Leveraging Technology, One Brave Step At A Time.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Posted March 20, 2020 from Philippines

As World Pulse Philippines Ambassadors were planning on how we can collectively promote World Pulse, we thought about recording a short introduction of ourselves using our respective dialects. It was later compiled into a video by sister Blanche. Watch here.

The experience of recording it was fun. I even joked I might consider becoming a Youtube vlogger because of it. 

Later, I also participated in World Pulse's #SheTransformsTech promotional video. It was a very empowering experience as well.

These two events plus World Pulse Philippines' Zoom meetings helped me became courageous in holding my first webinar entitled The Power of Empathy on March 14, 2020. 

The idea of streaming the webinar live via Facebook was quite daunting for me. There were many things that held me back. For one, I am aware of my limitations as a speaker since I am more comfortable expressing myself through writing. I am also conscious of how critical my countrymen are to those who are vlogging. There were actually thoughts of "you are not good enough" and "who do you think you are?" in the process of preparing for that event.

It was that time I understood how it takes bravery to show up and be vulnerable, which means not being able to control what the outcome would be. In my mind, I have to repeatedly say, "It is NOT the critic that counts....but the woman in the arena."

This morning, a week later, I watched the replay of my webinar for the first time. I know that I am my own worst critic, that I have this mild perfectionist in me, but I had to show compassion and grace to myself as I watched the video just as I would show support to any World Pulse sister. I took note of where I need to improve and told myself, "As a first timer, you did a great job."

First of all, I am happy that I shared about empathy, and there were viewers who appreciated it, my husband included. He is already intentional in showing empathy to me, to his workmates, and to the COVID-19 pandemic as a whole. He encouraged me to start my own YouTube channel so I can continue to share about the things I care about. Five other friends told me to do the same.

Again, the idea is quite daunting to put myself out there, but from personal experience, I have witnessed time and again how the courage to share our stories can create an impact on another woman. 

I took BS Community Development in college. One principle that I learn from the course is to "start from what you know; build on what you have." It is identifying what your current resources are and use them for social transformation.

With technology on our side, we can actually create online movements. Let us leverage online platforms to speak about our advocacies, one brave step at a time.  

Sharing to you the strategies provided by our World Pulse Changemakers on how to grow online movements: 


  • Believe in your power. 
  • Believe in your dream. 
  • Believe in the change you want to see. 
  • Believe in yourself. 
  • Believe in sisterhood.
  • Find your community and support them.
  • Pick a mentor who will inspire and encourage you.
  • Build a network you can fall back on when you doubt yourself.
  • Do not engage in unhealthy comparisons. 
  • Be comfortable with yourself - imperfections and all. 
  • You are growing with a sisterhood behind you.
  • Start! No matter how small. 
  • Make good use of online resources to stay safe and leverage opportunities.
  • Speak truth to unhealthy power.


In this season of community quarantines and lockdowns, I encourage you, dear sisters, to sit down, to reflect, and to plan on how you can start your online movement. While the world is focused on solving this pandemic, let us be ready to launch one online movement after another because "together we can change the future of technology and make it work for women".

This story was submitted in response to #SheTransformsTech.

Comments 27

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Sinyuy Geraldine
Mar 20
Mar 20

Hello Karen dear. Congratulations for that great first step. I wonder if I could do such a great job, but as you can testify, practice makes perfect. I think i should copy your idea and try to do same. We are here tonlearn from one another ans the idea of the video you did in you local languages is great. Thanks so much and I am glad to hear that yoir husband is so supportive of what you do. Give him a hug for thatv
empathy. I wish you the best and please ignore negative criticism and carry on with your blogs.
Lots of love,
Geraldine PhD

Hello, dear sister,

Thank you so much! Yes, of course, you can do it! Practice makes perfect, and practice makes us confident. :) Yes, please pursue the Youtube channel, dear. :) Let me know so I can subscribe to it.

