WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their seventh year.
The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 25 different industries and professions.
Over the year’s, the awards have recognised over 600 women across the UK and India.
In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.
We spoke to Joanne Monck, who won a Rising Star in Diversity Award in 2020.
My Name is Joanne Monck. I live in Lancing, West Sussex. Up Until the age of 58, I was Male. I had been born with a female enemy inside me that was to prove to be so powerful, I could never expect to conquer her. I knew from an early age that I was different. I dressed in my mothers’ clothes in secret. I was bullied constantly at school. No matter what I did to try and confirm my masculinity it failed. Having girlfriends was a disaster. I tried so hard to be macho. Eventually I got married. We had twin boys. I was never happy, still dressing in secret, wishing I was a woman but so reluctant to accept it. I stayed in my marriage because of a deep-rooted love for my boys and a sense of guilt towards my wife who was an alcoholic. Inside though, I was physically dying, emotionally dying. It was hard times. My wife died in the year 2000. I thought then I might be free to pursue my dreams. Not so. In March of 2014 I went and sat on the edge of Beachy Head. I went there to think. Would I end my life or accept my destiny. I chose the latter. Suddenly I felt different I had managed to conquer the enemy inside me. I changed my name by deed poll to Joanne. I had Gender Reassignment Surgery in 2017 and became legally female. After starting my transition I wanted to start helping others in my spare time from my gardening business ‘Evergreen’.
2014 to 2016 volunteer Community First Responder for the South East Coast Ambulance Service and a Diversity Champion. A diagnosed life threatening medical condition forced me to have to resign. I had developed a huge passion for all things Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
2016 to present…
- Sussex Police
- Independent Advisor and Hate Crime Ambassador
- Trans External Reference Group
- Stop and Search/Use of Force Scrutiny Panel
- Force Command Control And Contact Department Advisory Panel
- Adur and Worthing Independent Advisory Group
- LGBT Network Advisory Panel
- Internal Hate Crime Working Group
- Bluebell Heritage Railway
- Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Advisor
- National Diversity Mentor
- Stonewall Schools Role Model
- Crown Prosecution Service
- Hate Crime Advisory Group and Meeting Facilitator
- Sussex Police Crime Commissioner
- Independent Police Custody Visitor – checking on welfare of detainees
How did it feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star Award?
To be honest I was very surprised to find out I’d been nominated for this prestigious award. I was even more surprised to find out I’d been shortlisted and almost lost for words when I found out I was a winner in the Diversity Category. I felt totally humbled and honoured to have been recognised alongside other very inspirational women, and will be eternally grateful
Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star Award?
Winning the award has empowered me to do so much more. I have been asked to deliver diversity training to new Police Custody Officers and Staff. I was asked to be a Certified Pride 365 champion. I became an Ambassador for the Tech Talent Charter. I Have been asked to be a Critical Diversity Friend for both Kent and Surrey Police. The icing on the cake though was when I was invited to become a Global LGBT Advocate for InterLife and InterLife Pride. A real honour and I am going to be featured in a glossy magazine coming out next month, and which is circulated worldwide.
At the virtual award ceremony , the Chief Constable of Sussex Police handed over my trophy on your behalf.
After handing me my award, I was then presented with a Chief Constables Commendation for support and dedication to Sussex Police as a Volunteer. This award along with my Rising Star Award reduced me to tears of happiness when I was asked to give a speech to friends and Police Colleagues who had come to celebrate with me at Shoreham Police Station.
I have just started a CMI level 5 course in Managing Equality , Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace.
What advice would you give to someone else going through the awards process?
I suppose I have to say you should feel proud to have been nominted. That alone is an achievement in itself. No matter what the outcome, stay focused on what you do and never give up. Good things happen to those who have patience and determination to succeed.
What tips would you give to other members to enhance their careers?
Be positive in your ability. Sing your own praises to those above you. Develop skills to match your abilities. Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t allow age to get in the way of this. Show up, speak up and stand up. Lead by example. Listen to others and learn from them. Then put into action what you have learnt
Nominations for our 2021 Rising Star Awards open on 11 January 2021. You can find out more about the awards here and how to nominate someone here.