With over 1,000 nominees, 10 nominations were shortlisted in each category with five then selected as category ‘Top 5 Winners’. Sgt McNeill impressed judges to win in the Defence category, not only with her outstanding delivery in the workplace, but for how she utilised her military skills to raise money for charity.
Crafting works of art from scrap metal, Sgt McNeill has made poppies, figurines and other artistic metalworks to raise substantial funds for a range of charitable causes. In addition to using her metalsmith skills, she has been supporting soldiers suffering with mental health problems by helping to set up an open and safe forum for them to access help.
Growing up it was my Grandfather who was my father figure, my role model, he was my hero...and all I have wanted to do was make him proud Sgt McNeill
Sgt McNeill said: “I'm still in disbelief that I was put forward for this prestigious award, let alone having won it. Growing up it was my Grandfather was my father figure, my role model, he was my hero. Morally strong, robust and funny, he met the Queen when awarded his MBE and all I have wanted to do was make him proud.”
As a single Mum, Army life has not always been easy for Sgt McNeill, having deployed on numerous overseas operations and training exercises. She will now be one of 100 role models who will inspire future generations of women in Defence and wider society. At home she is a role model for her son, who hopes to follow her into a career in Army with his basic training set to start in the next few months.
The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below senior management level. The awards seek to create 100 female role models across different industries and professions.
We would like to congratulate Sgt McNeill on winning a Rising Stars 2020 award, for her outstanding contributions in the Army and for the wider impact that she has had in the community.
Find out more about the Rising Star awards click here.