Before the birth of Universal Empress, its founder, Nadine McNeil, discovered yoga while working with the United Nations (UN), practicing regularly to find balance and respite from the job’s emotional and physical demands.
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Nadine lived in Canada and the United States before joining the UN in 1986. During her 22 years with the organization, her assignments included stints in Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait, and in 2004 she served as head logistics specialist for UNICEF in response to Indonesia’s tsunami. After the earthquake in 2010, Nadine led Global Volunteer Network initiatives in Haiti, and has also worked in the Netherlands with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. These and other experiences rooted Nadine’s continued devotion to activism.
By 2012, during a particularly trying assignment in the Central African Republic, Nadine decided to step away from her ‘rescuer’ role. She took a leap of faith to commit to her path as a healer and build the Universal Empress brand.
Since the inception of Universal Empress, Nadine has shared yoga with a wide cross section of people around the world – from international conferences, to low income communities.
In 2015, Nadine joined the family at the Yoga Barn in Bali, Indonesia where she teaches regularly. Serendipitously, Indonesia is also where she first immersed herself in spirituality and yoga while on assignment with the UN. “I have come full circle”, Nadine beams.