Craig V. Johnson, Generalist, Facilitator & Change-Enabler in Budapest

  • 10 Apr 2024 5:16 AM
Craig V. Johnson, Generalist, Facilitator & Change-Enabler in Budapest
Mr Johnson appreciates talent management, and enjoys focusing his energy on skills development, innovation, and youth empowerment.

To help him achieve this, he established the GiLE Foundation in Hungary to support young people's pursuit of a successful and meaningful life, and recently led the first design-driven incubation program at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, over the past two years, to support creative talent and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Taking a step back, Mr Johnson started his professional career as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa. However, he has an international and interdisciplinary background, having worked in different countries, and having gained broad exposure from working in the private, public, and non-profit sectors, including academia.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?

I arrived in 2017 for studies and to pursue another career change. From a distant South Africa, it was Hungary’s beauty, my unfamiliarity with its past, and its general strangeness, that all attracted me to come here. The fact that Hungary is in the EU was also the cherry on the cake.

2. What surprised you the most about Hungary?

Definitely the unique language here. However, the high number of Noble Peace Prize winners was also quite surprising, and the fact that so many Hungarians seem genuinely shocked that a foreigner would voluntarily choose to live in their country.

3. What is your favourite Hungarian word?

Harminckettesek tere – it does seem to just roll off the tongue.

4. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?

Yes, I was an expat in Miami (USA), but it was short-lived for just under a year.

5. Friends are in Budapest for the weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 

Ruin bars in the city centre, and I reckon a long night walk around the Danube to see the main attractions (Parliament, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, etc.).

6. What do you miss most from home? 

Hot Nando’s Peri Peri chicken.

7. Which jobs would you definitely never want?

Being a doctor, a vet, or a butcher.

8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?

Well, I'm always attracted to new opportunities connected to education and youth empowerment. However, I can't help but daydream about a career in diplomacy or media journalism.

9. Best advice for Gen Z’s?

Get a mentor because they will help you save a lot of time. Also, if you commit to something, then commit – see it through, and take responsibility.

10. Where did you spend your last vacation?


11. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?

Greece, or perhaps Turkey.

12. Unicum or Palinka?


13. What is the last movie you watched and really enjoyed?

Dune 2.

14. What is your favourite hobby or sport?

I absolutely love multi-day hiking and wild camping, and I play a lot of indoor soccer too.

15. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t yet?

Perform stand-up comedy.

16. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?

Education, and nowadays AI safety too.

17. What would you say is your personal motto?

Steady as the wind blows

  • How does this interview make you feel?