August 5, 2021

This online platform helps professionals learn practical skills amid pandemic

MANILA -- An online learning platform is helping professionals learn practical skills and get inspired amid the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

Pocket Mentor was developed in 2019 but was formally launched in November 2020 by a team led by Rachel Kong, daughter of motivational speaker and business consultant Francis Kong.

Mr. Kong, naturally, is also part of Pocket Mentor's roster of speakers. For the platform, he has created courses about professionalism, personal mastery, and money management.

"She is now my boss, I work for her," he said, referring to his daughter, during a recent virtual conference.

He went on to point out that despite his extensive experience, he, like everyone else, has "so much to learn," especially given the pandemic.

"The pandemic has made a lot of business people realize that our people are not just mere tools to perform a task... They have to be used as sources of innovative ideas and creativity as well. This is the time when many of my clientele now are saying, 'Grabe, kailangan pala every person should develop an entrepreneurial mindset in the way they approach business.' Because we have uncertainties all over," he said.

"Even in the area of training... the pandemic has made us distinguish carefully between what is craft and what is crap," he went on. "We really have to get our best information and education from people who are practitioners... people who have the experience and the wisdom and the maturity to be able to do so."

Rachel, for her part, said they make sure to filter the people they are featuring on Pocket Mentor to give a quality learning experience to clients.


Aside from Francis Kong, other speakers at Pocket Mentor include Miss Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco and Aaron Palileo, an associate guru at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

Ibasco, who is also a medical physicist and image development mentor, offers her insights on topics such as healthy living and confidence building.

One of the things she discussed during the webinar was the importance of committing to eating right and exercising regularly.

"I understood the importance of this because I work in the medical field. I saw what it is to be on the other side of the spectrum. You do not want to experience that -- some people want to add more years into their life but they don't have a choice anymore. You don't want to learn the hard way," she said. "Sometimes we take things for granted, like eating right and healthy... We don't take it to heart because it hasn't happened to us yet."

"The first thing you need to understand is being committed. Why are you committed? You need to answer those things," she went on. "You have to be committed to eating right and working out. Why are you committed? Because you want to have a good quality of life. And you do that every single day."

Palileo, for his part, gave some tips on sparking creativity, and how to use this to create something meaningful.

"You have to find a passion, personal interest, or a hobby that you can play around with. Let's not look at creativity in a vacuum -- you can inflect creativity across your personal and professional endeavors," he said.

"It's about bringing creativity to your personal DNA," he added. "If you still don't get inspiration from that, if it's already about your passion, about your interests, then I don't know what would."


Pocket Mentor follows a subscription-based model where users can learn through ready-made video courses. The clips run from four to eight minutes "to ensure maximum retention and engagement."

True to its name, Pocket Mentor's sessions can be watched anytime and anywhere from a mobile phone or computer, making it more convenient for professionals.

The programs are generally marketed to companies as they train different departments, but the founders are also considering the idea of "retail" plans for freelancers and aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to build their skills.

Meanwhile, in the pipeline are courses on leadership by serial entrepreneur and visionary Hanky Lee; corporate intrapreneurship and innovation by Embiggen CEO and co-founder Rolan Garcia; teamwork and self-mastery by professional coach and sport analyst-writer Mike Ochosa; work-life balance and leadership by Human Nature co-founder Anna Meloto-Wilk; navigating life 101 by marketing communications expert Matec Villanueva; and fitness and wellness by 360 Fitness Club Manila head coach and program director, Chappy Callanta.