THE driving force behind a successful pub and brewery chain has been shortlisted for a prestigious award after being secretly nominated.
Kirsty Mackenzie is a finalist in the hospitality category of the Enterprise Vision Awards and will go head to head with fellow women in business.
The 28-year-old mum of twins is the managing director of Lakeland Inns, a successful hospitality business based in south Cumbria which operates three pubs and a brewery.
She said she is humbled at her nomination - and desperately curious about who put her name forward.
Kirsty added: “I was really shocked when I was contacted by the EVA Awards team and told I had been nominated.
“It is a massive honour to be alongside some very inspirational businesswomen and certainly not a position I thought I would find myself in.
“I suppose with a very busy home life and an equally, if not more busy work life, it’s not very often that I stop to reflect on what the team and I achieve on a day to day basis.
“I do very much see this as a nomination for everyone who works at Lakeland Inns. We only achieve what we achieve through their commitment, loyalty and hard work.
“If I were lucky enough to win the category, it would certainly be for everyone. One person can only achieve so much and it is the power of many which fuels Lakeland Inns.”
Kirsty has been managing director of the business since she took over the lease of the Sun Inn in Ulverston along with her husband, Scott, in 2015.
The pub was closed the day they took over, so they could complete a major refurbishment. On reopening, it became a huge success.
They then took up the tenancies for two further pubs; the Commodore in Grange-over Sands in February 2017, and the Black Cock in Broughton-in-Furness in July 2017.
September 2018 saw the next natural step in business growth with the purchase of Stringers Brewery, an established and award-winning microbrewery which needed commercial guidance, sales experience and investment.
In Kirsty’s role as MD, she oversees all operational aspects of the businesses - and under her management, turnover has quadrupled.
Her vision for the future is simple: “My focus is ensuring I provide a stable future for my family and can be a strong female role model for my girls.
“I am also very conscious many people rely on our success to support their own families and pay the bills. That is why we invest huge sums of money back into the business, rather than taking big salaries.
“My mission is to always strive to be the best possible version of me and ensure we are sustainable, provide local jobs and are the best in all that we do.”
The awards final will be held in Blackpool in September.