NECN In Focus: Getting finances in order

Putting finances in order is a popular new year’s resolution. There are 3 steps to keep in mind to help achieve your goal.

My Goodbye to ONEin3 – Farewell Friends!


After nearly 4 years of good times, Advisory Council recommendations, business plan presentations, good friends and great volunteers, I bid you all a fond farewell. That’s right, Friday is my last day as Manager of ONEin3 Boston and man does it feel weird to write those words.

During my time as Manager I’ve gotten to know literally thousands of amazing young Bostonians from all over the world, all types of backgrounds, representing every community imaginable.

I’ve learned a million lessons from my mentor and great friend Isabel Hardy, who also happens to be the brain who conceived of ONEin3 and set it on its way.

I’ve worked for and with the best Mayor in America, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, a man who believes fully in the idea that if you want to address the most important issues, you should go out and ask the people what they think.

I’ve participated, alongside 100 past and present members, in ONEin3 Boston Mayor’s Advisory Council work that has yielded tremendous programs and recommendations, from Neighborhood Nights and ONEin3 Gets Around to housing guides to plans for making the BPS School Selection Process more transparent. This year, I have no doubt the Council will produce at its highest level ever and I am proud to have been able to spend time with them.

I’ve played in a ONEin3 Wiffle Ball tournament on City Hall Plaza with our friends at Social Boston Sports and Phoenix Media Group. And the view from my sweet cube at ONEin3 HQ (til Friday) is of the most baller trophy anywhere (I didn’t win…I just stole the trophy!).

I’ve watched the entrepreneurial community in Boston evolve, challenge itself, grow and push the City toward a strategy for incubating our best startups in the Innovation District.

I’ve grown up with Boston Young Entrepreneurs, which was born out of Panos Panay’s civic commitment and Isabel’s vision. The BYE crew has taught me that entrepreneurs are a breed apart. They are people who quit their day jobs to scrape by on no cash. They wake up early and go to bed late and believe that the solution to any problem lies just around the corner. It will appear if and when they focus and work hard/smart enough. And best of all, entrepreneurs believe in supporting each other through good times and bad.

I’ve learned how to manage my budget with Jennifer Lane, ONEin3 Money and I wish I could tell you I’m loaded now but the truth is that Jenn and Mint have simply saved me from bankruptcy stemming from too many take out orders and rounds at the bar.

I’ve gone to events, volunteer opportunities, seminars and speaking engagements organized by our all-star ONEin3 Neighborhood Group leaders in every neighborhood of Boston.

I’ve discussed the future of government service with the bright minds in the Boston Urban Mechanics Program and the ONEin3 City Network.

I’ve worked with the best partners ever in Sonicbids, The Second Glass, Urban Adventours, Audissey Media, Massachusetts Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Boston Home Center and Rental Housing Resource Center, The Office of Business Development, YAVA, Boston Cares, YWCA, Young Non-Profit Professionals Network, Americorps Alumni, MassINC, Time Out Boston, Social Boston Sports, MassChallenge, Shoestring MagazineExemplar Law and so so many more.

I’ve had the most capable and hard working interns imaginable in Matt Brownell, Samantha Vidal, Heather Green and Kendall Kirby, not to mention the craziest soccer fan in the world Nitjyot Saroan. Not my intern, but close enough.

And most recently, I’ve had the privilege to read the thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams and stories of a tremendous stable of young writers.

In short, I wouldn’t give a minute of the last 4 years back.

So, my fellow young Bostonians, THANK YOU for riding along with me, doing all the work, coming up with all the good ideas and challenging me, the City, the Mayor and your peers to be better, smarter and more fun. You are the proof that Boston is a great city.

I hear all the time about the importance of grooming our future leaders. The implication is that when we’re old enough and it’s our turn, we will take Boston to great heights.

If I’ve learned anything at ONEin3, it’s that ONEin3ers are not future leaders. We are NOW leaders. So go get it!

While I am officially departing (although I’ll carry on with a few things while a replacement is identified), I know that ONEin3 is in great hands. You have built this and it’s yours to drive and grow.

