When it comes to power dynamics and influencing others, former dominatrix Kasia Urbaniak is a seasoned professional. Now, she’s harnessing the skills honed in her past profession – combined with lessons learned in martial arts and Taoism – to empower women.

Her lessons, though, aren’t about dominating; rather, she focuses on leveling imbalances between men and women, particularly in the workplace.

Urbaniak and partner Ruben Flores – a founding member of NYC Medics, a global disaster relief programme that offers aid in conflict zones – combined their passion for helping underrepresented populations and started the Academy in 2013. The small, informal classes were advertised solely by word of mouth and held in her New York City apartment. Today, she’s selling out workshops and offering classes online to cater to a wider audience.

Video by Sebastian Diaz and S.J. Velasquez. Additional editing by Raisa Camargo.

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