Skip to main content


Full LEO Series Launching in February 22nd, 2023

This upcoming LEO training is a partnership with New York Foundation & we are committed to supporting community organizing in New York. As such, LEO 2023 will be offered to current NYF grantees free of cost.



the moment we are in

For over 50 years

social justice work has sought to galvanize peoples primarily through identifying self-interest. The integration of somatics into a social justice framework gives us new tools to look deeper & understand more holistically how & why individuals & collectives are primed to take some actions & unlikely to take others. By broadening our understanding & analysis of our communities with a somatics lens, we become more capable of moving our communities from a collective center rather than a time-limited self-interest basis. On a myopic level, somatics allow us to see our patterns on a deeper level that can directly inform our organizational & movement strategies. On a broad level, somatics beckons us to put forth humanity and the development of our collective humanity at the forefront of social justice work.

developed by an organizer & master trainer

UP’s principal, Rusia Mohiuddin

pioneered the integration of somatics into an organizing framework. With 8+ years of frontline organizing, 4 years of leading grassroots organizations, & 15+ years of training beginner to experienced organizers, Rusia has taken her vast community organizing & leadership development mastery to develop a new holistic model of organizing for the 21st century called Embodied Organizing.

learn more about rusia


LEO pilot program began in 2015 and lasted for 3 years. the official launched was 2019. below are all the LEO cohorts to date.

gossip... and it's all true!



Embodied Organizing (EO) is a comprehensive model for community organizers, designed for both new and experienced organizers, that seeks to develop skills, with somatic and embodied leadership lenses, to develop effective organizers while uniquely cultivating leadership that creates necessary balance and self-care so organizers feel and are able to do movement work for the long haul.

with the theoretical

The LEO Intensive, following in the tradition established by its creator, Rusia Mohiuddin, takes on a two-pronged approach in developing skilled organizers:

  1. Theoretical learning of a broad set of organizing skills and healing, embodied leadership, and self-care methodologies; and
  2. Deepening theoretical learning through application and practice to add a critical layer of experiential learning to deepen and enhance overall organizing knowledge.

Embodied Leadership

At universal partnership, we believe in espousing in character, action, & relationships, the values & principles at the core of our being. Embodied Leadership is the deep commitment to continuously cultivate leadership qualities acutely aligned with your values and principles towards developing and sustaining authentic relationships. We do this so we are acutely aligned with the core values that allow us to be who and how we want to be in the world.

missed the webinar?
watch the replay

Play Video


join our FREE informational webinar to learn more + get answers
AUGUST 5th, 2019 @ 2:00 P.M (EST)



rusia mohiuddin

master trainer

Rusia N. Mohiuddin, based in New York, is a master trainer/facilitator & somatic coach who pioneered the integration of somatics into an organizing framework. Her current mission, through UP, has been developing a holistic model for social justice change work that places in its center the necessary transformation of social change agents. Rusia brings a unique style to creating pathways for individuals to bring their best selves forward when enacting social change in their organizations & communities.

Rusia has developed a model for community organizing, called Embodied Organizing, and a model for coaching, called Embodied Coaching. She uses both in her teacher-training program, Warriors for Embodied Liberation (WEL), students of which serve as apprentices for all practicing justice retreats.

jaritza geigel


As a young black womyn growing up in a quickly gentrifying community, experiencing systemic and institutional oppression, like so many of my peers, I found myself drowning. I was lucky enough to find a home in the Youth Power Project (YPP) of MRNY where I was able to begin my re-education and reintegration into my community that I had been living in, but also felt hidden from. YPP was and still remains my family where I learned key principles and values essential to any leader – trust, compassion, honesty, accountability, self-love and sustainability. All exactly in that order.

