Leah Meunier

LeahMeunier Headshot
  • What does your organization do?

    BBBS matches children ages 6 to 16 with caring adults who serve as mentors, advocates, resources, and guides. Volunteers (Bigs) commit to meeting with their mentees (Littles) 3 to 4 times per month for a minimum of one year. On average, our matches last 3 years and many last a lifetime. Our professional staff are there every step of the way to solve problems and support each match’s success. BBBS serves approximately 800 children annually in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties. Our proven model of one-to-one mentoring helps kids build the skills and capacities that lead to lifelong success.

    In addition to our core programming, BBBS offers a Big Futures program to support matches after high school graduation. By providing additional resources and support, this extended match mentorship helps youth navigate one of the most pivotal times in their lives– the transition into young adulthood. Big Futures supports matches around the three “E’s” – Education, Employment or Enlistment, and serves as a resource for youth wanting to attend college, enter the workforce or enlist in military service after high school.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    I was introduced to BBBS as a funded partner during my tenure at United Way for Greater Austin. From my time studying child and youth development, I knew the value in investing in prevention rather than remediating problems downstream. I also knew from personal experience how much of my success was due to the mentors in my life.
  • What drives your passion?

    Everyone deserves to have someone in their corner – to show up consistently, love and support them. I am driven to provide that experience to children who are often forgotten but are the future of our community.
  • Do you have a mentor or a role model?

    I’m so grateful for the strong mentors I’ve had throughout my life. My thesis advisor at Tulane and my dissertation advisor at UT were invaluable as mentors. Suzanne Anderson, my mentor through the OVCT buddy program, has been a lifeline as I’ve navigated my first year as a CEO. Being part of a federation devoted to mentoring, I’m also lucky enough to have a BBBS CEO mentor and a BBBS peer mentor, both of whom are always available to share advice or just to listen and commiserate.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    The biggest challenge can be making time for big picture thinking and strategic work when the day-to-day minutiae gets in the way. There is never enough time, so I can feel pulled in too many directions.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    Take problems seriously, but not personally.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    1. Give yourself grace. You have a lot to learn and you don’t need to apologize for that.
    2. Over communicate with your Board and don’t assume they’ve heard your message.
    3. Trust yourself and your unique leadership style.