#12 Erik Johnson (WGH 04-05)

It’s hard to generalise but I think that Goodenough Members are more open minded, willing to have their ideas challenged, and willing to share ideas.

My route to London wasn’t direct… I’d spent a few years dancing professionally for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet but, when an injury brought that career to an end, I decided to study for a BComm in Finance, Risk Management and Insurance at Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary.

After a few years working as a client manager in Calgary I made the decision to come to London to do an MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at the Cass Business School.

I was so lucky to learn about Goodenough via the Canadian scholarships. It was a literal godsend for me as my original plans would have left me living in what I imagine would have been very substandard accommodation with more than an hour commuting to uni.

I was looking forward to meeting some very smart and different people at Goodenough and that certainly came true. Being exposed to so many intellectual people with so many different lived experiences, education focuses and the ability to debate in a respectful way was great.

What I loved most about the College were the Port Talks, the random conversations with people who made me think about things in a different way and the sense of community.

I enjoy a good debate and often think out loud to develop ideas – Goodenough was a great place for that! I spent numerous evenings in the Great Hall after dinner having great discussions.

I think what surprised me was the number of activities available at College. I didn’t really appreciate how much choice there was going to be. While at Goodenough I worked 20 hours a week as a Lloyds insurance broker so I didn’t have as much time to get as involved in clubs and societies as I’d have liked. Working and studying was tough but it meant I could finish my degree with additional cash in the bank and I also learnt that long-term I didn’t want to be a Lloyds broker!

It’s hard to generalise but I think that Goodenough Members are more open minded, willing to have their ideas challenged, and willing to share ideas. Personally, the experience made me think about social and economic problems in a different way – more holistically.

In my career I’ve developed a reputation as a ‘thought leader’ and I’m spending some time blogging on all sorts of business, social and economic issues so my Goodenough training has come in useful.

Coming to London also gave me an opportunity to be fully ‘out’ at work and in my life. I’ve found that most people don’t care if you are LGBT, you just need to give them a chance to accept you from day one. I needn’t have worried about fitting in at Goodenough, I’m still friends with people I met at College and those friendships have been long-lasting.

There are so many good times to remember – including running out of gas in the ‘Goodenough People Carrier’ coming back from a group trip with friends to Edinburgh and The Burn. It was hilarious as it took us quite some time before we realised it was just petrol missing…