The COO Of Malaysia's EPIC Collective Jayne Kennedy On 10 Selfless Strategies To Lead An Epic Life

By Jessica Liew

Loving, giving, and rebuilding the lives of underserved communities has led the COO of EPIC Collective on a fulfilling journey, touching lives with her impactful mantras along the way.

Tatler Asia
Tatler Asia
Above  Jayne Kennedy and John-Son Oei share a light moment in between the Generation T x EPIC Home Build 2017

Just last year, Jayne Kennedy received 2 prestigious awards – The Edge Inspiring Young Leaders Award and Women Icons Malaysia – both of which applaud her efforts in steering EPIC Collective. Jayne joins the ranks of her multi award-winning husband John-Son Oei, the social enterprise’s founder and CEO. Inadvertently, the big-hearted couple is bringing new meaning to the Millennial generation, leading by example in their goodwill for underprivileged communities as well as the young urban volunteers attracted to EPIC’s intentions. We speak to the Generation T 2018 honouree on how she keeps her company thriving and came away, humbled by 10 altruistic lessons.

Tatler Asia
Above  "The first step to bringing out the best in another is to model out the kind of culture you want to create" -- Jayne Kennedy.

Name the biggest career highlights to date.

“What continually amazes me is the large-scale volunteering camps we ran in Kelantan to rebuild homes for flood victims in 2015 & 2016, managing hundreds of volunteers and the affected communities weekly. The sheer amount of love, dedication and resilience of the communities was honestly life-changing."

What were main hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?

"Being in social enterprise can be especially tough as our work revolves around people, which include bringing forward strengths of their communities while facilitating opportunities for them to shape the places and spaces around them. We focus on a cross-sectoral and inclusive approaches, bringing together the public and private sector and government in a supportive ecosystem." 

Our collective vision and the culture of openness, cooperation and care holds us together

 Where do you see yourself, 10 years down the road?

"Having just entered my 30s, I have to say I’m feeling pretty good! If being 30 is any benchmark, I imagine being 40 will be even more epic. But where exactly? I like to keep my options open."

What the biggest life lesson you’ve discovered?

"There has been a lot of learning, from understanding the root of poverty to how our decisions affects this cycle, and also admiring the resilience and strength from those with limited access to things that more privileged people may have."

See also: John-Son Oei Of Epic Homes Named Winner For The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards

What would you attribute to EPIC’s recipe of success?

"We would not be where we are today without the help, guidance and knowledge of others. People have been very generous with time, skills and resources in making this happen. Some mentors worthy of mention include: Jasmine Ng, Benjamin Ong, Ooi Piek See, Loh Lee Soon, Omar Giri, Rizwan Tayabali, Ellynita Lamin, Terrance Leung, Ronny To, and members our own families."

How do you draw the best out of people you work with?

"I believe that actions speak louder than words, and the first step to bringing out the best in another is to model out the kind of culture you want to create."

I believe that the best relationships are built on genuine connection, openness and care


Tatler Asia
Above  Jayne is a firm believe that a successful life is defined by a purpose and vision that influences those around you as much as yourself. (Photo: Courtesy of Jayne Kennedy)

What’s the driving force of your personal willpower?

"My faith provides a security that is not deterred by circumstance, but within EPIC, we have a very supportive culture, from our internal team to the communities we work with, and they are always present to lean on when the going gets tough."

Name a legacy you’re hoping to leave behind.

"In my daily life, I try to leave things just a little better than how I found them. I hope that as my days add up, this will add up too." 

Success is different at each moment in life. What is your definition of success right now?

"I believe that to be successful as a person, your spirit, mind, values, action and words must align. But to be successful at life, you must define a purpose and vision for your life that influences not just you, but others around you, and strive to meet those goals."

 Pick a superhuman power. How would that ability benefit your goals?

"There’s no such thing as a single superpower that could fix all problems, so I’d say power absorption or mimicry – That way I could get everyone’s powers to fix a multitude of issues!"

See also: This Social Entrepreneur Reveals 6 Easy Ways To Live More Sustainably

Tatler Asia
© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.