Donna (Manager, Transportation Planning)
What does a normal day in your role look, sound, and feel like?
- Working on projects or initiatives involving Transportation, such as the new Canada Line Capstan Station (with TransLink staff and other staff), new Steveston Highway interchange (with BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) staff and other staff).
- Seeking cost-share funding from other agencies (e.g. TransLink, ICBC, MoTI, federal government, etc.).
- Participating in meetings (virtual for now) related to transportation initiatives, with other agencies (e.g. TransLink, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and other regional municipalities).
- Responding to inquiries from the public, staff in other departments, Transportation staff, Mayor and Councillors, RCMP, etc.
- Overseeing other staff: knowing what they are busy with, who is best to address new inquiries/initiatives, ensuring they are all engaged and informed of new updates, ensuring deadlines are being met.
What is your story? How did you get to where you are now?
I graduated from UBC with a Bachelors in Applied Science (Civil Engineering), then worked as a transportation engineer for private consulting firms in Toronto and locally, then at the MoTI before working at the City. At the City, I started as a Transportation Engineer for a couple of years before moving into the role of Manager, Transportation Planning.
What parts of your work inspire you?
- Working with the community I live in and knowing I can help make a positive difference.
- Looking after public safety from a transportation perspective.
- Encouraging people to use alternative modes of travel besides depending on a car (e.g. transit, cycling, walking).
- Implementing work that improves our community such as new bike paths, new roads to help people get around better, projects that help people get to where they want to go (e.g. new Capstan Station).
What advice would you give your Grade 9 self?
Be open minded to potential careers of the future. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself; enjoy these years in high school – it goes by fast and lifelong friends and memories are made. Join a club and/or sports; you’ll make new friends and develop new skills. Don’t get caught up in the little things and put things in perspective; think about the bigger picture!
Any words of encouragement for today's Grade 9 students?
I share with you what my dad (who grew up during WWII in China) always said: “An education is something that no one can take away from you”, so get the best education you can. Push yourself to do well in school, and create good study habits now (it’ll take you far into your future).