Employee Spotlight – Zeina Habib, Project Manager


Zeina Habib

Project Manager Zeina Habib is a tour-de-force in TOCCI’s Operations department.

Her vibrant personality left lasting impressions on the several residential and adaptive reuse projects she’s managed. She’s making waves managing multiple healthcare projects; we take a moment to see how she’s doing: 

You’ve taken the reins from Sally Akiki when she was on maternity leave. What was challenging about this transition?   

Many things! Jumping into this role of project management means so much information gets thrown at you with new people, in new conversations, and on new projects.  

I have high expectations for myself – I must do things right and manage them efficiently so there is little chance for the people already on board.   

I’m familiar with the processes, but this is a new way of implementing them since it’s an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract. Every time I think, “I’ve got this”, I’m hit with something new.  

Which projects are you on right now? Which ones have IPD?  

I took over two projects from Sally – healthcare in downtown Boston, both operating under the IPD process. That’s in addition to my other projects. 

How has your experience as a Professional Coach informed your perspective?  

I can objectively shift my perspectives from, “I don’t know how to do this,” to “This is something new, which is normal. What can I do about it?”. Problems are normal, so I realize stress is sometimes part of the process. The situation may not change, but my reactions can.   

I’ve learned it’s perfectly fine to do things differently; for instance, Sally’s personality is different than mine.   

How would you describe your way of getting things done?   

I am assertive. As with any change, people need to adjust.  Architects, engineers, trade partners, and the owner have adjusted to my style of facilitation, and we are getting results – making decisions and moving projects forward. Everyone enjoys momentum. 

What do you like about your new role?  

I appreciate facilitating these meetings and managing different personalities. I draw inspiration from my self-coaching tactics.  

I’m learning something new every day in my interactions with the owner’s representative, the architects, etc. I’m learning how they operate, and that informs how I do things. It makes me a better Project Manager, a better coach, and a better person.  

What do you like to do for fun?  

I love learning how different people are, through conversation.  

And I dance; it’s a big part of my identity. I do Latin social dancing – salsa, bachata, and Zook. And hiking! With the weather cooling off, I’m getting out there more. 

Whether Zeina is working on a 2-billion-dollar US embassy, a 54-story high rise, or a 1 floor healthcare fit out (and she’s done it all), it takes the team no more than 4 weeks to channel all their ideas through her. She’s that person who if you want a task done, you give it to her; not because she loves tasks, but because she knows people, and how to mobilize them to do what needs to be done. When I came to the US 6 years ago and started working at TOCCI, I quickly realized that this team needed Zeina as well. I reached out to her as she was finishing her masters in Belgium, and to my (our) sweet luck, she said yes!

Marvin Lahoud