Jenny Lin Maaño – Ngai: Shining Like the Sun

Entrepreneur and beauty queen Jenny Lin Maaño-Ngai is the quintessential modern empowered Filipina taking on the world with pure hard work, smart leadership, and meaningful purpose.

Being the president of her own company, an active advocate for sustainable solar energy, a former beauty queen, a fashion A-lister, a loving wife, and a doting mother-of-three, Jenny illuminates positivity and dedication in everything that she does.

Jenny’s innate beauty-and-brain personality has long been with her since she was that girl dreamer from Mabalacat, Pampanga who aspired to take things to greater heights. 

While studying Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management at the University of the East-Manila, Jenny juggled being a student leader for the University’s Student College Government. She was also an active SK Councilor and a Barangay Corporate Secretary in Manila. 

The young student leader never wasted her time on things that do not fuel her passion. While excelling in both academic and social work, Jenny managed to balance her time with modeling and pageantry. In 1998, she was hailed as Miss Mabalacat and was later on a finalist for Miss Manila, which has opened doors of opportunities to land in various modeling projects. Her model-physique and charismatic character made her inked projects for big brands such as Avon, Jag Jeans, Johnson & Johnson, and many others. 

But Jenny did not settle for modeling gigs alone. She felt a greater calling in the corporate world. After clinching her college diploma, Jenny showed off her impressive sales and marketing expertise for top company Infocom, the maker of Motorola, Infopage, and Nextel.

“Despite having a stream of income in modeling, I am more driven to excel in the corporate world,” the business graduate said. “I wanted to prove what I can offer in the corporate world as it has always been my goal since college.”

It was during this time where she was able to meet and work with Canadian-Chinese businessman and company CEO William Ngai who eventually became her husband. The couple is now married for 20 years and are blessed with three children namely Wilson, 14; Williard, 6; and the youngest, Willman, 4.

While being a mother to her three kids has been a challenging yet fulfilling role for Jenny, the woman has always known by heart that there is a bigger purpose for everything that she does.

The idea came to mind one day when her husband brought home a small solar-powered device from his solar company in China. Her ever-inquisitive self was curious of its remarkable features.

The entrepreneur says, “This portable device can produce clean electricity and power up basic electrical appliances from lights, TV, computer, fans, wifi router, charge mobile phones, and even play music via FM radio, USB, and Bluetooth. What’s even more impressive is that it can be charged by solar energy.”

It was at that very moment that she got the innovative idea of bringing this technology to the Philippines.

“I told my husband how helpful the device would be for Filipinos, especially those in the provinces,” she says. “I asked his factory in China to send over a few units of the small solar devices and at first, I sold them to raise funds for a chapel I was putting up in a province.”

People were enticed with its features—portable solar and free clean electricity without the worries of having brownouts, something that she knows many Filipinos can benefit from. 

Soon enough, Jenny realized this dream and established her own company named SunSmart, now one of the country’s leading solar power technology systems and solutions provider.

This advocacy-turned business venture hits close to home for this entrepreneur. 

“I have always known the plight of my fellow Filipinos in remote and off-grid places across the country. Having been raised in the province, I know that the hardship of dealing with little to no electricity especially during times when we most need it.”

That is why at the core of SunSmart is the goal of creating a positive impact on 16 million Filipinos without access to electricity. The whole SunSmart team travels to remote and underserved areas in various regions of the country, seeking partnerships with both public and private entities in making off-grid places get electricity that is clean, cost-effective, and 100% renewable—all while contributing to environmental sustainability. Clean solar energy helps in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions that pose great harm to the environment and is one of the factors of the worsening climate change. 

“We, at SunSmart, aspire to bring all-renewable-powered development across the country that is effective, efficient, and sustainable. More than profit, we aim to be a catalyst for shifting to a more sustainable living that our future children can also benefit from.”

Jenny’s vision is slowly getting into reality, although she knows there are still many Filipinos who still need this innovative approach. “We still have a long way to go,” she adds. “But I am sure that in time, there is no home left behind unpowered with renewable energy. Our hope is for every family in off-grid places to enjoy this sustainable technology.”

Jenny pours her heart into everything that she does. She believes that working with her husband as her business partner who has always been supportive of all her smart ideas has made her evolved into the best version of herself. It is also vital to work with a team with a shared goal of making a difference, she adds.

“I am blessed for having a supportive husband, my three sons who are my inspiration, a reliable SunSmart team, and the guidance of the Lord in every endeavor I take,” she says. “I’d like to impart that every woman is capable of doing great things with sheer passion, determination, and faith.” 

Indeed, in whatever hat she is wearing, Jenny proves that she is destined to soar and shine like the sun. 

Gelyka Dumaraos

Gel is a writer and wanderer from the Philippines. She maintains this blog, Musings and Pathways, as a platform for her thoughts on love and life and stories of places and people she meets while on the road. Aside from writing and being a freelance media consultant, she is recently into baking and cooking. Gel lives with her fiance in a humble, work-in-progress abode in the beautiful province of Rizal. Email her at gelykaruthdumaraos@gmail.com.

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