Interview with General Manager Theo kok
Theo, you’ve had a great career already. Can you tell us more about your story?
“I have an atypical background for the profession that I do now. When I was younger, I went to school to become barge skipper. But I discovered that the shipping industry was not for me. After finishing my military service, I walked into an employment agency. Before I knew it, I was working as a dishwasher at Sodexo.
During my thirty years at this company, I worked my way up the ladder, eventually becoming Client Relationship Manager. I even finished a bachelor’s degree in Employment Law and joined the HR Transition team. Not long after Sodexo decided to restructure their organization. That is when I decided to leave.
For a little while I worked in the cleaning business. But I missed working with food. When I was offered to Join Program, I took the opportunity with both hands.”
Can you tell us a bit moe about your role at Join Program?
“As General Manager, I am responsible for the entire production process: from the moment our Food Curators schedule the dishes in our Food Program, until the moment our drivers deliver the dishes to our customers.
Food is one of my passions. Being able to work with people who share the same passion, is very satisfying.”
Have you always been a natural leader?
“I have always loved to bring (and keep) people together. This automatically translates into my leadership style. I am not the type of leader who will impose strict rules. As a manager I like working with my team members towards a common goal.”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
“Everybody is different. As a manager, you need to take this into account. It’s important to know how to address the different members in your team.”
What convinced you to Join Program?
“I have known Maurits Tofohr since my time at Sodexo. Back then he was also my manager. After I left the company, we kept in touch.
One day he asked me if I could help the General Manager at Vermaat’s Lab x Kitchen (today Join Program HQ).
I stand behind the philosophy of Join Program. Sustainability is very important to me. It’s also revolutionary that we’re working from a central production location. This way the quality of the food that we serve is always guaranteed.”
What would you recommend to someone who wants to start working in the catering industry?
“Do it! It’s an amazing industry to work in. Especially because you work with people who share the same passion with you: good food!”
Finally: what is your favorite dish?
“Roti! Not only because it’s delicious, but also because I love to make it myself.”