Meet the Mentor: Dave Reynolds

New City, New Job, New Start…

We’re kicking off our new blog with a series of #meetthementor interviews, where we go behind the scenes with some of the friendly faces of Citywise. The first one’s a bit of a cheat, but our staff members are all mentors too (they mentor the mentors)! So without further ado, please give a round of applause for Dave, our Manchester Programme Manager:

So Dave, who are ya?

I’m a Northampton lad at ‘eart (they never taught us to speak properly!), but I actually moved to Manchester from Nottingham in May 2016 as part of a new church called Manchester Vineyard. The last eight months have seen huge changes for me personally, but they’ve all been positive and I’m excited about life in a new city!

And how did you end up working for Citywise?

I wasn’t enjoying my job as much as I did when I started doing it. I sat and asked myself the question, “Dave, what do you want to do?” I had dinner with friends and talked it through and they suggested doing something I was passionate about and something that could make a difference. A couple of days later, those same friends messaged me with the advert for this role and the rest is history.

And has it been everything you ever dreamed of?

Having worked in the financial services for 3 years previously, playing dodgeball with a group of young people on my first day at Citywise was so different to listening to customers express their dissatisfaction at the latest drop in savings rates!

“Young people always bring things into a fresh light. They see the world in a different way to adults but their opinion is just as valid.”

Another change I’ve been adapting to has been moving from the high-pressure environment of a big financial institution to that of a small charity focused on bringing the best out of every young person. It’s a much more relaxed environment to say the least – I’ve swapped my shirt and tie for the royal blue Citywise #thecityneedsheroes t-shirt (perfect for me as an Evertonian!).

Um…excuse me, Citywise is still a high-pressure environment you know. If you don’t bring out the best in every young person there are serious consequences! [glares threateningly]

[backtracking] Err…um…I mean it’s a less formal workplace. And that’s a good thing – it means we can relate more easily to the people we work with: students and teenagers.

Quite so. [rips up final warning letter]

For me Citywise felt like a homecoming. I was wonderfully welcomed into the team and was back doing something I am really passionate about – working with young people. I’ve been asked before by incredulous friends how on earth I enjoy working with young people, almost as if they were something to be scared of. But for me it’s exactly the opposite.

[incredulous] But how on earth do you enjoy working with young people?!

Haha! Well my first response is normally a sarcastic “we were all young once!” Then I tell people my real reason:

Young people always bring things into a fresh light. They see the world in a different way to adults but their opinion is just as valid. We often refer to them as the next generation but I think they’re the now generation. They’re the now generation because what they learn now will impact them in the future more than we realise. I also call them the now generation because they’re much cooler than I am!

And finally, any heart-warming tales from your first few months at Citywise?

This made me laugh as much as it warmed my heart: at one session we asked young people to rank a series of personal traits in order of how important they were for them. When I asked one lad why he’d put ‘good looking and muscly’ at the bottom of his ranking he said “I don’t see them as important because I’m already both of them anyway!”