An entrepreneur from Lancashire, whose business is devoted to safeguarding the lives of  children, young people and vulnerable adults, has won national recognition at the 3rd annual national Extraordinary Women Awards 2011.

Sarah Goodall from Clitheroe in Lancashire, who caught the judges imagination by her inspirational leadership as well as her abundant energy and enthusiasm for her work, won the Extraordinary Entrepreneurship category.

Sarah, a mother of four, who used to be a social worker, released her entrepreneurial spirit in 2007 by setting up The Athena Programme, a leading training and consultancy company specialising in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

Sarah said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award.  It’s a great honour.  My goal has always been to increase the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults and by being recognised in this way, on a national platform, will help the Athena Programme go from strength to strength.”

In a few years, Sarah’s business has seen a rapid development, with a steady year on year increase in turnover and profit, and now has a team of 6 permanent staff and a number of training associates.

The entrepreneurial success of Athena cannot be measured in money alone and perhaps the true measure of the business is the value of its ethical impact on society.  Over 3500 people have been trained on safeguarding, which translates into around 35,000 children who have potentially been helped.  An average of 1 in 3 children are abused, so fundamentally Athena makes protection real.

Sarah puts the success of her business down to flexible business planning, a committed and loyal team, quality services, managing growth, an integrated marketing strategy, value pricing, and seeking and receiving investment.  Athena is recognised as the market leader for creativity, innovation and best practice in its field of business.  She turns new challenges into opportunities, squeezing every last drop out of new partnerships

Extraordinary Women organiser Vicki Espin, and Director of corporate coaching company CECO said:

“We were blown away by the support the awards have had this year.  There were over 100 nominations, so these women are the crème de la crème of all those we received.  The quality of entrants has been tremendous and the winners are truly deserving.  Every single person attending the Extraordinary Women conference has gone away feeling truly inspired by the amazing stories we’ve heard.”

Extraordinary Women is a not-for-profit organisation so, after covering costs, all funds raised will go to Women v. Cancer, their chosen charity for 2011.

The Extraordinary Women conference and awards ceremony was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham, on Tuesday 10th May, 2011.  Over 100 women (and a few men!) were in attendance.

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