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The way forward is together with colleagues, clients and entrepreneurs

Judith Cok - Director of the Cooperative Rabobank District Zuid-Holland

Found it: a gap in Judith Cok's full schedule. After more than 30 years at Rabobank, people know where to find her. We spoke to Judith about her mission and personal conviction that 'working together will get you further'. Her desire for innovation and about her journey: from a desk job to being Director of the Cooperative Rabobank District Zuid-Holland. "Dare to do what you want to do."

“I always look for the place I can learn the most,” Judith says enthusiastically. She has been Director of the Cooperative Rabobank District Zuid-Holland since April 2021. When this position crossed her path, she seized the opportunity with both hands. “I always want to innovate. That is how I ended up here. I believe in continuous improvement. That is part of my mission: to make the world a bit better. Together, with colleagues, with members, with customers and with entrepreneurs in the region. As far as I’m concerned, that goes hand-in-hand.”

In the beginnings

“My very first job at Rabobank was behind the counter in Werkendam. I came straight from secondary school and really started there. In those days, you arranged everything at the counter. For example, people came with their piggy banks to deposit money. I met many customers there; I learned something new every day. Why did I choose to work at Rabobank? I had always found economics interesting and I saw many opportunities in such a large organisation. I thought: I can build my career here. Judith laughs – in the meantime, she has moved on to more than fourteen positions: “Yes, I have lived through the entire organisation! I like the different sides of the company.”

Judith Cok in conversation

To work for the same organisation for so long, the attraction must be strong. ” In the past, it seemed really dull to me: celebrating working somewhere for 25 years. But thanks to the many opportunities you get here, I have never found working for Rabobank boring. During my work and in the evenings, I always kept on learning and studying. Rabobank supported that. I also really like the bank’s cooperative mission. I really enjoy working together and achieving things with others.”

The way forward is together

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“In my current position for example, I am responsible for the subject energy transition in my region. This is exactly the kind of subject that cannot be tackled in isolation. For instance, we help entrepreneurs put solar panels on their roofs. That is beneficial for the entrepreneurs and contributes to the energy transition in general. You have to bring people together to get real results. Listen to each other. I think that’s the way forward. Certainly for a complex topic like energy transition, that is essential.”

Judith draws inspiration from Father van den Elsen, one of the founders of the boerenleenbank, the predecessor of the Rabobank. He said: ‘A loner is a drowner’. “I believe in the power of strengthening each other. I always try to connect people. Colleagues, clients, networks. For me, that is an attitude: being actively open to the ideas and wisdom of others. I often ask for advice. Two heads are better than one. And the best part is: this way you always meet new people and discover new things.”

Judith Cok in conversation

Dare to do what you want

After several years at the bank, Judith made a radical choice. While she had the chance to become Director Private Clients, she chose to switch to Rabobank International. “I was going to do a traineeship in a totally different part of the bank. Nothing was the same, except for the Rabobank logo on the letterhead. That was an exciting decision.”

People called me a fool. It was then that I knew: this is the right choice.
Judith Cok

“By making this switch, I deliberately missed out on the opportunity to become Director for private clients. People thought I was crazy. Then I knew: this is the right choice. I like to do things differently. At the time, the traineeship suited my passion, qualities and ambition. I wanted to become Director for corporate clients. At the time, there were almost no women in that position, so it seemed like a good objective. And it worked! That was some time ago, but I still see such opportunities for development in this organisation. But you must seize these opportunities yourself. You have to want to improve and renew yourself all the time!”