ZINC gives back to pay it forward

It’s that time of year again! We just received a heartfelt package in the mail from North Island College’s Foundation, letting us know the winner of our bursary award for 2022 – a donation we make annually. It always makes our day to receive these letters, and learn about the bursary recipients and their goals for the future. While the NIC Foundation accepts bursaries for all programs, we choose to award our bursary to Trades, Apprenticeship and Technical programs. ZINC gives back to pay it forward because we know how important it is to receive a helping hand along the way. For the ZINC team, there were many people and opportunities that helped us grow and develop – both in little ways and big ones! Below, we share examples in our own careers where someone made an impact along the way.


In my life, there have been some quiet moments where someone has supported me or shown me that it’s possible to do something in a different way. In one case early on, I was having fun ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ and getting energy from completing tasks just under the wire. An older person on staff noted something that changed my life by casually observing (out loud) that while this method was working great for Marci it might not be working for everyone on the team around Marci. I laugh now, but it’s a lesson that stayed with me and I’m grateful for how she delivered it!


I have two kids, which means I have twice faced the challenging question of maternity leave. Both Mary Ellen (boss when baby #1 was born) and Marci (boss when baby #2 was born) were willing to help find a solution that worked for everyone. It included flexible hours and locations, babies joining team meetings and – most importantly – the expressed trust and confidence that I could still get the job done. I’m so thankful to them for their adaptations and support. It meant I could keep building my career during critical years of my professional – and personal – growth.


I went to school for journalism in the early 2000s. After graduating, technology changed quickly, and newspapers began disappearing faster than I could find regular work. To make ends meet, I took a job answering phones at a company where I met a woman who was a real mover and shaker. She became a mentor and friend, and when she went out on her own on a solar energy pilot program, she hired me as her project coordinator. In that role, she gave me the freedom and trust to develop and hone my digital communication skills – a vital pivot that has become the focal point of my career. Thank you Liz!


When I graduated from university with a degree in literature, I wasn’t sure how to transfer it into a career. After moving to Victoria, I interviewed at a publishing company and while I didn’t get the job right away; we kept in touch and eventually I was hired. That role taught me so much, and with two incredible managers mentoring me I learned that a graduate degree in publishing was an option, and I learned to never give up on an opportunity (even if you’re told ‘no’ the first time). I am thankful those managers took a chance on me – it led to a master’s degree that helped me land my wonderful role at ZINC.


Having my kids right out of high school and ending up a single mother when my girls were young didn’t give me much opportunity to advance my education. I was fortunate that after they grew up, I could afford to go back to school and do something I love. Bursary programs like the one at NIC are important because they potentially help someone who is in a similar situation as me. It gives people a chance at an education, and the ability to work in an industry they love, without having to wait until later in life.

Find out more about how to give through the North Island College Foundation.