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03 Apr 2024

Under the skin of Danie de Kock

An 'Under the Skin' interview with our Chief People Officer Danie de Kock.

Danie, tell us about yourself and who you share your life with.
Well, I’m Danie de Kock, happily married to Carelyn and proud father to Daniel who is 11 and Ane who is 8. I am a proud South African but after 6 years in Abu Dhabi, we now call the wonderful city of Perth, Australia home.
Tell us about your early years and how they shaped who you are today.
I was born and raised in the bushveld of South Africa in a very traditional South African family. My father was a minister in church, and my mother was a teacher. I have three younger siblings and we were raised with strong moral and family values, coupled with a bit of mischief and a lot of laughter. We were taught to explore and experience the world, which made for exhausting family holidays, exploring new places. It certainly sparked my passion for travel and my fascination and respect for people with different cultures and backgrounds. I’m delighted that this is now a huge part of my working life.
My dedication to care and compassion for others was also established early in life. My youngest brother has special needs with a condition named Angleman syndrome. He cannot care for himself, cannot walk and cannot speak, so as a family we took care of him and physically carried him wherever we went. Our own needs always came second which significantly shaped who I am today. I believe putting the needs of others first ultimately benefits both parties, as it builds a relationship firmly rooted in unconditional trust, without expecting something in return.
What about your education and first steps into your career?
I’m addicted to learning. From a young age, I loved studying and before I knew it, I’d completed two bachelor’s degrees, an honours degree and two master’s degrees. I enjoy reading and listening to audio books.
I joined Kentz in 2008 and it’s the best move I could’ve made. The impact of the people I’ve met throughout the last 15 years with Kent is profound. Like many of our colleagues, I started on a project site. This was a small E&I project on the Mozambican border as a junior HR officer. 4am starts, working in safety gear in uncomfortable temperatures around remote parts of the world, and dealing with the realities of working in the middle of nowhere with limited resources, gives me a deep appreciation of our employees working out on our project sites today. This certainly gave me a solid foundation to build my career in this industry. With support and opportunity, I was able to advance my career with Kent. I am living proof that commitment, loyalty, and a strong drive to do better every day will be rewarded in a company like Kent.
What would we find you doing outside of work?
I am a proud family man and truly enjoy spending as much time as I can with my lovely wife and kids. I also enjoy cycling, traveling, and spending time outdoors, so days on the beach and camping off the grid are both examples of time well spent for me. I enjoy listening to a wide range of music and will forever be an aspiring (although not very good) musician. I recharge by riding my motorcycle or crafting away in my small workshop at home where I practice a bit of carpentry.
What would you say are the ultimate values that define you?
My upbringing left me with a strong moral compass, which is probably why I chose a career in service of people. I believe that even though we all look at the world through a different lens, there is always a clear indication between right and wrong. Mutual trust, respect and common decency are non-negotiables. My personal goals are well aligned with the company core beliefs where ambition, mutual respect and a strong drive to do what is right, not only for today, but also for future generations, remain our north star. Future generations will feel the impact of the choices we all make now – for better or worse. We have the responsibility and power to make the world a better place and this isn’t something I take lightly.
I hope that people would describe me as warm and friendly. I enjoy complex challenges and the sense of achievement we all get from successfully completing large projects. I don’t sweat the small stuff and make a habit of steering clear of company politics. I like to dream big and then find ways to get there. I get energised by positive people who I can have a laugh and a joke with.
I think it’s important to dedicate yourself to being the best you can be, both in and out of work. We have many competing priorities in our lives that all need our care and attention so it’s important to find the balance. I talk a lot about the importance of kindness; We all fight our own battles and we don’t always know what is really going on in our friends, family members or colleagues’ lives. Care for and support those around you, as we will all need care and support.
What do you want to achieve during your time as CPO at Kent?
I believe that we all ultimately want to leave a legacy. Individually, we can all make our mark. As a collective at Kent, we have a much larger platform to have an even bigger impact. I ultimately want each of our people to feel Kent is a place that provides a stable bridge between their personal purpose and ambitions and the company’s purpose. If we all feel that we belong in Kent, where we feel safe, respected and valued, we’ll have the strength to do great things.
Is there anything else you’d like to share as you take on this pivotal role in Kent?

I am truly honoured to have been selected as CPO for Kent. It is a role that comes with great responsibility, and it will undoubtedly challenge me in ways that I have not had to deal with before. I am, however, extremely excited as I believe my journey through all the years with Kent has prepared me to take on the challenges and see the opportunities presented in this role. Long days working on project sites in remote places, being involved with (and surviving through!) four different mergers / acquisitions, and working with extremely talented peers and leaders, has given me lots of perspective for whatever is to come. The People team we have at Kent are the best there is and I am proud of each and every one of them. Onwards and upwards!
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