A POLICE chief was “gobsmacked” and “a bit embarrassed” to be given an honour which recognises the exceptional achievements of women.
Chief Supt Una Jennings, Rotherham district commander, was given an Athena Award by Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.
The award ceremony — held to mark International Women’s Day — aimed to recognise and honour the exceptional achievements of women in business.
Chief Supt Jennings was only expecting to give a talk at the event and had no idea she was in line for a gong.
She said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked and actually bit embarrassed, in truth, because the other people who were nominated for the award are absolutely phenomenal women.
“I fully expected just to be speaking at the event and I didn’t think I was going to be nominated or in fact win. I’m really humbled and delighted.”
The 41-year-old was nominated by former chamber president Lisa Pogson.
Chief Supt Jennings said: “I moved across here from Ireland with my family almost three years ago now and I really found a home from home.
“The Rotherham people that I have met and now serve have just blown me away. They are the some of the kindest, most thoughtful, unassuming people you could hope to meet in life.
“This is a great place and there’s so much to celebrate in Rotherham.
“It’s amazing to be recognised by the place I’m invested in and live and work.”
Chief Supt Jennings spoke at the event about lessons she had learned in the police over the last 18 years, including some rules she abided by.
She said: “The first is a real Ulsterism, which is ‘Get out of your own way’. It’s essentially about acknowledging that you just might be good enough.
“For me, it’s a question that’s dogged me for most of my adult life, as a working mum, am I a good enough mother, and now as a commander in Rotherham, am I worthy to hold this rank and role, especially as the other commanders here are all men in their 50s.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that yes, maybe I am just good enough, and actually I belong here as much as anyone else.”
Chief Supt Jennings said showing compassion was another rule which was important to her and was especially important in Rotherham.
The event was hosted by motivational speaker and paralympian Steve Judge. Delegates also heard from international rounders player Dana Abdulkarim and Ruby Smith, founder of South Anston-based charity Kindness & Co.