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Are you a leader? Allen Arseneau hopes he is.

7 Jan

What does it mean to be a leader?  Are you a leader?  Is Allen Arseneau a leader?

Most of us want to think that we are leaders.  I believe a leader is someone who leads, and listens.  Someone who is able to inspire others to do more. A leader has the passion and drive to ignite passion in others.

Types of Leadership:

Leaders can be democratic, authoritative, or delegative (also called laissez-faire).  Democratic leaders get input from those around them for better decision making.  Authoritative leaders make decisions on their own.  Delegative leaders let others make decisions for themselves.  Not surprisingly, democratic leaders create the most creative (and often productive) results.  Allen Arseneau believes that a combination of democratic and authoritative leadership is best.  Know when to open a decision up to the group, and know when to make a decision on your own.  Certainly, share successes with the group, and own all failures.

Leading and Managing:

Great leading is not always great managing.  Although leaders certainly can be great managers, this is not always the case.  Managers are great at organizing people to accomplish goals.  This is a skill that can be learned, but is occasionally missed by even the best leaders.  For this reason, great leaders also surround themselves with great managers.  Allen Arseneau tries to live by this.  It would be a sad day when I (or anyone else) is the smartest and best person in the room.  So fill the room with amazing people.  And you all will be better for it.

As you go forward, think about how you inspire those around you.  What kind of leader are you?  What kind of leader do you want to be?


Allen Arseneau is an entrepreneur in Boston.  He holds an MBA from Stanford University, and a BS in chemical engineering from Northeastern University.  When he is not growing a business, he can be found hiking or camping with his wife and daughter, or taking his Little Brother out.  Allen volunteers as a mentor of a little boy in need, thru the Big Brother Big Sisters (BBBS) organization.  Allen Arseneau blogs about his experiences as a Big here: Learn more about Allen.


Our first man-to-man talk

20 Dec

Sept 21, 2015

Today, Hunter and I got a pizza, and headed to the local shipyard.  No agenda, no plans, just hanging out.  The weather was warm, and it was dinnertime.  We started talking about what it means to be “the man of the house” – which Hunter is.

You see, Hunter lives with his 5 siblings, in cramped quarters with his grandma.  He often fights with his little brother.  He has never had a stable male role model; hence his getting a Big Brother.  I grew up with 5 brothers without a father also.  So, I totally get it.  It’s hard.

I explained that I know it’s hard, and it’s not always fair.  But, being the big brother is really important.  Hunter’s job, at 7 years old, is to have fun, do his homework, and be a good example to his brothers and sisters.  And I told him…not to worry…I am not going anywhere.  I am here for you, Hunter.

So, we sat there, and ate our pizza, and looked at the boats.  And maybe, just maybe, life became a little easier for that little boy.IMG_9579

Allen Arseneau is a Big Brother in Boston.He first came to know of Big Brother Big Sisters (BBBS) 27 years ago, when he became a Little Brother himself.This blog chronicles Allen Arseneau’s journey of becoming the best Big he can.
Learn more about Allen.

Saddened by yet another shooting

3 Dec

I hate to say this, but it seems that the reality of current American culture is a culture of fear and violence.  I do realize that the world has a history of violence, but one would think that in this modern world that we live in, people are simply more sophisticated.

And for the most part, I think this is true (that the majority is sophisticated).  But, there will always be the violent minority (or perhaps a more accurate description is a micro-fraction).  Those few who would rather pick up a weapon with destruction on their minds, than extend a hand of negotiation.

I am an eternal optimist.  I see a future and a world of less chaos, more prosperity.  I believe we find ourselves at a time of transformation; we are in the process of letting go of of older ways.  I just hope the future is a healthier place, and that we are ready for it.

But tonight, my heart and prayers go out to the many victims, and their families, of this latest tragedy.

– Allen Arseneau


Learn more about Allen Arseneau, and his adventures as a Big Brother in Boston, that is, a mentor to a little boy in need.
Learn more about Allen.

We almost watched a man die

1 Dec

May 30, 2015

Today was an extreme outing.  On one hand, Hunter let me know what he really thinks of the Big Brother Big Sister of Mass Bay Organization (he wrote in chalk “Big Brother #1”).  On the other hand, as we were walking home, we witnessed a horrible accident as a wooden beam fell 4 stories and hit a worker (who was not wearing a hard-hat) directly on the head.  The man instantly crumpled, and blood pooled in the gutter.

