BE Modern Man: Passion to Purpose, Meet Marcus Allen
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Name: Marcus Allen

What is your profession: Retired professional basketball player, current CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, Entrepreneur

What is your age: 44

Since Marcus Allen could remember, he believed his purpose has been to help others. Now the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern, P.A., Allen continues to walk in his purpose as he heads the largest one-to-one mentoring program in the Commonwealth and the third largest BBBS agency in the nation. 

The first African American to serve as CEO of this storied organization, Allen builds on our rich history of achievements and milestones. “I am inspired by the human spirit to overcome,” Allen tells BE Modern Man. “I find myself drawn to people who have experienced immense pain and challenges, yet they still manage to overcome.” 

Allen’s mother and late grandmother overcame great odds, and his grandfather took care of both his immediate and extended family, while only having a sixth grade education. “My mother raised my younger brother, younger sister, and I in deep poverty, while helping others in our neighborhood, throughout my childhood.  Her generosity and gratitude inspired me to do the same.” 

Growing up surrounded by family reinforced the idea of helping others throughout his life; however it wasn’t until seven years ago that Allen realized his divine role. He says, “It was the moment that I decided to leave the for-profit world and dedicate myself to nonprofit work full-time that my purpose was solidified.”

Just as Allen walks in his purpose, he believes that we all have the ability to be successful, as long as we continuously pursue self-development and learning. “I don’t think all passions can be turned into ‘profitable’ businesses, but there are moments in our lives when we discover that we can profit from our natural talents and inclinations,” Allen tells BE Modern Man. “Finding out what our talent or passion is can be somewhat easy, while applying it to business is more difficult and complex.”

Leading an innovative and successful mentoring programming, Allen understands that his ability to connect and build bridges is what helps him to be recognized and valued amongst his peers. “People respect you when they see you are committed to helping others achieve success and develop. I have dedicated my life to helping children facing adversity. There is opportunity to make enormous impact with these kids, and most people I know want to be a part of that impact.”

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