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Building Unity

Leading a Non-Profit from Spark to Succession
Narrated by: Richard Lam
Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins

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Build an organization that is growth-minded, values-based, and innovative using the six steps to “responsible impact.”

At age 16, Michael "Piecez" Prosserman, a professional b-boy (breakdancer), completed a school project that would grow to become a hip-hop-inspired mental health charity with global reach. Through a process of continuous discovery and reflection, Prosserman and his team grew UNITY to the point where it benefited over a quarter of a million young people. 

In Building Unity, Prosserman breaks down the six steps to discovering “responsible impact” and building an organization that is growth-minded, values-based, and reflective of the needs of its community. Using stories of his own evolution, learning, and growth as a leader over 15 years, Prosserman parallels the creativity found in breakdancing with the innovation needed to build a sustainable non-profit.

Six steps to discovering “responsible impact”: 

  • Spark is the inspiration, the big “why,” the motivation to wake up and do something.
  • Build is the testing ground to clarify ideas, understand community needs, and challenge assumptions.
  • Trust involves building the culture of your organization, leading by example, and hiring people with dreams. Trust sets the stage for growth by empowering awesome people.
  • Grow is about finding the right size for your organization to create a responsible impact.
  • Evolve is knowing when to step back so others can step forward by building a succession plan that leaves your organization in good hands.
  • Re-Ignite is building from past experience and lighting the next spark within yourself.
©2020 Michael ‘Piecez’ Prosserman (P)2020 ECW Press

Critic reviews

“A powerful and personal biography, with a lesson for all of us on each page. Brave, poignant and practical, an inspiring road map for a new generation of leaders.” (Seth Godin, author of This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See)

“The world we live in is transforming before our eyes in extraordinary ways. To help our divided communities begin to heal, we need people like Mike Prosserman. Mike’s vulnerability and passion for his work comes through in every word. As you read his unique story, you’ll witness the kind of perseverance we all wish for when tackling our own challenges - and you’ll be surprised at how much you learn about hip hop culture along the way. Read this book and get inspired to make a difference in your world.” (Ken Blanchard, co-author of The New One Minute Manager and Servant Leadership in Action

“He endures high levels of anxiety around every corner, the son of a schizophrenic mother and a father suffering from Parkinson’s. To describe him as an average student would be charitable and with three fused vertebrae in his neck, the notion of an athletic career should have been a non-starter. ‘Piecez’ defied the odds and became world renowned in the breakin' world (break dancing for the rest of us). Perhaps a hero to some. That is not what defines his alter ego Michael Prosserman, who has stepped up and built Unity, a non-profit that uses breakin' to reach teens in underserved communities, building values, self-esteem, and leadership. His philosophy, embodied in his new marvellous book, can be summarized in one line: "Our work was about contribution not attribution." His humility and honesty make Building Unity a worthy read. A great reminder for all of us.” (Norman Bacal, best-selling author of O'Dell's Fall and Breakdown

“Michael Prosserman has written, in his authentic voice, a timely book about the importance of determination, creativity, and vulnerability in leadership...and in life. A grassroots triumph!” (Sharon Avery, President & CEO of Toronto Foundation) 

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