Lastly, if it’s not clear yet, I sincerely love all of you. I consider everyone associated with ONEin3 a friend. Please stay in touch. You can reach me anytime on Facebook, Twitter or email at


Us vs. Them: The Appeal of the Urban Idea

Happy New Year’s everyone! I realize that a lot of the topics that I have discussed and will discuss will be sometimes confrontational and often something of a downer. I will discuss the things that break us apart as a city, the things that make us separate and different.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I’ve decided to start 2011 off on a lighter note and discuss the one sure thing that brings us (the target audience of this site, that is) together: living here. And beyond living here, folks our age have, for the most part, chosen to be here. Some of us have grown up here and chosen to stay, some are here for school, others for work, or family. But all of us are here and not somewhere else and, regardless the of the reason: there is a reason. These reasons are what I’d like to explore with you in this article and I hope you’ll share your own reasons as well.

Recently I came upon a beautiful description of the reasons one chooses to live or stay here written by a far more eloquent Dorchester native, Dennis Lehane. In his new novel, Moonlight Mile, he considers that… (sorry for the long quote)”

“..More than one friend had suggested we move to the suburbs — homes were cheaper, schools were safer, property taxes and car insurance premiums were lower.

[We] grew up together in the city, though. We took to picket fences and split-level ranches like we took to shag carpeting and Ultimate Fighting. Which is to say, not so much. … I prefer subways — you pop down the hole on one side of the city, pop back up on the other side, and you never have to hit your horn, not once. I don’t like mowing lawns or trimming hedges or raking the mowed lawns or the hedge trimmings. I don’t like going to malls or eating in chain restaurants. In fact, the appeal of the suburban idea — both in a general and particular sense — escapes me.

I like the sound of jackhammers, the bleat of sirens in the night, twenty-four hour diners, graffiti, coffee served in cardboard cups, steam exhaled through manhole covers, cobblestone, tabloid newspapers, the Citgo sign, someone yelling “Tax-i” on a cold night, corner boys, sidewalk art, Irish pubs, and guys named Sal.

Not much of which I can find in the suburbs, at least not to the degree I’ve grown accustomed to…

So we decided to raise our child in the city. We bought a small house on a decent street. It has a tiny yard and it’s a short walk to a playground (short walk to a pretty hairy housing project, too, but that’s another matter). We know most of our neighbors and [my daughter] can already name five subway stops on the Red Line, in order, a feat which fills her old man with bottomless pride.”

None of the things Lehane recounts are of any real importance and certainly not things you’ll hear described in the real estate pages trying to bring people into Boston, but I have to say, I’m right with him. I have often talked about living elsewhere, traveling the globe, but the thought of raising a child anywhere but Boston (or a city like it) has never entered my mind.

I went to a high school (the same as Mr. Lehane in fact) that attracted kids from all across the state, and a good majority came from the epitome of this suburban ideal. I would sometimes visit their massive South or North Shore houses and marvel at the size of them, the expanses of land, the pools, the cars, the giant TVs, and the sheer distance between neighboring houses (particularly important during a party). But, in the end, I wouldn’t trade my hometown or upbringing for anyone else’s.

There’s something special about growing up in Boston. What it lacks in space, it makes up for in

character. Everyone has a grandfather or an uncle or a cousin who grew up in Southie or Dorchester (it seems), but no matter what neighborhood you grew up in, despite these huge differences, most of us have no problem identifying who actually grew up here. The character is unlike anything else. I love that about Boston. I love that our streets reserve the right to stop being themselves then pick up again three blocks over. I love that our pubs have more history than most city hall’s. I love that we have two JJ Foley’s and zero Walmarts. I love that Fenway has only a handful of seats that face the action, but isstill the best place in the world to watch a baseball game. I love that wherever you are in the city, you can probably walk home if you really had to. I love that even though we may have the worst architecture, there is no beating the 360 skyline view from the Mass Ave Bridge on a cold winter night. I love all of the different neighborhoods and blocks and corners. I love how different they can be from the ones across town, but still have that same character. This character, this appeal of the urban idea, is what has kept me here.

What has kept you here?