As a member of MRNY, I found myself working collaboratively with my peers and organizers to coordinate local, citywide, and national youth organizing events through the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC) and the Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ). A few years later, I had the amazing opportunity to become part of the YPP team as an organizer on staff. MRNY at the time was the coordinating anchor organization of AEJ. I took on the role of event planning and logistics for AEJ national convenings at 19 years old. MRNY saw leadership and skills that I didn’t even realize were being cultivated in myself at the time. With each convening wanting to meet the needs of all the communities that I would be serving I was committed to making sure that each convening, meeting, training, action, youth networking event was better than the last and it was. This was one of the many moments during my organizing career where I remember feeling, seeing, and embracing joy from a job well done. While wearing my coordinating and logistics hat, I also still had to show up as an organizer and support the young people.

The extension of trust, compassion, honesty, and accountability that was given to me as a youth leader was critical to my successful experience as an organizer. I also realized the importance of cultivating self love and learning to be more sustainable if I was going to continue to want to serve my community for the long haul. I had the opportunity to further my professional development by participating in an 11 week intensive training: Leaders for Embodied Organizing (LEO), with Rusia Mohiuddin from Universal Partnership. LEO was the integration of somatics & organizing skills. It was exactly what I needed. I came back from the training ready, grounded, and understanding just exactly how I wanted to continue to work with young people from various socio economic and health backgrounds within in my community.

2017, I spent it assisting a new local organization in the South Bronx build out their youth program, bring on a permanent staff for the Youth Team, assist in their year long development plan, and assisted in the creation and facilitation of their first ever youth summer program where stipends were raised through a grassroots effort. Even as I have since transitioned out of my role the relationship with the leaders & staff brought on continue to live on.

During this time I was also a student-apprentice of Warrior’s for Embodied Liberation (WEL). WEL is an apprenticeship program developed and lead by Universal Partnership's principle, Rusia Mohiuddin. WEL is a 2-year training program in which the students learn and practice the core methodologies for embodied training and coaching. as a part of their studies, students explore, learn, and develop pieces on our understanding of many things related to change work. One of the first points of entry, into understand the work UP does, is human nature. what is human behavior and how does change happen? It has been and continues to be a privilege to share space with mentors & peers that seek to change the world with integrity, resilience, humor, & love at the center. It is the breath of fresh air & understanding that I have been seeking.

Organizing is a small world and I have had the honor to meet & share space with former Picture the Homeless members (PTH) during my leadership as young organizer. After taking a much needed break and through intentional reflection I felt ready to come back into the organizing movement and I feel lucky to have found another home with Picture the Homeless (PTH). There is already so much richness and authenticity! I am looking forward to sitting, listening, building & creating lasting impactful change with PTH members and staff.

WEL Student-Teachers

WEL Coaches

Warriors for Embodied Liberation (WEL) is a teacher-training program of universal partnership, designed and facilitated by rusia mohiuddin. WEL is a 2-year program that guides participants in a intense change process as the grounding to learning Embodied Coaching and training.

Second year participants, student-teachers, will serve as the coaches for LEO participants.


skills + healing + self-care + mindfulness = balanced organizers

An overarching goal for the program includes the integration of practical skills that support organizers to create more balance and self-care into their work to ensure individuals are capable of doing social justice work for the long haul. Broadly, the integration of somatics into the framework of organizing will address this need as well as including contemplative learning and practices in each session of the intensive. The design and development of the program is geared to take the rich lessons from community organizing over the last 50 years and reimagine a program that deeply integrates somatics and contemplative practices into every facet of organizing work.

While the needs of each organization is different & UP shapes the work to meet these needs, there is often a common grounding all our work builds on.

For the LEO Intensive, the following goals are the grounding upon which all subsequent customized work is developed from:

  • New to seasoned organizers develop key skills necessary to perform grounded, balanced organizing work with greater efficiency & impact;
  • Organizers simultaneously learn contemplative skills & develop practices that support & guide their work towards balance & mature leadership; and
  • In combining theory with practice coupled with greater impact through self-care & balance, organizers develop healthy practices that allow for effective work over the long haul.

LEO Intensive: Structure

While the structure & the flow of the intensive can be adjusted to fit the needs of any organization, the following is the standard & ideal structure for a LEO Intensive cohort:

  • minimum 2 months of planning & prep with leads at the organization
  • launch intensive with a 3-day overnight retreat
  • weekly daylong LEO trainings for 8 consecutive weeks
  • graduation & celebrations

This will be the structure for the Spring 2019 LEO launch.

