Your Passion Can Alter the Pulse of Your World
S. RENEE MITCHELL
July 6, 2005
Jensine (yen-SEE-nah) Larsen radiates an inner glow that comes from doing the one thing she believes she was always meant to do:
She's raising the volume on the voices of women around the world who have gone unheard and unrecognized.
"There's no doubt in my mind that this was meant to happen," Larsen says. "It's so much bigger than myself."
Years ago, the freelance journalist couldn't find an international magazine that celebrated visionary and courageous women as writers, quoted experts and decision- makers. So she created the magazine that she wanted to read.
Two years ago, Larsen founded World Pulse: Women and Children Transforming Our World. This glossy Portland-based magazine features solutions-oriented articles about how current events - such as AIDS, ethnic cleansing and drug trafficking - affect women and children in the Sudan, India, Brazil, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
"Jensine is out there seeing some of the real annihilation," says Tori Padellford, one of the early supporters of Larsen's massage-therapy business. "And yet she's probing and asking the question: Is there a better way?"
Debra Curry of Sellwood was so impressed with the idea of the magazine that she subscribed more than a year before the first issue was printed.
"I knew she was a talented, bright, energetic woman who cares deeply about human rights and the environment," Curry says. "I knew she was not going to quit until it happened."
It took a mental evolution. As a child, money in Larsen's family was often tight. As an adult, she believed just enough was good enough. So, at every defining moment, Larsen's memories bore false witness of her inadequacies.
When Larsen began the magazine, for example, she knew very little about the industry. But a cache of dedicated volunteers stepped up to write the stories, take the pictures and advise her through the production process.
Larsen, now 30, has since been propelled onto the world stage of women activists. She counts among her advisers Mariane Pearl, whose husband, journalist Daniel Pearl, was beheaded by Al-Qaida extremists. Larsen has also spent time with Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, who became the voice of grassroots resistance against Kabul's warlords.
Even now, Larsen is sometimes overwhelmed by the luminaries she meets and how well World Pulse is selling. Locally, you can pick it up at New Seasons, In Other Words and other bookstores.
World Pulse has raised $200,000, enough to produce three issues. But Larsen is purposeful about shaking what she calls her poverty mentality. The current goal: $3 million and international distribution by 2006.
"The reality is if I believe in the power of these voices," she says, "I need to believe that we can get the resources behind this to do them justice."
Over the past few months, Larsen has been on a hunt for financing on both coasts. She hoped to be home for a while to work on World Pulse's fourth edition: a celebration of the world's best women journalists. But life got in the way.
Larsen and I met for lunch Friday just hours before she had to be on a plane that would eventually land in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, she is joining the chorus of voices outside the Group of Eight summit, the annual gathering of world leaders.
The activists are part of the ONE Campaign to end world hunger (www.one.org). "They want us to be able to speak about why Americans care," says Larsen, one of two Portland delegates sponsored by Mercy Corps.
Larsen returns July 13, then is off to Greensboro, N.C., for a girls' leadership institute. She plans to talk about living with passion, about dedicating time to what you believe in.
When that happens, as Larsen has learned, life has a way of bringing the universe to your door, enlarging your sphere of influence and making your impact so much bigger than yourself.