Melvin Arquero served as a City Year AmeriCorps member with City Year Boston at the Dever McCormack middle school from 2014-2015. During his time as a City Year AmeriCorps member, Melvin developed essential skills–collaboration, communication and relationship management–that led him to discover that he could rise to any challenge. His experience as a City Year AmeriCorps member helped him land a sales position at Brandwatch–the leading social intelligence platform that empowers some of the world’s biggest brands. Learn more about how Melvin’s City Year experience helped him launch a career that he is passionate about.
How did you first hear about City Year? What interested you about the City Year AmeriCorps member position?
Melvin Arquero (MA): My favorite professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz first introduced me to City Year during my last quarter as a senior. As a Sociology major, City Year presented itself as a great opportunity for me to make an impact against the socio-economic disparities I learned and witnessed growing up in the Philippines and in the Bay Area.
What ultimately led you to accept your invitation to serve with City Year?
MA: I chose to serve with City Year not only because of the program’s mission, but also because I knew that joining a nationally recognized organization would help establish my professional network and help me better understand the career path I wanted to pursue. It was also an added bonus that I got to move across the country to Boston!
What was the most challenging aspect of your service year?
MA: The most challenging aspect of my service year was adjusting to the life of a first-year City Year AmeriCorps member and the nuances that it came with. Faced with various factors such as the bi-weekly stipend, to the demands of the actual service, it was quite difficult to make sure that I was taking care of myself- mentally and physically- while also making sure that I was doing well in my role.
How did you address this challenge and what did you learn from this experience?
MA: I was fortunate enough to be a part of an awesome team. They were not only a great support system during my service year, but we were also able to help each other find life outside of City Year. Additionally, I made a conscious effort to find friends outside of the cohort to get an effective balance in my personal life.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your experience serving with City Year?
MA: Being able to build relationships with my students, partner teachers, and fellow City Year AmeriCorps members would probably be the most rewarding aspect of my service year. I walked away from City Year inspired and motivated to be a better person because of the people that I had the privilege to meet and work with. I moved to Boston alone, but left my service year with lifelong friendships. More importantly, I had a chance to work alongside the most resilient and brightest young adults who, unknowingly, have taught me so much about life and myself.
It’s very rare to find an opportunity where you leave knowing that you’ve accomplished something that was impactful and is one that has truly changed you for the better- that’s what City Year has done for me.
What did you decide to pursue after City Year? How did your experience serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member prepare you for this next step?
MA: After City Year, I was accepted to Teach for America and was due to go back to California. However, with my newly found skills and values, I decided to explore my options and I eventually took a job in an industry unfamiliar to me. One of the main things that I learned in my service with City Year is to trust and be confident in my abilities, which led me to accept a sales role in the tech industry, despite not having any previous sales experience.
Tell us about what you do now. What company do you work for and what role do you play there?
MA: I currently work at Brandwatch. Brandwatch is the leading social intelligence platform that empowers some of the world’s biggest brands and agencies. We help our customers make better data-driven business decisions through our social analytics technology. I began my first role as an Inbound Sales Development Representative, where I got to directly work with enterprise brands and agencies. I have since moved on to become a Customer Success Executive. I now work exclusively with agencies, where I act as their point of contact in ensuring that they are optimizing the use of our platform, help build strategy, de-escalate crises and, most importantly, establish impactful relationships with them as clients. I’m about to hit my two-year mark, and I could not be happier in the role that I am currently in.
How did you leverage your City Year experience during your job application and interview process?
MA: I emphasized my City Year experience during the interview process, which tremendously made me more distinct and marketable to my current employer. I highlighted the breadth of work that being a City Year AmeriCorps member involved, and I showcased how transferrable both the hard and soft skills I learned in my service year were into the sales role I was seeking.
How has City Year impacted your career and professional growth?
MA: City Year has truly been instrumental in shaping my development as a young professional. Not only has it strengthened and diversified my work experience, but it has also given me values such as integrity, passion, and resilience, that I try to exhibit and embody in the work that I do.
What advice would you give to someone considering serving with City Year?
MA: Do your research and really try to understand the core values and mission of City Year. Read blogs and reviews from past City Year AmeriCorps members to determine if this is the right fit for you. It is hard work, but it will also be the most rewarding thing you can do both professionally and personally.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a similar career path to yours?
MA: Be confident that you have the ability to excel in any career path you choose after City Year. It’s not a joke when I say that I have a voice in my head that goes, “If you got through City Year, you can get through anything” every time I enter a seemingly difficult situation.