ONE of south Cumbria's most prominent businesswomen has now been crowned one of the best in the north west.
Sue Coulson - who runs Coulson Associates in Windermere and is one of the people behind the Cumbria Family Business Awards - has won a gong at Institute of Directors North West Director of the Year Awards.
She triumphed in the small company category.
Ms Coulson has run her company, an outsourced provider for business development, since 2011
At first it was run from the spare room of her house but it now operates from its own premises in Beresford Road, Windermere.
Nine members of staff work there and the company also has six associates based in other areas. The business has clients globally and some of the associates work abroad.
Ms Coulson is also looking to open an operation in Manchester because of business wins.
She was delighted to be recognised with the IoD prize, which was presented to her at a ceremony in Manchester.
"It is a big achievement and I am very surprised but also very pleased that I got it," she said.
The judges described Ms Coulson as a "game changer and visionary" and added that "2017 marks a landmark year for Sue and the business, as new projects launch and well-laid plans come to fruition".
Before starting her own firm she worked in a variety of different industries and started working for herself after being approached by an old boss to work on a project, while she was taking time off work to raise her daughter.
She is proud to point out that it is possible to run a global business from a rural location like Windermere.
"I travel a lot, but the trains are fantastic - I can be in London in less than three hours and Edinburgh in a couple," she said.
Her work is primarily about getting results for her clients and other people, so this award presented an opportunity for her and her company to enjoy the limelight.
She said: "When you are working in a business development function it is a support function and quite often you are behind the scenes and you are working on behalf of others.
"It was really nice for me, after all these years, to get that recognition."
Ms Coulson was also keen to point out that this success was only possible because of the support she receives from everyone involved with her company.
Subscribe to our newsletter: get a glimpse of what it's really like to live and work in Cumbria.