Some of the principles that guide the work of UP and what we will achieve through the LEO intensive includes Rusia’s Embodied Leadership methodology which asserts:

  • Internal development only for the sole purpose of external impact does not lead to long-term change;
  • Focusing on changing you is what allows any of us to authentically change the world; and,
  • Authentic, long-term change cannot be birthed from old patterns that are shaped by the very systems we seek to change.

The LEO Intensive is, in short, impactfully intense

The LEO Intensive will develop the skills of organizers that are required to shape individuals to be the absolute best version of themselves they can be personally and as organizers. The following is a list of skills organizers will develop over the course of the intensive:

  • History of community organizing + other social change methodologies
  • Roles + responsibilities of an organizer
  • Understanding power dynamics
  • Effective base building + outreach
  • Effective 1:1 Meetings
  • Somatic leadership development
  • Effective meeting facilitation
  • Time management
  • Develop goal-oriented work plans
  • Somatic campaign develop
  • Developing campaign plans
  • Somatic development of media + messaging
  • Direct action + events
  • Arts in organizing + puppet making
  • Public speaking
  • Grassroots fundraising
  • Coalition + movement building

self-awareness & deep focus for the win

The integration of somatics, embodied leadership, and contemplative practices into a community organizing framework, all interwoven into skills development, offers the critical components required to cultivate the kind of leaders that are skilled and grounded to catalyze real change in local communities without compromise or sacrifice.

The LEO intensive has created pathways for organizers to gain proven effective community organizing skills sets that center their humanity, while not losing focus on effectiveness, impact, and efficiency of the work that serves the most disenfranchised communities.

Geared for social change agents, the mind your gap video is a step-by-step how-to on meditation tool for developing leadership superpowers. This methodology was developed by Rusia Mohiuddin, specifically with organizers in mind.

Play Video

watch mind the gap

healing requires alignment + balance

Practicing & cultivating alignment of our core values with our thoughts & actions, along with real, generative balance, allows us to be in a constant state of healing. This critical for organizers, as more and more of us live the very issues we organizer around.

Rusia has innovated a methodology for embodied leadership that invites us to explore what values & principles are in their individual, organizational & community’s “core”. This understanding can lead the way to cultivating the kind of leadership necessary for their social change work to succeed while ensuring that those doing the work are living aligned and balanced lives in the field & at home.


Like meditation, this “core” work is at the center of embodied leadership & therefore at the center of developing effective organizers. We use this work to ensure LEO organizers are living & creating pathways to be who and how they want to be in the world.

Play Video

building the core

we need one another. we need all of us

Organizing & movement work can oddly be very isolating. The LEO Intensive creates a community of organizers, who develop & grow together, resulting in lifelong friendships & support systems.

Evidence shows that as social justice leaders sacrifice physical & emotional health to serve vulnerable communities, they find themselves unhappy & dissatisfied with the conditions in which they work, their work process & the results & impact of their work.

The LEO community is designed to build safety nets of support for each organizer so folks dont have to create or seek out support in the midst of crises, it’s already built in & available.

LEO organizers will also have a community of coaches, trained in Embodied Coaching, to support them in their development & change process.

program cost

sliding scale for every organization

The staff of the LEO Intensive combined have over 63 years or experience. The value of the program costs UP is $7000|per participant. In order to make this training accessible to every organization, we have developed the following sliding scale based on organizational budget:

annual org budget is >$500k



Up to 2 participants

annual org budget is $501-999k



Up to 3 participants

annual org budget is <$1M



Up to 5 participants

NYF grantee



Unlimited participants


(LEO 2023- all sessions will be virtual)

all sessions will be held via zoom on Wednesdays from 5:00-8:00pm

  1. February 22nd, 2023
  2. March 8th, 2023
  3. March 29th, 2023
  4. April 12th, 2023
  5. April 26th, 2023
  6. May 3rd, 2023
  7. Graduation & Celebration: May 10th, 2023


powered by Typeform