#10QuestionswithMaxwell Interview Series: Daniel Kok, ICC Academy
This week’s #10QuestionsWithMaxwell interview series features Daniel Kok, General Manager of ICC Academy, the International Chamber of Commerce’s e-learning platform. ICC Academy’s headquarters is located at Maxwell Chambers Suites, Singapore.
Daniel is responsible for company strategies as well as overseeing day-to-day operations, with responsibilities including enabling business development, production of market-leading e-learning programmes, development of partnerships as well as leveraging on its technology platform to better serve its customers.
In this interview, he shared what makes ICC academy unique from others, new developments for the academy, his leadership style and more.
Read his full interview below:
Q: Could you share with us more about ICC Academy? What make the academy unique from others?
A: ICC Academy is the educational arm of the International Chamber of Commerce. Set up in 2015, it has a footprint across 170 countries with clients deploying our industry-recognized certificates in Trade Finance and International Business to their employees and partner’s network via a digital platform. Our programmes are designed by renowned industry practitioners, incorporating interactive activities, case studies and assessments to enrich the learning experience.
Our programmes gain legitimacy from the contributions ICC has made to areas such as Trade Finance, Arbitration and Commercial Law practices. Some of its tools such as Letter of Origin, Incoterms®, Documentary Credit, to name a few, are leveraged by industries to enable cross border transactions. We stay at the forefront of international trade, educate, and empower businesses worldwide to effectively navigate new challenges and manage risks.
Q: What are some popular courses or certifications from the ICC Academy?
A: Trade Finance certificates such as the Global Trade Certificate (GTC) and Certified Trade Finance Professional (CTFP) remains our market leading certificates, recognised as standards benchmark for the trade finance practitioners today.
Incoterms 2020® and Export & Import Certification (EIC) are popular programmes in our International Business suite. With supply chain disruption across the world, it is increasingly important for businesses to comprehend and manage the risks and deploy the right tools for their requirements.
Q: What new developments do you have in mind for ICC Academy that we can look forward to?
A: Digitalisation Standards! ICC Academy is collaborating with relevant authorities and initiatives to prepare the ground for standard adoption of technology in trade areas. There will be a series of learning programmes that are being produced.
Q: How would you describe your daily routine as the General Manager of ICC Academy?
A: As the GM of ICC Academy, I am responsible for the growth and all aspects of ICC Academy. Together with my team, we build and drive the operations spanning Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, Partnerships, and People. On our daily basis, we execute business plans to deliver revenue targets, drive operational excellence, hire, engage and retain the relevant talent while pushing product innovations to keep on a profitability path.
Q: What is your leadership style?
A: A democratic leadership style, where I make decisions taking into consideration input of each team member. Although I make the final call, we hear all stakeholders on a project’s direction. This allows everyone to exercise initiative and take ownership. To build a creative, motivated employee workforce, you need to accept some risks. An employee’s truly innovative idea can spark the team to pursue a new adventure.
Q: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a leader?
A: Managing people – the need to understand what makes my team tick, what motivates them, when and how they’re at their most productive. Despite employees being the most valuable asset in any organisation, challenge remain on meeting their everchanging expectations within the framework of the company’s goals and guidelines, keeping an eye on the bigger picture, and ensuring viability.
Q: Share with us the best work-related advice you have ever received.
A: Always deliver on your commitments. And if you see a chance of not being able to, let people know ahead on why the delay and how you are trying – this is how you build trust and confidence, not just with your partners but also everyone who work with you! It demonstrates your maturity, independence, and reliability as a person.
Q: Looking back in your career, what has been your proudest achievement?
A: Ability to work in the face of adversity and make things happen – as a self-driven and highly motivated individual, being able to work well and sustain a start-up in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment has been one of a challenge. From coming onboard to stabilise ICC Academy in 2016, to successfully designing and developing various products and services for market adoption, to build distribution channels and partnerships across the globe and to digitise operations in terms of sales, marketing, and delivery – these have been some of my defining moments!
Q: To get to know you more on a personal level, tell us 3 fun facts not many people know about you!
A: One thing I cannot live without is chocolates and nuts! For that matter, dark chocolate, and most kind of nuts. I love peanut butter too!!!
Before I started my career, I was a windsurfing instructor teaching at PA East Coast Park. I had a dream then, that one day, I may run a beachside café and whenever the winds pick up, I will be heading down to the waters!
I picked up Aikido about a year ago with my son. It is an interesting form of self-defence that teaches one to blends with the energy of an attack to redirect the force rather than defeat it. My favourite lessons are weapons training where we learn to use the bokken (sword), jo (short staff) and tanto (knife).
Q: Tell us 3 things that comes to your mind when we mention Maxwell Chambers.
A: Arbitration Centre of Asia – a place where all my neighbours are in the legal business!
Technology enabled platform for meetings and discussions. 2 nice little “robots” that deliver the printed documents!
Beautiful rooms and board walkways! Curated gardens and white painted colonial building! Including some very lovely cars found in the carpark!