Rising Stars: What happened next for Monica Stancu

Monica Stancu

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 Monica Stancu, who won a Rising Star in Charity & Not-For-Profit Award in 2020.

Monica Stancu is the Diversity and Inclusion Manager at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Previously, she has worked in diversity and inclusion at Sodexo and F. Hoffman La Roche. Monica has also worked in international affairs and human rights at the European Medicines Agency (EU agency) and the United Nations. She holds an MA in Women’s History from Sarah Lawrence College, USA and was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality at Columbia University in the City of New York. Monica has been selected as a Global Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment by UN Women.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?

I have known about the Rising Stars awards for a few years and I always thought that the women that were recognised through these awards were very impressive. The announcement came on my birthday so it was a nice surprise. However, initially, I thought the congratulatory email was sent by mistake and I waited a few hours before letting my line manager know about it.

As a D&I professional, I recognise this as a classic imposter syndrome. Once it sunk in that the congratulatory email was not a mistake, I felt very honoured to be part of this group of inspirational women.

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Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star award?

My line manager sent an all staff email about the award which resulted in many thoughtful messages from my colleagues, including our CEO. The Academy also featured the announcement in our Fellows newsletter, our D&I newsletter and social media.

On reflection, I felt a bit embarrassed about the attention but as an Eastern European immigrant, I thought it was a good opportunity for other immigrant women to see other people like them being recognised for their work. So I am very grateful to WeAreTheCity for creating this platform that helps raise the profile of women regardless of their background and recognises that talent is everywhere.

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Go for it!

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers? 

It is important to choose your line managers carefully. They have the power to shape your career so work for people and companies that lead with kindness, invest in your development and have your back.

It is also important to surround yourself with positive colleagues and friends: celebrate each other’s successes and push each other to be more ambitious and dream bigger. After all, “if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

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