Hi I’m Vanessa, ‘m in charge of all things outreach. Within my job you’d often find me running around the city at community events, pop-ups and school engagements. I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities to support young people and tell them about the amazing things we can help them with if they need it for all things career related. One thing I have also had the privilege of doing is the local heroes that I call youth workers who have paved the way for generations and impacted and transformed so many young people’s lives. I always get inspired by engaging with these guys, some through our partnerships but some through local events.
If I had to describe myself in three words I’d say problem solver, good listener, and a bit of a joker. I love solving a problem, this may have been down to growing up listening to loads of detective stories and reading such books. In addition, I believe you can learn so much about a person through their stories and I’m always up for a good laugh. Humour has always been rooted in my childhood.
The last challenge I had to face would be having a complete career change in the midst of a pandemic after having found out that I would be made redundant. The main challenge was that I knew I wanted to get out of the industry that I was in as I did not feel it was suited to my abilities and ambitions but having a CV with mostly corporate experience proved to be a challenge when applying for the third sector. The thing that motivated me was that I knew through the volunteering youth work that I have been involved with over the last 10 years that supporting young people of all ages was my passion and that it was something that I wanted to dedicate more time to from a professional perspective. Over the years I realised that for me making a difference in the world whether big or small was more important than just any job.
When I applied for the role that I’m currently in I had heard good things about Babbasa from young people I had worked with in the community and the role itself was a new challenge for me having come out of an insurance job. But the thing that attracted me to joining the team was the mission. I wish I knew about Babbasa when I was a young person fresh out of University looking for work in the graphic industry because I had no idea where to start looking and all the things I could find was essentially requiring me to work for free which simply was not an option for me. As a person of a mixed heritage background who was born in Western Germany, I never thought this is where I would be now, but having seen the diversity in this city and the people I have had a privilege to me meet I can honestly say I have never felt more at home here. The team at Babbasa truly reflect this diversity within the city and everyone is so different and share the same values at the core. I never thought that a job could be so fulfilling and the people I work with are a huge part of this. Babbasa is truly a community of individuals who have come together to help the next generation of young people transform the world and pursue their ambitions whatever those may be. It’s really taught me that there is power in kindness, that diversity has so many positive attributes and that people’s personal stories can have such a huge impact, sometimes just seeing yourself represented can give you the confidence you need to try something new.
One thing I have been told quite a lot recently is that am quite entrepreneurial – which I never viewed myself to be. In the future I’d love to own a small creative business that I can run alongside my work. This is something I see in the near future – I’m exploring a few ideas but it’s finding the time to actualise it. And in the long term future I think I’d like to continue working with young people. I’d love to run a school or an orphanage at some point that encompasses the values of kindness, creativity and nurturing of dreams at the core.
Three pieces of advice I would give to young people would be:
1. Never let anyone else dim your light
2. It’s never too late to dream big – Rome wasn’t built in a day
3. It may take time to get where you want to go but the lessons you learn along the way might just be the ones you needed when you make it to the finish line.
We believe Bristol’s most marginalised deserve access to support at their own pace, have their voices heard, and have access to real work opportunities.
If you believe that too then get in touch!