Big Brothers Big Sisters' CEO Marcus Allen to Share Secrets of Success During Dine & Dish Benefit at the Bercy in Ardmore

Business and Professional

March 20, 2019

Marcus Allen, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, will headline Dine & Dish at The Bercy on Monday, March 25, 2019, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Dine & Dish is the Main Line’s monthly benefit dinner presented by Realtor and tastemaker Michelle Leonard. Guests will experience an intimate evening with Allen as he dishes on secrets of his success, discusses overcoming adversity and raises funds for his organization. The evening begins at 6:00pm with a “meet and greet” reception, followed by a seated dinner presented by Executive Chef Joseph Monnich. Allen follows recent sold out Dine & Dish events that featured Mary Dougherty, the owner of Philadelphia area Nicole Miller stores, and  Philadelphia Film Office Executive Director and CEO Andrew Greenblatt. Tickets are on sale now for $50 per person, and include a glass of sparkling wine, a three-course dinner, tax and gratuity. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence. Contact The Bercy at (610) 589-0500 to reserve tickets, or visit www.thebercy.com/upcomingevents/2019/marcusallen.

“Marcus Allen is a visionary leader, which is why I invited him to speak at this month’s Dine & Dish,” said Dine & Dish Founder Realtor Michelle Leonard. “Marcus is CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, which in 2018 served nearly 4,000 local children! Marcus used his passion to overcome adversity and create change in the community. He emanates the inspiring personality Dine & Dish was created to share with the community.”

For March’s program, Allen will discuss his career journey and what it is like being a major authority at one the Greater Philadelphia region’s largest and most experienced youth mentoring associations.

Allen, raised in a single-parent household, experienced the hardships of both rural and urban poverty as a child. When Allen was nine-years-old he met his lifelong coach and mentor who helped to lay his educational foundation and assisted in helping Allen prevail poverty. In April 2013, Allen became the first African-American CEO in BBBS Independence Region’s 100-year history. He has since gained the agency ample exposure, secured additional donation-based funding and increased the number of children served throughout the region annually.

“It is the responsibility of BBBS Independence Region to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach their highest potential,” said Allen, spearhead to the creation of MENTOR Independence Region, an initiative designed to strengthen youth mentoring through partnership. “I know firsthand that one-on-one mentoring is a major part of the solution, which is why creating MENTOR Independence Region was so important to me.”

A portion of every dollar collected on the night of the event will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence. Dinner for each Dine & Dish will be specially  presented by Executive Chef Joe Monnich and his talented culinary team. Dine & Dish’s monthly wine selections will be curated by The Bercy’s Beverage Manager and award-winning Sommelier Steven Gullo. The menu for March features:

French Onion Soup
Brussel Sprouts
Tuna Tartar

Lemon Chicken White Meat
Boeuf Bourguignon
Roasted Halibut
Cauliflower Bolognese

Chef's Sampler

The Bercy is located at 7 E Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore. Complimentary valet parking is available on Station Road right off Lancaster Avenue.

For April, Dine & Dish hits a homerun the Official Phillie Phanatic Tom Burgoyne on Monday, April 22nd. Advance tickets and reservations are required by contacting The Bercy at 610-589-0500, or by visiting Eventbrite and searching for “Dine & Dish.”

Link for April:  


The Bercy is the crown jewel in Ardmore’s award-winning culinary scene. Executive Chef Joseph Monnich offers a modern take on the French brasserie with classically inspired cuisine, wood-fired rotisserie, fresh pastas, and steakhouse style cuts. The expansive layout features an open mezzanine, 20-foot windows, and a raw bar with fresh seafood displays.


Main Line Realtor and tastemaker Michelle Leonard is one of the region’s master connectors and premiere realtors - specializing in properties on the Main Line, in Center City, Chester County, Delaware County and Montgomery County through Century 21 Advantage Gold.

Michelle passionately connects people with their dream homes - and prides herself on introducing them to new and exciting neighborhoods, restaurants and experiences. She strives to make her clients, both buyers and sellers, outrageously happy by wearing many hats to make them feel like they are wearing a crown. She also is known for her signature hat collection, that has affectionately earned her the title of “The Hat Lady.”

On her mission to bring people together, Michelle created the sold-out and buzz-filled Tasty Talks monthly luncheon series that showcases secrets and stories from our region’s newsrooms. Guests salivate over tales from the biggest names in regional media.

With Dine & Dish, Leonard wanted to share stories of inspiration in a new, exciting and larger way. Each month, she will team up with The Bercy and bring the region’s most influential leaders to the heart of Downtown Ardmore. Leonard will not only partner with her favorite restaurant, but she will continue cementing her role as a master connector in our region.

Chief Executive Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence

In April of 2013, Marcus Allen became the first African American Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence (BBBS Independence), in its celebrated 100-year history. Today, the organization offers youth mentoring programs to children in Southeastern PA and Southern NJ. It is the largest one-to-one mentoring program in the Commonwealth and the third largest Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency in the nation.

Allen is a visionary leader, spending much of his time and effort defining how BBBS Independence can have an even greater impact on the over 200,000 children facing adversity in the Greater Philadelphia region. In March of 2015, Allen spearheaded the creation of the MENTOR Independence Region (MIR), a unique initiative designed to strengthen youth mentoring and communities through collaboration and partnership. Powered by BBBS Independence, MIR is designed to help nearly 135 youth mentoring organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania improve their practices through training and technical assistance, stakeholder engagement, advocacy and data collection.

Allen has also driven ingenuity by establishing mentoring programs for difficult to reach populations, including Back on Track (mentoring youth in the juvenile justice system), Bigs in Blue (police officers mentoring youth in their communities, the LGBTQ Initiative (mentoring youth through the Gender and Sexual Alliance program), and Mentor 2.0 (mentoring youth through an e-mentoring platform designed to help them navigate a path to college).

In 2016, Marcus Allen was appointed to the PA State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by Senator Patrick Toomey’s office. In this role, he is responsible for advising the Commission regarding civil rights and discrimination matters in the Commonwealth of PA. Allen currently serves on the board of directors for United Way, and in 2013, was appointed to serve on the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity oversight board.

Allen is a graduate of Temple University and received his MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix. He began his college career at Paine College on a General Motors Engineering Scholarship while playing basketball. He is a two-time inductee into the Paine College Sports Hall of Fame (2000, 2014) and played basketball professionally in Sweden, Israel, Finland, and Argentina before moving to Philadelphia.