My husband is indeed supportive. I wouldn't be on World Pulse if he isn't.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, dear sis. Let us pursue greater goals so we can inspire more women. :)

Leah Wangui Njuguna
Mar 21
Mar 21

Wow congratulations dear sister, that was a step in the right direction. Actually we are our own worst enemies, if we can believe and trust in ourselves, then take the bold one step, the sky is the limit. I will actually copy you especially by following the strategies you have highlighted. Keep up the good work now that you have the support of the most important person in your life-your husband.

Thank you, dear sister! That is true, we need to shift our mindset so we can pursue greater goals. Thank you for your encouragement, dear. Yes, please the more we take action, the more women will be inspired to do the same.

I appreciate your uplifting words, dear. Thank you again!

Jill Langhus
Mar 21
Mar 21

Hello Dear Kaye:-)

What a lovely, inspirational post. Are you really starting a vlog? Wow! I'm impressed. Thanks for sharing your video and the two video links, as well as the great strategies/affirmations. I will have to remember these for Wednesday...ha:-)

Thanks again for sharing... you rock!

Hope you're all safe and well, dear.


Thank you, dear JLo! Yes, soon. We still have our webinar series this week. I have received some good feedback about my topic. I figured a vlog would be a great opportunity to awaken the teacher in me. This quarantine season is a great time to plan. One step at a time, dear.

You are welcome, I know you will do great later. :) Hope you are safe, too!

Jill Langhus
Mar 25
Mar 25

You're welcome:-)

Oh, wow! Tam wants to start a blog, too. Did you know?

Yes, it is and a great time for new opportunities, too, with the New Moon in Aries.

Looking forward to hearing more about it.



Adriana Greenblatt
Mar 21
Mar 21

Karen! Yay! I write to you from my couch in Montreal after going for my first and only walk of the day. You so rocked that webinar, and it inspired me to hear you talk about empathy in a way that I think will resonate with so many, I know it made me understanding the concept better hearing you share your reality. Also seeing you live and interacting with you and your husband directly was so amazing - and hearing your voice. That was such an anxious day for me and I will remember that moment seeing you and a feeling of connection and a smile on my face. I am sharing this now on fb, I think some in my network would really benefit from this, I know I did, thank you, so much, my fellow woman in the arena.
Virtual hugs hugs from Montreal,

Hello, dear Adriana,

I want you to know that having you as an audience at that time encouraged me so much. I regret not wearing the earrings you gave, though. Yes, my husband is a funny man. I feel so great that he was actively participating and engaging with you, too.

Oh, I didn't know you were anxious that time. Thank you so much for your presence, dear. It meant so much to me. Thank you for sharing it on Facebook.

Awww. That is so sweet of you to say, dear. I feel humbled since it was a vulnerable moment for me. I will start a YouTube channel soon, but I will record shorter videos instead of long ones. I will still have to plan. My tech equipment is not of high quality yet, but I will start with what I have, from where I am. One step at a time. Yes, I think of you wherever I remember the woman in the arena.

Sending "socially distancing" hugs to you from Cebu!

Mar 22
Mar 22

My dear beautiful Karen, you have really made my day with your "Start from what you know; build on what you have". Honestly due to finance I have many ideas and plans for the girl child, women in my community. But as I have read your story I now have a change of thought. Encouraging words coming from you. Believe in Your self. Thanks for motivating me and enlightening me. I will love to learn more about webnair. Pls kindly teach me.

Hello, dear sister,

I am happy you love that quote, dear. Yes, we do not wait for our circumstances to be great before we can start, let us start to make our circumstances great! Let us pursue progress, not perfection. :)

Yes, dear, I used to conduct community development training in rural areas before I became a mom. I tell women in communities to look at the current resources they have at present (skills, knowledge, network, local materials, etc.) and utilize them. Start from there, dear. When people see you are doing something, they will later contribute to help you achieve your mission. :)

On webinar, we use Zoom. Mae Ann purchased a one month subcription for our women's month celebration. Because of that, we can stream via FB Live. You can record yourself sharing about a topic you deeply care about and upload it on Facebook or YouTube. Webinar simple means you are Web + Seminar. You are transferring your skills and knowledge via the internet.

It is really a great skill to learn especially these trying times when almost all of us are in community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please let me know if you have more questions, dear.

