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What Makes a Strong Leader

What Makes a Strong Leader

Working in non-profits for 12+ years, you learn that it is essential that everyone pitch in

As executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County (Mass.), Danielle Letourneau-Therrien, ’00, is willing to roll up her sleeves and do what needs to be done. She believes that’s what makes a good leader.

“We can’t all just sit around being big picture thinkers, we have to get things done. I can do that. I can hustle,” Letourneau-Therrien said. “Working in non-profits for 12+ years, you learn that it is essential that everyone pitch in. Sometimes, the executive director has to pick up the mail.”

Her work, in the most impoverished county in Massachusetts, is challenging. The organization finds adult role models for children in need of mentors.

“These kids may be having difficulty in school or they may have a lot of siblings and not get that one on one attention, some are being raised by grandparents because their parents lost custody, some suffer from abuse or neglect. We match these children with a mentor in one of our three programs,” Letourneau-Therrien explained.

As executive director, she supervises professional case managers and coordinates with the national office of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. She is the public face of the organization and is in charge of development and fundraising.

“I am constantly changing gears,” she said. “We only have six employees, including me, and we serve about 150 kids.”

Letourneau-Therrien has high expectations for herself, which she learned at Meredith.

“I gained confidence in my abilities, and I learned that it is good to try something you may not be good at on the first try … revise, rethink, and don’t settle.”

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