Our WOrk:


Power-aware. Consent-driven. Relationship-centered.

Build With is a training, facilitation, and consulting practice led by Laurenellen McCann. We help organizations and collectives design and implement power-shifting community programs and evolve institutional cultures.

Our work is focused on power-aware solutions and strategies to collective problems. That means, whether we’re helping you improve communal outcomes for your public programming or realign your organization’s operations with your values, we’ll help get to the root of the structural and interpersonal issues at play within your programs, teams, and workplaces and make high impact changes that last.

Our work is guided by the movement principle “build with, not for”: the essential notion that meaningful social change is only possible when those most impacted by systems that need changing are the ones in charge of the arc of change. That means, although all our work is designed to help you better include your staff, teammates, and the communities you serve, the focus of our practice is not inclusion. It’s dismantling and disrupting patterns of exclusion and developing cultures of consent, power awareness, and accountability.

Our work is guided by context, and we take our charge to build with, not for seriously. That means, we’re not here to help you with inclusion. We’re here to help you dismantle patterns of exclusion.

We want to help you make high impact changes that last, and that means, we want to help you get to the root of the structural and interpersonal issues at play within your programs, teams, and workplaces. To do this, we’ll build with you, and we’ll help you do the same.

We have experience working with a wide array of organizations in a variety of fields and contexts. Past clients have included theatre companies, universities, libraries, community networks, artist collaboratives, U.S. local governments, neighborhood associations, think tanks, unions, direct action teams, non-profits, and more.

Learn more about what we can do for you, or explore more about our approach below.




Build With’s approach to design and organizing is informed by twelve years of field work, non-profit leadership and labor, peer learning, and research. We’ve learned from where traditional diversity trainings, “inclusion” initiatives, worker advocacy, and “community impact” programs fail to shift power (both within teams, and between institutions and communities), and we’ve tailored our services to respond.

Our approach to community work is non-extractive, and we very seriously ground our strategies and education work around communal partnership in rich understandings of context, consent, real people, and real resource (re)allocation. Our work is informed by best practices in relational organizing, research and design justice, and institutional trauma studies. We understand the complexity of how identity, oppression, history, and culture entwine and impact power dynamics on an interpersonal, organizational, and communal level. When we work, we base our efforts in the reality of these dynamics. We create different outcomes by centering consent, context, culture, and difference. transparent negotiation, and by supporting resource reallocation.

We are active members of the Design Justice National Network and strive to keep our work in alignment with the network principles. Find those here.


The word “community” gets thrown around quite a bit in both non- and for-profit spaces, so we want to be clear that when we say “community”, we’re not talking about some abstract feel-good projection of people, nor are we using coded language to refer to shallow diversity quotas that prop up the authenticity of white institutions.

For us, community is sacred. When we use the word, we are always referring to real people in real, complex, pre-existing or potential connection to one another. Rather than helping you “build” community, our work is designed to help you weave connections with and between communities — your own and others’ — to make long-lasting impact and necessary short term change.