Yorkshire winners at IoD Director of the Year Awards

Two company directors from Yorkshire have triumphed over the best of Britain at the prestigious Institute of Directors (IoD) Director of the Year Awards.

Julia Gash, founder of Bag It Don’t Bin It, was named Small and Medium Company Director of the Year.

Susan Symington, a non-executive director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, won New Chartered Director.

The awards, now in their fifth year, saw winners of the IoD’s regional Director of the Year awards gather at the Lancaster London Hotel for the national finals.

Julia used her passion for print to set up Bag It Don’t Bin It as a green and ethical manufacturer of tote bags. The Sheffield business makes bags for some of the world’s top fashion brands and businesses. The bags are used as a marketing tool or an affordable fashion accessory.

The Small and Medium Company Director of the Year award is open to directors of companies with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £5m.

Julia was also highly commended for the overall Director of the Year award.

Susan was recognised as the best new chartered director, based on the marks and grades she achieved through the examination and interview process.

She joined the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust board in 2008, with extensive experience of leading public, private and third sector organisations. Susan is also vice chair of the Independent Advisory Panel at The Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

The awards also saw York-based property investor Alex Szepietowski highly commended in the Student Member of the Year category.

Natalie Sykes, regional director for the IoD in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Huge congratulations to Julia and Susan, who fully deserved these awards.

“They have continued Yorkshire and Humber’s superb record at the national IoD Director of the Year Awards, which are the pinnacle of achievement for company directors.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award was won by veteran entrepreneur Richard Branson, in recognition of his extraordinary achievements over nearly half a century in business.

Ian Dormer, chairman of the Institute of Directors, said: “The calibre of entrants was exceptionally high and all of our winners and highly commended business leaders deserve immense credit for seeing off some tough competition to impress our panel of expert judges.

“We look forward to following their continued success in the years ahead.”

Julia Gash


Susan Symington



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