Employee Spotlight: John Diakenga, Administrative Director at Midema (Kinshasa, DRC)

Employee Spotlight: John Diakenga, Administrative Director at DRC, Midema

What is your job title and location?

Administrative Director at DRC, MIDEMA, Kinshasa.

How long have you been employed with SOTG?

July 7, 1988.

What is your history/career path prior to SOTG?

  • Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
  • Complementary training: artistic photography (correspondence) and law degree (evening and correspondence).
  • I began my professional career in 1979, teaching labor legislation courses in the Kivu, one of the mining regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
  • From 1980 to 1988, I was head of Personnel at the “Société Minière et Industrielle du Kivu (SOMINKI), a Belgian company of the Baron Empain. Group was mining cassiterite, coltan, gold and other minerals in the Kivu region of the RDC.
  • I joined Midema in 1988.

What are your current responsibilities?

Before talking about my current responsibilities, I would like to briefly say something about my career at MIDEMA.

I began my career at Midema as an Administrative Manager in the Human Resources Department, in Kinshasa, then became Head of Personnel prior to moving to Matadi as the Deputy Site Director in April, 2001.

With the appointment of Mr. Werner Knectht as General Manager, in April, 2003 I took the interim until the arrival of Mr. Jacques Collet in October, 2004.

Between 2007 and 2008, I have in addition to my functions assumed the role of coordinator for the CCLD clinic.

In September, 2010, I was appointed Administrative Director of MIDEMA. So, I came back to Kinshasa.

My current responsibilities include the management of Human Resources and administration functions of Midema, local personnel and expatriates. I’m responsible for managing the process related to the relocation and stay of expatriate staff in DRC, which includes entry, work visas, work permits, etc.

What do you enjoy most about working for SOTG?

Opportunities to freely express opinions, even if they cannot necessarily be considered.

Opportunities to face ever-increasing challenges.

I enjoy teamwork and sharing experiences.

Less barrier with the hierarchy.

Working toward senior management objectives.

Stability and security of employment.

Cultural exchanges with colleagues of different nationalities.

My work allows me to use all my skills and learn more.

The good atmosphere with my colleagues and the trust and esteem I enjoy with my superiors.

The regular updating of the work tool (computer, production, etc.).

What’s your favorite memory about working for SOTG?

My favorite story was a few years ago when I was still Deputy Site Director in Matadi. During a visit from Mr. Steve Bresky and Mr. Dave Dannov, I was asked by the Managing Director (MD) at that time, to take the floor and welcome our visitors, in the cafeteria of the factory. I proposed to do it in French and have someone translate to English. “No, in English please” said the MD, insistently. While my English was still very basic, I had the courage to welcome our visitors in English at the factory cafeteria and after lunch at the residence of the Plant Manager. That’s when I decided to improve my English. Today, I can communicate in English much better than before, although my English is still not perfect.

What important values do you think SOTG delivers on?

Hard work.

Professional fulfillment.

The opportunities to grow.

The privilege of working in a group of international renown.

The company Seaboard culture, the organizational culture, which could be summed up in the operations, the identity, the unique spirit, the working methods, etc. of the company during my experience.

What surprised you most about the job or its location?

The professional and personal relationships that I have been able to create with the various administrations at the national level, in particular with the authorities of the country and the authorities of the Seaboard group.

How do you spend your free time? What do you like to do in the city where you live?

I go out very little and devote my free time to my home garden and reading books on Human Resources. Being a practicing believer, I go to church on Sundays.

What is your hidden talent? Or something most people don’t know about you?

My hidden talent is perhaps the culinary art that my entourage was unable to discover and that I myself was able to discover by the Cook in Matadi (Gaby). But, only in European cuisine, which is appetizers and sauces.