Freedom Trail Part II:

The outing started out fantastically.  We picked up the Freedom Trail where we left off the week before.  We walked through Charlestown, saw the USS Constitution, and then back to Park St.  During lunch, while eating some pb&j in a Charlestown park, I saw some chalk on the ground, so naturally, I wrote something on the sidewalk: “Boston # 1” (having grown up in Boston city, I have pride).  Hunter, always polite, asked if he could write something himself.  After my approval, he went about writing his message: ”Big Brother # 1”.

That was nice to read.  It certainly made me smile.  He smiled one of his very wide grins.  It was a really nice moment.


Allen Arseneau & Hunter

Allen Arseneau and Little Brother Hunter, USS Constitution


We then made it to the USS Constitution, where we saw an actual human jawbone fragment that was taken from an unfortunate British sailor that mistakenly engaged the USS Constitution in battle.  Poor guy.

A man almost died in front of us:

At this point, we started walking back to Park Street, where I was parked.  Hunter was tired, and it was getting late.  As we were walking, we saw the accident.  I immediately ran over to a police office who hadn’t seen the accident, and was engaged in a conversation – a mere 10 feet from the guy, who now lay unconscious, bleeding profusely from his head.  I screamed at the officer to come over.  He realized what was happening, and called for help.

I had taken multiple first-responder courses years ago (back when I thought I wanted to be an Army Medic or a volunteer EMT), so my instinct was to go over and help the guy.  Although I am not a first-responder, I could at least help stop the bleeding.  However, during that split second, I had to decide what to do: help the guy, or get Hunter out of there.  We were 1 mile from Mass General Hospital – one of the best hospitals in the country.  So, I figured real help would be here in a minute or so, and this guy would be at MGH shortly thereafter.  I also saw several workers and the police officer go over to the guy.  So, I decided instead to get Hunter out of there, before he saw too much gore.  Afterall, there was literally blood pooling in the gutter.  By the time we walked to the corner, I saw the worker sitting up with the help of some of the other workers.  I think he is going to be ok.

Lemons into Lemonade:

This created a really good opportunity to talk to Hunter about the need for certain rules, especially safety rules.  We talked about the importance wearing a hardhat, of wearing your seatbelt, and of generally following rules that are meant to keep you safe.

I let Hunter know that the worker would be ok, and that he was lucky.  After about 5 minutes, we were on to a new topic (I think Hunter was already asking me if he could play at the park).  I let his grandma know what happened, in case he wanted to talk about it further.  Last I heard, it did not come up again.

The lesson for me: if you are standing below a palette of wood dangling 50 feet above your head, wear a darn hard hat.

The Little becomes the Big

23 Nov

We’ve all heard the phrase “the student becomes the master”.  Some of us have even seen it play out with characters such as Luke Skywalker or Neo (aka Mr. Anderson).  In my case, the Little becomes the Big.  The Big Brother, that is.

When I was 9 years old, I became a Little Brother.  27 years later, I have become a mentor myself to a young boy, through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mass Bay.  It has been an amazingly rewarding experience, and I would urge anyone who is looking for more meaning in life to do the same.  It is easy and fun.

I have started a blog to capture some of my experiences as a Big.  Please do follow our adventures.


The role of mentors

3 Mar

A great way to excel in your career is to find a mentor who can help guide you through decisions, can act as a sounding board, and can open new doors for you.

Mentors can also be used to help you find professional happiness, personal happiness, and to open your eyes to different alternatives that you may not have considered before.

The best mentors are those that have developed organically.  Look around for people who you look up to.  Ideally, they are 5-20 years your senior, and are in a place in which you would like to be one day.  Once you have identified this person, let the organic growth begin.  Invite them out for a 15-30 minute coffee, or phone call.  And then do this every 3-6 months.  Be sure to express your appreciation, and follow up with a small gift or hand-written note.

And remember, in 5-10 years, when someone invites you to a coffee…say “yes”.


Boston’s entrepreneurial community is strong and lively

28 Feb

I attended an entrepreneurial event this week that exhibited just how strong and vibrant the entrepreneurial community is here in Boston.

I believe that Boston’s start-up community could rival Silicon Valley’s within the next 5-10 years. We have wonderful  universities and institutions, all within a 25 mile radius.

C’mon Boston!!