequently worked for private equity firm Cherokee Investment Partners in Raleigh, N.C., as an acquisitions associate before assuming his current role.

Fleming holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from U.C. Berkeley and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He sits on the board for the Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem and is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. “I believe that children are our greatest resources and that if we channel positive energy to children, then our community going forward will be that much better off.” If he could advise the younger version of himself, he would say: manage your relationships. “I grew to realize the importance of nurturing and edifying relationships throughout my career.”

Fun Facts
Favorite comedian: Richard Pryor
Favorite charity: Doctors Without Borders
Countries visited: Greece, Botswana, Cuba