Meet Bryan Davis, Vice President of Operations at People’s City Mission (

Tell us a little about your business. – Since 1907, People’s City Mission is Lincoln’s primary homeless shelter housing 350 men, women and children on an average day. Really, there isn’t anything the Mission doesn’t do. Every day, we also offer free food, clothing and household goods at our help center and free dental and chiropractic care at our clinic.

How did you get started in the business? – I grew up in rural Nebraska and then worked overseas in international development for 27 years. During that time, my wife and I raised our family in Senegal where we started a nationwide school system. I also earned a PhD in education from UNL to help meet the need for training teachers. There is a lot that my experience overseas has done to prepare me for this new position at People’s City Mission. At heart, people everywhere have the same concerns, but are served best when we recognize their individual situation. Of course, every day at the mission I see and learn new things about human services. I work with amazing professionals who are dedicated experts at what they do. I know they’ve gone the extra mile to help me learn the ropes. This is truly an exciting new path for me to help people in need change their lives right here in my homeland!

Tell us a little about your family. – My wife, Laura, and I met during our high school years in the Omaha area. We were married thirty years ago and left for Senegal almost as newlyweds. We raised our twins in Senegal, where they grew up going to school in French. Later, they did boarding school at an international high school about 10 hours from where we lived in the northern part of the country. The twins will graduate from college together in Minneapolis later this year. Laura has always been passionate about teaching English to adult learners, specializing in those who do not read their first language. She recently connected with teaching English to people settling in Nebraska from Afghanistan.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – We were ready to work in Senegal until retirement and had even built a house there. However, we realized a couple of years ago we had worked ourselves out of a job because the people running the school system were doing an amazing job! The decision to leave Senegal was a major turning point in my personal history, and a very difficult decision to make. The decision about what to move on to next was almost as tough. We considered a few opportunities in different parts of the world, but were approached by Pastor Tom Barber (CEO of People’s City Mission). I was already familiar with People’s City Mission since my college internship with Pastor Tom back in 1994. It was in December of 2022 that we took the plunge and returned to Nebraska.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – My wife and I like to go walk around the lake.

What is your greatest talent that you don’t utilize in your daily work life? – Over the years in Senegal I learned to speak Wolof, the language used in our part of the country. I used to spend long hours at construction sites only speaking Wolof with workmen all day long. Since returning to Nebraska, I’ve only used Wolof one time!

If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – I was almost a professor rather than coming to work at People’s City Mission. Of course, we know coming here was the thing to do!

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