Dennis A. Diokno, CEO & Founding Partner, FirstMed

  • 4 Mar 2020 11:46 AM
Dennis A. Diokno, CEO & Founding Partner, FirstMed
1. What’s been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview?

Click here to read his first interview.

Wow! It seems like a lifetime has passed since I gave that first interview 15 years ago. At that time, my wife and I had a one-month-old baby girl. We now have four children two boys and two girls, ages 14,13,11, and 9. They keep us extremely busy with school and extracurricular activities.

Outside of my personal life, I was fortunate to celebrate FirstMed’s 20th anniversary. My company has also more than doubled in size. We’ve taken much more space in our building. We’ve recently added an endoscopy center. We even have finished the construction of our first clinic outside of Hungary.

I should also note that last year my friend, Nimrod Kovacs, joined FirstMed as a partner and investor. His wealth of business experience is helping the FirstMed team manage its rapid growth in Hungary and beyond.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you with your life in Hungary, and why?
I would say 8 which is an improvement over the 6 or 7 that I would have given had XpatLoop asked me this 15 years ago. The reason is simple. Living here has gotten easier.

3. What’s the best party you’ve been to while in Hungary, and why?I know I should say the annual XpatLoop Bonfire celebration of which FirstMed has been the main sponsor for nearly ten years. This party is always great fun and more importantly raises money for good causes. However, I’ll give the nod to the annual Burns Supper that the Robert Burns International Foundation runs. FirstMed is also a main sponsor of the Burns Supper. Like the Bonfire, the Burns Supper is a fundraising event that supports pediatric clinics and hospitals throughout Hungary.

4. What’s your favourite drink?
I love red wine. Plus, I believe in the health benefits of drinking it, so I almost always end my day with a glass of Nimrod Kovacs Winery’s 777, a fantastic pinot noir.

5. What hidden talents do you have?
If I have them, they’re very well hidden from me!

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
Two summers ago my family had a big family reunion in the Philippines. We spent a week in Palawan, mostly in an area call El Nido. This place was spectacular.

7. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
To be honest I gave up wishing for things a long time ago. I believe in hard work and earning the things that you receive.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
The last book is 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower. I’m a runner and always looking for a way to improve my time. The last movie was one that I’d seen many years ago but recently watched again with my youngest child. It’s Dr. Doolittle starring Eddie Murphy.

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
Egészségedre! Or maybe FirstMed’s tagline ‘Your health comes first!’

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
Extra cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes. When I’m back in the US I have these toppings save on my Domino’s Pizza app. I love how I can even adjust the amounts of each.

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
This is a timely question as Sir Patrick Stewart is reprising his role as Captain Picard in the new Star Trek Series, Picard. I wouldn’t necessarily want to be Captain Picard. I’d be happy as almost any member of a Star Trek series crew. I’d love to explore space…the final frontier…

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why?
If I’m honest and look at the things I’ve done and the places I’ve been, I’d probably rate myself seven or eight. It’s probably in my nature as an entrepreneur to take risks and consider possibilities that others would not.

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why?
Another question in which I should answer XpatLoop? ;)  I can’t name one. I will say that I prefer sites that are very functional as opposed to those that are aesthetically pleasing but make you work hard to find the information that you want.

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
There are so many that I won’t name just one. I will say that I admire people who work hard, persist, and think differently.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary?
I’m from Michigan in the US where the winters are colder and longer compared to Hungary’s, so I love the milder and shorter winters here. The tradeoff for these relatively easy winters is the comparatively dull change of seasons. Back home in October, we have spectacular colors as fall turns to winter.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
My decision in my second year of college to study German and Business instead of medicine. The language and business education led to study abroad followed by a Master of International Management and ultimately my international career and life.

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
I’d do three things. First I would ensure that my family is financially secure by strengthening my investment and retirement accounts. Second, I’d establish a fund that would make annual contributions to charitable organizations I support such as the Robert Burns International Foundation and Csodalampa. Third, I would create a fund that would invest in small start-up businesses. As someone who has run a start-up, I’d love to help entrepreneurs fund and execute their business plans.

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
The song ‘Run’ by a band called Thriving Ivory. While the lyrics may not have much to do with my life, I like the tune and I love to run.

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I couldn’t live in one place. I’d spend 1/3 of my time in the US, 1/3 in Hungary, and the other 1/3 traveling. At the moment, I live in Hungary for family and work, but the US is also home.

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
Hopefully, working on something challenging and quite possibly updating XpatLoop in another one of these interviews.

  • How does this interview make you feel?