Interview: Ildikó B. Csejtei, Business Development & Integrated Communication Expert

  • 21 Aug 2019 11:37 AM
Interview: Ildikó B. Csejtei, Business Development & Integrated Communication Expert
Ildikó is a senior business development and integrated communications expert and leader with over 20 years’ experience in media, financial services, pharma and strategic consultancy.

She has worked for global brands, including Sanoma, Pro7Sat.1 and Aegon, as well as for local ones such as Hungaropharma, Hungary’s leading pharmaceutical wholesaler and retail company.

Ildikó has vast experience in all fields of communications including corporate and brand communications, PR, CSR,  crisis management, social and digital communication and personal branding. In addition, she has thorough skills in the areas of corporate strategy& business development, as well as leadership and employee motivation.

Besides working as a consultant currently, she has been active in the fields of education. She recently launched Independent Media Education Centre (IMEC) offering diverse training and courses in the fields of communications incl. media, social media, PR and marketing partly with cooperation with universities. The aim of the program is to provide knowledge transfer both among professionals and towards university students and career entrants. She also gives lectures at ELTE University.

1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hungary and the Netherlands. By the age of 14, I had spent eight years living in Den Haag (The Hague).

2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Definitely Spain, especially in later life. I lived in Madrid for a year when I was 18 and have returned several times since. I love the language, the people, the atmosphere, the culture. It was the first time in my life that I studied art history at school, and this opened my eyes to the country’s beautiful architecture and art.

As far as career aspects are concerned, my preferred countries would be Germany or the Netherlands, not only because of my language skills, but also because I very much identify with the way business is done in those countries. I’m quite familiar with the culture of both countries. As I mentioned, I lived for nearly ten years in Holland, attended a German school and later a German university, and I’ve worked for three Dutch companies and a German-owned company during my career.

3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary?
Friends and family.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend – what must they absolutely see and do?
Budapest by night, with the breathtaking views while crossing the bridges. Sit on a terrace in the city centre on a summer evening and have dinner and Hungarian wine.

5. What is your favourite food?
I prefer salads and fish. Unfortunately, I also love desserts like crème brulée.

6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise?
Hiking and running.

7. What is your favourite place in Hungary?
I love Budapest. It might be polluted, but no other city in Hungary has the atmosphere of a metropolis and offers such a variety of opportunities.

Furthermore, I’m fortunate to enjoy the rather green, less polluted and less busy side of Budapest, as I live in a Buda district with parks and trees, and a beautiful view of the Buda hills that fills me up every day.

If I want to escape the city, there is a charming village on the slopes of the north shore of Lake Balaton, Szigliget, where I spend some time each year.

8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I’ve basically been pursuing a new career since 2015. Previously, I worked in top positions in marketing and communications, mainly in the media sector. In 2015, I decided to convert my knowledge and expertise into supporting the next generations. I have launched an education and development program with diverse courses and workshops for both students and young professionals. I also do consultancy and work for foundations. I’m doing all the things I ever wanted to do.

9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?
A purely administrative task, or what turns into routine. It’s very important for me to create new structures and projects, while also developing my own skills and learning new things.

10. Where did you spend your last vacation?
My last long summer vacation was spent in California. This year, I’ve already spent shorter (one-week) periods in Holland, southern Italy, Porto and Galicia, Lake Garda and, lately, Transylvania. We have also spent several long weekends closer to home in places like Lillafüred (one of my favourite places in Hungary), Szilvásvárad and Szeged.

11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
This week, we are heading off to Greece for two weeks for our yearly summer holiday with our children.

12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Queen, Abba, Grease, going out with friends.

13. Apart from temptation, what can’t you resist?
Looking at my emails and messages first thing in the morning. I also like a good frappé in summer.

14. Red wine or white?
None. I don’t drink alcohol. Coffee, or lemonade with mint leaves.

15. Book or movie?
Both. I still love reading real books, but I also like going to the cinema and do so very often.

16. Morning person or night person?
Definitely a night person.

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
Education. I consider the potential and attitudes of future generations as being of the utmost importance for humanity. Not providing children and young people with the necessary skills and knowledge, not putting an emphasis on learning and development, is one of the biggest failures a society can commit.

18. Buda or Pest side?
Buda for living, Pest for going out. Both for work.

19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about?
My family and children, the launch of Independent Media Education Center, and the fact that I am able and willing to continually learn and develop. I’m proud that I have finished my second year at university in psychology, which will be my third degree if everything goes well.

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning” (Master Eckhart), and a more specific one: “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” (Nelson Mandela).

Proofread by Robyn Flemming
Robyn is an Australian freelance editor and proofreader, with clients in Australia, Asia and the Middle East. 

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