Since 2017, Isolina Zazzara-Yu, known to the team as Issy, worked her way up to Assistant Project Manager in our Project Delivery Division.

The path to project management

Issy is a young professional who fills her days with client communication over the phone, via email, and in-person to assist PMs with project delivery. As someone involved in planning projects (from construction and monitoring through execution), her job is to understand and learn about what is going on, without focusing on technical aspects.

Before she started working at Binnie, Issy had reservations about coming from a different technical background than so many of our staff members. Since being entrenched in civil engineering, she now realizes that her idea of what engineering is was just a fraction of the incredible things that engineers do in our communities and that her role in this contributes to the success of the company.

The most rewarding part of her job is seeing what all the calls, emails, and meetings were for, and how they manifest in our communities. Her other satisfaction is getting to work with people. She is inspired by project managers and how they conduct themselves. She is surrounded by examples of the kind of project manager she aspires to be one day. Issy truly believes that the team you work with makes the workspace better and stronger, and she feels fortunate to work with such people.

Finding her strengths

Once, Issy hosted an open house at the Vancouver Landfill – her biggest assignment yet. Not only did she spend months coordinating and preparing for the event, but she was hands-on during the open house, instructing volunteers, and engaging with visitors. She was amazed that in the two days she could see all the moving parts that she tried to get right come to life. Two months later, Issy was delighted to overhear a little girl at the grocery store tell her grandfather that they needed to use reusable bags because she went on a field trip to the landfill and they learned the importance of them. Not only did she see the influence that the project had made, but it related directly to her passion for taking care of the environment.

In early 2020, Issy celebrated the launch of the Bus Passenger Information Display project for RapidBus. Her role comprised of interacting with many groups within Translink as well as a supplier from Sweden to meet the challenging project timelines. She was able to collaborate with fellow project manager Emma Yee to accomplish the RapidBus initiatives. These initiatives included managing the fabrication of the new RapidBus stop posts, delivery and installation of the real-time information displays, and construction of the foundations for the RapidBus stop posts. On the result:

It was great to see the new service launch and see how many people are excited about RapidBus!

Issy’s drive to be a good member of the company and the community extends outside of her. Issy was previously the Young Professionals Coordinator where she organized events for the Binnie YP Committee. She decided to run for Coordinator because when she first joined Binnie, the group provided a space that she felt comfortable in – a space to ask questions and get a feel for the industry without feeling intimidated or shy about it. Nurturing this sense of community is something that she is excited to do. As Binnie grows, Issy wants to continue attending YP events. Beyond work-related support, she was previously involved with the Young Professionals in community volunteering initiatives. Currently, she helps out with an initiative called Mugshare, an environmental initiative that aims to reduce single-use coffee cups in Vancouver.

Living and learning

As we all do, Issy has experienced her share of failures. At work, she is constantly striving to have the confidence to take the lead in situations where she might not have a full understanding of the issue at hand. In circumstances where she lacks the information people need, she aims to be more confident in her ability to find the answers and relay them back. Outside of work, Issy has been attempting to make her own sourdough bread. Although she still hasn’t perfected it, the process has been delicious.

In addition to making her own sourdough, Issy feels strongly about homesteading – eating and preparing locally produced food. Her mom has a vegetable garden which she takes advantage of to make tomato sauce. Once, Issy even once a hosted Thanksgiving dinner with a spin. Every part of the meal was from British Columbia. The conversation surrounded food systems, how lucky we are to live somewhere that yields such a variety of food, and reconnecting people with what we put in our bodies.

When it comes to personal philosophy, Issy has always liked the quote,

 People don’t remember what you said or what you did, they remember how you made them feel.

This comes as no surprise since she cares deeply about making a positive impact on people and the planet.