Welcome to THI/TNH Takeover! In collaboration with The Hellenic Initiative (THI), The National Herald and THI have begun a partnership to introduce the NEXTGEN of Greek/Cypriot ‘movers and shakers’ to the rest of our Diaspora community around the world. Established to inform its readers about all things related to our homeland and its respective communities throughout the world, TNH is now providing THI’s New Leaders (40-years-old and younger), with a new platform to showcase their ideas and to engage their communities in a deeper, more meaningful way while simultaneously building a bridge to Greece and Cyprus. Our next featured New Leader is Ioannis Wallingford. Get to know him below!
Last Name, First Name
- United States Military Academy at West Point, Missouri University of Science and Technology, New York University
What city do you live in?
Where in Greece are you from?
- Athens, though my family is originally from the Nafplion region
- Management/Strategy Consultant
What motivated you to get involved with THI?
- I have a couple of friends who had great experiences on the Board in the past and I wanted to join. Greece is in the midst of a technological revolution that has brought opportunities back to our homeland. I am eager to join this Board because of its active engagement with startups, which aligns with my passion for fostering innovation and supporting entrepreneurial ventures.
What do you hope to achieve through THI?
- I was eager to join The Hellenic Initiative, where I can leverage my tech due diligence experience to enhance the growth and success of startups in Cyprus and Greece. The goal is to uncover promising startup concepts and offer assistance in surmounting technological obstacles, contributing to their progress and triumph in the competitive arena.
Favorite activity to take part in where you live?
- I’m the type of person who picks a hobby and does it repeatedly for several months. In the past, I have been obsessed with lifting, skydiving, mountain biking, disc golf, etc. Right now, it’s running along the West Side Highway in Manhattan.
Favorite place to take your non-Greek friends when they visit you in Greece?
- I would take them to a trail in Nafplion that, after 999 stairs, leads to the top of the Palamidi Fortress. On the way up, you can enjoy amazing views over the city.
Go-to Greek dish/drink when you’re missing the homeland?
- Dolmades, dolmades, dolmades. Don’t forget the lemon/olive oil/oregano sauce.
Favorite Greek product you can find outside of Greece?
- Molto croissants. The purple one is the best. I’ve taste tested them all.
Top three people of Greek/Cypriot descent you admire?
- Alexander the Great
- General Theodoros Kolokotronis
One piece of advice an elder has given you that has proved invaluable?
- I remember one of my instructors at the Academy telling my platoon “Planning is priceless, but the plan is worthless.” While my days in uniform are long behind me, I have found the lessons of other days in other fields still guiding me.
Favorite quote from a Greek philosopher?
- “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle
One Greek/Cypriot tradition you’ll never stop keeping?
- Cooking a lamb on a spit – I recall one Easter at my yiayia’s village when the spinning mechanism broke. Consequently, my pappou and uncle arranged the lamb on an old spit that required manual rotation. It goes without saying that it was a long day.
How has your Hellenic background helped shape who you are today?
- The Greek word ‘koinonia’ is something I began to appreciate when I realized the friends I kept most in touch with were all Greek. Some of my closest Greek friends have very different personalities from me, but being Greek is what bonds us all together.
- ‘Another day in paradise’