Mar 25
Mar 25

Thanks. You have said it all. I really appreciate and have learnt a new thing. Thanks to WP, have really opened my mind to many things.
Thanks Dear Karen. Hugs

Anita Shrestha
Mar 22
Mar 22

Thank you for sharing

You are welcome, dear. Please stay safe. :)

Mar 23
Mar 23

Karen you rock :) I like this idea :) online movement.

Hello, sis! You rock as well! I would not be able to do webinars without you. I appreciate you so much! It has been a great bonding moment seeing you online for several nights already. It is also a nice way to distract us from the COVID-19 crisis. Yes, sis. Let us launch one movement after another! :)

Ameck melvice
Mar 24
Mar 24

You are right, we need to look for ways about this virus

Hello, dear Melvice,

Let us plan while we are stuck in our homes. Let us utilize technology to learn more skills. One way of distracting us from the COVID-19 crisis is to send encouragement to our sisters here. :) I hope you and your family are safe.

Beth Lacey
Mar 24
Mar 24

Hello, lovely. These strategies are very wise! We should all post them on our mirrors.

Thank you, dear lovely Beth! Wow, great idea on posting these on our mirrors. That would be a great motivational reminder. :) Please stay safe!

Sowmya Swaminathan
Mar 26
Mar 26

Dearest Karen,

I hope you are doing well, taking care and staying safe indoors!
When I began to watch this webinar, I thought to myself, "Alright. I know about this topic. I'm an educator, and I have practiced empathy many times."
To say I was humbled is an understatement. I was blown away by your articulate thoughts, your inner strength, your conviction towards the topic you're discussing, and most importantly, your courage to open up, be vulnerable and be authentic for the greater good.
I'm so, so blessed to be able to engage with you and learn from you since Women's Day this year. I made running notes while I watched the webinar, which is a testament to its effectiveness.
Thank you for doing this during the Covid-19 crisis. I'm sure that you will be a force to reckon with on every platform: Facebook, YouTube and many others that haven't even been invented yet. <3
I had a question for you, and I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing your thoughts on it.
How do we be empathetic without letting the other person's feelings/emotions exhaust us, or even consume us in a chaotic way?
Thank you for your leadership, Karen! <3


Qello, dear sweet Sowmya,

Thank you so much for your encouraging feedback and kind words. I am blessed to keep in touch with you, too. As I mentioned in the video, empathy is hard and complex. It takes time to master it. We can become intentional in practicing it right now. More than ever, the world is in need of collective empathy during this pandemic.

Wow, what a good question. :) We need to practice a lot of self-care, and we need to make sure when we are there for someone, we are emotionally well and ready to listen. We can only give what we have. We also need to set boundaries in order not to get exhausted in the process. It is acknowledging that we can be there for a friend or loved one, but we have limitations, too.

Thank you, dear. Please stay safe. I hope I answered your question. :)

Sowmya Swaminathan
Mar 29
Mar 29

Dearest Karen,

Thank you for your beautifully kind words! Yes, you answered my question! I have a few follow-up questions, which I'll DM you. Thank you so, so much! <3


Mar 27
Mar 27

Dear Karen,

Thank you very much for sharing your impressive first time, which does not look like a first time at all.
This video has gingered me to get off that procrastination and put my plans into action.
I have been wanting to vlog for over 2 years, but been procrastinating on it, asking myself where do i start from? Now I know, anywhere.
And your presentation on empathy was so accurate and timely.
I would like to share it and use it for some of my works if you would permit me.
Keep vlogging and doing those presentations.
In love and sisterhood,


Ello, dear Hawwah,

Awww. Thank you for your uplifting words. :) Yes, dear, this is the best time start that vlog. We can start with what we have right now. Progress, not perfection, dear sister. :)

Yes, please share it, dear. I will make YouTube videos soon, and I will be cutting this webinar into short videos because it is too long. :)

Please stay safe. :)

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Mar 28
Mar 28

Hello Karen,
I totally agree with you. Thumbs up on your video, I think it was phenomenal. Yes we must all be strong in critical time of global lock down.

Thank you for your, dear Oluwatoyin. :)
Yes, that is true. Please stay safe, sister. :)