She is among a list of people who the King has honoured for the part they have played in making a difference in their communities. The honour follows a lifetime’s public service in both local council and in national advisory roles.
Joanne was awarded an OBE in 2009, and since then has continued to work in leadership at a city, Greater Manchester and a national level.
Having started her career in Birmingham as a 16-year-old apprentice in housing services, Joanne has continued to champion opportunities for young people, skills and reducing inequalities throughout her life.
Joanne said: “I am genuinely surprised but also delighted to receive this honour for something I am so passionate about. It is humbling that someone has taken the time to nominate me.
“Leaving school at 16, I would never have imagined this at all. I hope that young people might see this and take some inspiration that you can have a great career if you work hard, stay true to your values and love what you do.”
Joanne was appointed as Manchester City Council’s first ever female chief executive in 2017.
Council leader Cllr Bev Craig said: “It’s great to see Joanne recognised for her outstanding contribution to local government. Following an accomplished career before joining Manchester as chief executive, this award is a fitting reflection of the work to deliver Manchester’s ambitions to be a world class city, that puts people at its heart.”
During her tenure Joanne has been faced with a wide range of challenges including leading the Council’s response in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing, as well as the development of the Glade of Light memorial to those who lost their lives, and co-ordinating the city’s response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
She was named the Local Authority Chief Executive of the Year at the 2021 annual local government MJ (Municipal Journal) Awards and the following year Manchester attained Council of the Year status at the 2022 annual LGC (Local Government Chronicle) Awards.
Joanne also served as the President of SOLACE, the national society for chief executive’s in local government, between 2020 – 2022.