President Lennox Head Residents’ Association Inc
Birthplace: Rathdowney, Qld
Family: Husband Bob, son Calem, daughter Hannah, granddaughter Isla, dog Sunny, Cockateil Rocky 2, and two fish.
Star Sign: Capricorn
Favourite Food: Thai
Monica Wilcox grew up on a dairy farm, but says she was never destined to be a farmer’s wife.
‘I wasn’t really cut out for farm life. The horses and I didn’t get on at all well and I had the broken bones to prove it,’ she says.
Instead she enrolled in Visual Arts at what is now the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, and after graduation moved to Brisbane where she ‘faked’ her way into the advertising industry, working as a finished artist for large corporate clients.
She worked in this industry (called graphic design these days) for many years, and when she became a mother, continued to pick up freelance work.
In 1999 Monica had the first of two serious car accidents, which occurred within 16 months of each other, and left her with a lifetime back injury and chronic fatigue. The whiplash she suffered in the first accident led to her becoming a kind of lab rat for some university studies on the effects of whiplash. This was her introduction to the science of data collection, and something clicked.
In 2004 she decided to go back to university and study psychology. She wrote her thesis on how emotional factors can affect cognitive function. This project led Monica to make several important discoveries about the processes she and her fellow researchers used.
These days she calls herself an ‘evidence-based data nerd’, and it is this healthy obsession that has seen her become involved in several local projects, including the Gibbon Street impact of traffic on residents survey, which involved the collection of detailed data that would eventually lead to improvements to Gibbon Street.
Monica and her husband Bob came from Brisbane to Lennox Head in 2011.
As soon as she arrived here Monica joined the Rainbow Dragons (dragon boat team) and has remained very involved, and is now responsible for their publicity.
She also works with several other community organisations including the Cancer Council, FSG and is a Refugee Homestay host.
Her latest role as President of the Residents’ Association could be one of her toughest jobs yet.
‘I decided to go for this because I didn’t like the harm that had been created by recent conflict. I wanted to reintroduce the gentleness of process that had been the hallmark of the Association.
‘I want to focus on the positives and I say to everyone, leave your pitchforks at the door,’ she says.
What do you love about your work? I love finding better solutions, working towards building a positive narrative, and building relationships. I have a strong sense of social justice, so I am keen to see fair and just outcomes.
What do you not love so much?
The individual and community collateral damage when ‘at all cost’ approaches are taken.
Hobbies? Gardening (Bangalow Garden Club member), drawing, creating quirky things for the garden, crocheting big things and dragon boating.
Work / Life Philosophy? Be open to exploring a variety of perspectives, and then my final choices will be sound.