Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thoughts on Becoming a Leader

What does it mean to be a leader?  Are you a leader? 
Most people would like to think that they are leaders.  Even myself, Allen Arseneau, is included; And I know that being a leader is so much more than a title.  Here are some thoughts on what leadership, and on being a leader, means to me.  Please add your comments below.  
I believe a leader is anyone (regardless of age) who leads, and knows how to listen to others.  Someone who is able to inspire others to do more. A leader has the passion and drive to ignite passion in others.

Common types of Leadership:

Leaders can be democratic, authoritative, or laissez-faire (also known as delegative).  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, with minimal input or direction from the supposed leader.  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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sea Kayaking and Father's Day

I introduced Hunter to the world of sea kayaking today.  The kid was hooked instantly.  Holy smokes was it fun.  And, by end of the 3 hours of paddling around, he was able to control the kayak himself.  I knew he could.  It won’t be long before he is paddling his own kayak. 

Of course, we had the obligatory splash fight while paddling.  Even Hunter got the hang of purposefully splashing me while he would paddle.  It’s a good skill to develop, I told him.  J 

On the drive home, I asked him what he wanted to do next week.  “Kayaking please!”

When I got home, I had a surprise waiting for me for Father’s Day.  My daughter and I went to a daddy-daughter dance at the YMCA.  She surprised me with her very grown-up purse full of snacks.  It was awesome.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our first outing almost ended in tears

The Fates smiled on us – our first outing will be a memorable one.  We had to deal with a blizzard, being chased around the mall with cheesy fingers, and almost crying...all on our first outing.
Boston has had an unusually warm winter…until yesterday, the day of our first outing.  We got hit with a blizzard that dumped over a foot of snow on Boston.  I wonder how much snow we’ll get this year?   Maybe this will be our only storm, though I hope not.  More snow is always better.
Hunter and I walked over to the local YMCA to shoot some hoops (free admission as a Big Brother; we get so many perks!).  The kid totally impressed me, by actually scoring points – and he’s only 7!  Hunter got game.
While walking back to his grandma’s, Hunter just had to jump into a snowdrift.  I caught it on tape. 
Playing in the snow turned into a very serious snowball fight.  Then, we headed to the mall, for good-old-fashioned … hanging out at the mall.  This was a safe and warm activity (given the snow, and that it was our first outing).
Hunter showed me his favorite video games at the game store, he played with a super-cute puppy at the puppy store, and then we built and raced cars at the Lego store.  And for some exercise, he chased me around the mall with his cheesy fingers (a by-product of sampling yellow-cheese mall popcorn). 
We headed to the Food Court for a couple slices of pizza.  While eating, Hunter started looking really sad - I thought he might cry (perhaps he did).  He said that he missed his grandma.  I smiled and asked, “Hunter, would you want to head home?”  He smiled and looked at me, and nodded his head.  As we drove home, I let him know that there is absolutely nothing that he can say that will offend me, and I will always bring him home whenever he wants me to. 
It was a great first outing. 
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. 

That awkward first meeting

Yesterday, I met my Little, Hunter, for the first time.  He is 7 years old, likes hot dogs and chocolate, likes to shoot hoops and read, and loves Legos.  He lives with his grandma, and 3 siblings.  I was relieved that Will, My BBBSMB liason, met me there to lead the meeting. 
I met everyone.  They were all great.  Hunter was kind of glued to his grandma’s side, and had a smile (from ear to ear) that seemed to be permanently stuck to his face.  His smile made me smile.  We were both nervous.  Excitedly nervous.
I let Hunter know that I have a daughter who is almost his age.  Hunter told me that he likes to read and eat hot dogs, and loves Legos.  He showed me his room, and then we talked about our first outing – a trip to the local mall.
Then we took a picture.  Silly faces are a great way to end a meeting.  I can’t wait to get to know Hunter better.
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.

First, I was a Little...

People often ask me what is it like to be a Big Brother.  Is it hard?  My answer...being a Big is amazing.   This blog captures my journey of becoming a Big Brother (through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, BBBSMB), and my Little's journey of growing up.  
Read the full blog at
I have actually been a Little for 27 years (and still am).  I talk to my Big, Paul, almost every week.  I met Paul when I was 9 years old.  Life was hard back then.  I lived with my 5 brothers and my mother in inner-city Boston.  But Paul became my Big, and changed my life.  He became a light, flickering in my pretty dark world.  I ended up going to college, then went on to earn an MBA at Stanford University.  Today, I run a start-up with my fiancé.    
I have thought about becoming a Big on and off for the last 15 years.  Fear of the commitment, or of messing a kid up, or of just not having enough time has stopped me.  And this is crazy, because I know first-hand how beneficial it is to have a Big, yet I still had all of these excuses not to do it.  
Then, in December 2014, I was invited to the Big Brother Holiday Party.  This opened my eyes...I came face to face with a couple hundred Allen's (that me!).  Little kids who have nothing, yet still had huge smiles across their faces, running around with their Bigs.  The experience pushed me over the edge.  No more excuses.
The very next day, I signed up.  
This blog will capture my experiences of becoming a Big, and expose the truth about how truly rewarding and fulfilling it is to be a Big Brother.
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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

About Allen Arseneau

Allen Arseneau successfully completed multiple pilot studies to determine the efficacy of NELSA's brand of science-and-math-driven products tailored to benefit senior living. NELSA is committed to manufacturing its product in the United States.

Preparing for his career, Mr. Arseneau earned a BS in chemical engineering from Northeastern University and an MBA from Stanford University. He later served as president of the Boston Alumni Chapter of Stanford Business School, in which he organized networking events for fellow alumni.

In his leisure time, Allen Arseneau maintains a number of hobbies and interests, such as hiking and camping with his wife and daughter. Additionally, he likes to help and support fellow entrepreneurs navigate the scary waters of starting a business. Having grown up in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Mr. Arseneau volunteers as a Big Brother at the Massachusetts Bay chapter ( and chronicles his adventures with his Little Brother at