"On Tuesday Nov 24th, members very much enjoyed hearing from Aaron Fleming, currently DoC Operations Director for the Southern South Island.
After a promising gymnastics career was ended by a serious teenage illness, that required many months in hospital followed by years of recuperation and overcoming depression, Aaron went through several very difficult years, both physically and emotionally. As part of his recovery he set himself the objective of getting fit enough to complete an ‘Ironman,’ within twelve months, defying the doctors who had told him he would never be physically active again. He built his resilience by participation in Ironman races all over the world whilst raising awareness for cystic fibrosis. 
Aaron has completed 13 Ironman events with the objective of finishing, not of being the fastest in the field, and of completing one on each continent.  He was well on the way to achieving this before the interruption of COVID-19.
At the same time Aaron completed his education, has worked extensively in the public sector and three years ago was appointed to the position of DoC Operations Director for the Southern South Island.  This is a job with responsibility for several hundred staff and a sizeable chunk of New Zealand, including the sub-Antarctic Islands and the Ross Shelf. He genuinely lives his principles of caring for the environment and the wellbeing of people.
As a member of the LGBTQ community, he is also active in ‘Proud to Play’ which encourages diversity in sport.
Aaron's is an amazing and inspiring story and we are very lucky to have him as one of the speakers at our upcoming RYLA programme - he will be an inspiration and an example to those younger leaders.