Jenny Corry Smith Steps into New Role as CLASP’s Chief of Programs
As the highly successful Efficiency for Access Coalition reaches it five-year mark, we highlight Jenny Corry Smith, whose leadership has been instrumental to the program’s success. Earlier this year, Jenny transitioned from Senior Manager to Chief of Programs, where she will build on her impressive decade-long career at CLASP.
Growing Expertise Through Dynamic Roles
When Jenny first joined CLASP, she concentrated on international collaboration, policy implementation and capacity building. She was excited to work at an organization whose mission aligned with her interests in policy and climate, in an international context. She arrived with a Master of Public Policy and experience working at the Alliance to Save Energy, where she supported their international team. Since her initial role as Program Assistant for the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative, she showed her capability as an effective project manager and eventually assumed direction of CLASP’s work as co-secretariat of the Efficiency for Access Coalition.
From her origins as a policy specialist, Jenny adapted to the highly technical nature of appliance efficiency research and policy implementation. In 2015, she worked with United for Efficiency to run energy savings assessments for room ACs and refrigerators in 100+ countries using the Policy Analysis Modeling System, a predecessor to CLASP’s Mepsy.
“This was the first project I had ownership of, and it was strategically important to make the case to policymakers for appliance efficiency and to prioritize which countries to work in,” explained Jenny. “I do not have a technical background, so I’ve had to lean on my colleagues and learn on the job to ensure I make meaningful contributions. It’s also important to know when to involve partners and ask for colleagues to step in to cover my blind spots.”
Spearheading CLASP’s Clean Energy Access Portfolio
Throughout her time at CLASP, Jenny has managed a variety of program activities, including CLASP’s S&L Database (now the CPRC), overseeing the development of technical tools and research reports, forging new partnerships, and guiding the evolution of our most visible clean energy access work through Efficiency for Access.
In overseeing Efficiency for Access, Jenny oversaw the push for better availability, affordability, efficiency, and performance of solar appliances suited to off- and weak-grid market segments in under-electrified countries. This included a range of activities, like field and laboratory product testing, competitions and awards for high-performing appliances, consumer and market research, market building, and more.
Much of the program’s success can be seen in Efficiency for Access’s 2021 Appliance Data Trends report, which found huge gains in affordability and efficiency in televisions and fans, and promising upward trends for several other appliances. Some off-grid, solar-powered appliances were highlighted for their impact on the productivity of smallholder farmers, helping them meet growing food needs without relying on polluting processes.
As for CLASP’s future, she identified adaptation and resilience as a new lens through which we must approach our work.
“The first chapter of CLASP was focused mainly on climate change mitigation, but now we must expand our focus to adaption to and make the case for how efficient and affordable appliances are critical to help those most vulnerable to climate change impacts.”
Integrating Climate and Clean Energy Access Initiatives for Amplified Impact
Her combined energy access and climate policy experience has her well-poised for an organization looking to integrate those programs more deeply. As someone who has been with CLASP for almost half its existence, she’s witnessed our growth, evolution, and expansion from all angles. To her, more cross-team collaboration and opportunities for team members at any level to try new things are key to keeping ideas fresh and people engaged in a sector that can be overwhelming.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities I had from program assistant all the way up to my current position on the Senior Leadership Council to work on new projects and challenge myself to learn about different issues.”
And as Chief of Programs, Jenny hopes to increase CLASP’s capacity to quantify the impacts of our work, particularly on clean energy access, to ensure we are delivering maximum impact. Applying an equity lens to CLASP’s work means tightening our focus on doing the “most good” and not focusing solely on emissions. She hopes that CLASP’s clean energy access work can start integrating policy support into the portfolio, systematically increasing electrification and decarbonizing on a national level.
“When I first started working with appliance energy efficiency, I assumed it was a very niche area. But appliances touch many sectors including agriculture and water and are also a part of the solution set for global challenges like food security and health care delivery.”
This is the last article in a series on CLASP’s leadership changes during the past year. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated.