“Switching to a ‘male-dominated’ sector was intimidating, but I quickly noticed it was the right choice.”
- Name: Joke Deknock
- Age: 45
- Studies: Purchasing Policy and Management (Association for Purchasing and Logistics Berchem)
- Function: Senior Project Buyer
- Hobbies: Running her own webshop for women’s fashion, body products and interior decoration, cooking, gardening, going on city trips
The 45-year-old Joke Deknock works as a Senior Project Buyer at Omexom, where she is responsible for various tasks within the purchasing process. Her main responsibilities include drafting purchasing policies, making purchasing schedules, placing orders, monitoring delivery deadlines and resolving issues. She also coaches other team members and is a member of the Women in Technology and Supply Marketing working groups.
How has your journey within VINCI Energies evolved, and what are your expectations for its future development?
Joke: I have been working at the company for 15 years now. As a result, I have experienced many changes and fulfilled different roles. For example, I started at Actemium as an administrative assistant to support the project manager. However, the group felt that I had the potential to contribute to the purchasing department, so I was soon given the opportunity to follow evening courses and to grow as a buyer. I then attended an evening school for two years while at the same time working full-time and raising two teenagers. The opportunity to learn and grow every day is what motivated me. The diversity of my tasks keeps me sharp and makes my job interesting. I also love finding solutions to complex problems. I always want to share my knowledge with others, and that’s why I have taken on the role of coaching fellow employees, which is much appreciated. In the future, I aim to become a Sourcing Manager one day.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned during your career?
Joke: Do not let opportunities pass you by. My career started in a totally different environment, in a notarial office with only female colleagues. I did not like the working atmosphere there. Switching to a male-dominated sector was intimidating at first, but I quickly noticed it was the right choice. I was immediately respected and included in all aspects of the job. However, as the only female buyer within the group and with vendors, it was not always easy at first to be heard, but I always remained prepared and assertive. My determination and honesty strengthened my respect and position. What I also love about working with men is that the communication goes very smoothly. Moreover, my colleagues really show when they are happy with my work, such as when they receive the right equipment on time. After 15 years, I am still glad I said ‘yes’ to this great career.
What is the main reason that you have been happily working at VINCI Energies for 15 years?
Joke: VINCI Energies offers a unique work environment with numerous growth opportunities through various training courses and the necessary guidance. With a large and diverse team, there is always room for new challenges. If you ever find yourself feeling unchallenged in your current role, you have the opportunity to try something different at the same trusted employer. You also get the chance to roll out new initiatives yourself. For example, a year ago I successfully set up an internal webshop that allows home delivery, which has piqued the interest of other colleagues. Moreover, my feminine touch is also appreciated. For example, I get to organize team building activities and family days within the Omexom group, and I really enjoy taking care of every detail, from decoration to catering. This has not only strengthened teamwork but also allowed me to develop more personal connections with my colleagues. Last year I was also contacted to co-found a working group for Women in Technology to develop comfortable workwear for female employees. In short, at VINCI Energies Belgium you get plenty of opportunities and I would recommend this job to anyone.