“When I realized that 2012 was a leap year, I began to wonder how — and if – there was a way to invite people around the globe to take their own risks to make something in their lives better, share what they are learning, and tell their personal stories,” said Saad.
The impetus for The Leapyear Project was Saad’s desire to get an MBA and the realization that the prices and options didn’t fit his needs. After spending five years working with middle school and high school students in the suburbs of Chicago, he realized he wanted more schooling around non-profit management, but knew a formal program wouldn’t work financially. Instead of giving up, he responded to the challenge by creating a self-made MBA in design, business, and social change through 12 apprenticeships/
Since January, Saad has been globe-trotting and shadowing entrepreneurs to learn how companies and individuals utilize their resources and influence to positively impact communities. He has worked alongside global architecture firm NBBJ including their clients Microsoft & Google, he led an artist in residency program on a farm in Costa Rica founded by friends from NASA, and traveled to Egypt for a week-long journalistic venture to find non-profits who are doing positive work amidst the turmoil in the Middle East, all to help support and work towards his mission to create a unique MBA program that suited his specific needs. His travels and experiences have awarded him the opportunity to learn alongside teams and leaders at companies like Doejo, Plywood People, Threadless, La Choza Del Mundo, NBBJ, Fifty and Fifty, Urban Offering, and Project 7.
"Victor joined the Threadless team in March as our community partners manager," said Jake Nickell, Founder and Chief Community Officer of Threadless. "We believed in his mission and what he was doing as part of The Leapyear Project and we were thrilled to support him in his endeavor to create change not only in his life but to challenge people to create change in their own life as well."
Saad’s “leap” – leaving a job he loved to take the biggest risk he’s ever taken – was just one story of what has become a global community of people in more than 15 countries taking risks with a mission to improve the world. From adoption to starting a corporate charity foundation to searching for long lost family members, all of these stories are finding a place on www.LeapYearProject.org.
“This project is more than just about what I have done, am doing, or even will do. People have taken far greater risks for good, and there are people who will come up with more amazing risks than I can even imagine. I simply hope that this year marks the beginning for you to take your risk—small or large, long or short. I hope that this project becomes a part of how you tell your story, motivate others, and—more than anything—change our world for the better,” said Saad.
Saad’s vision is to compile a book of these meaningful stories written by students, neighbors, parents, teachers, doctors, businessmen, strangers and friends. He has launched a Kickstarter campaign - http://www.kickstarter.com/
To take the leap and share your story, visit www.leapyearproject.org.
To pre-order and back The Leapyear Project book, visit - http://www.kickstarter.com/
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Megan Richards Martin
Natalie Campbell Stanichuk