Claire Horton, chief executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, has been named director of the year by the Institute of Directors.
The membership body, which has about 30,000 members from the business, public and voluntary sectors, announced Horton’s award on Friday.
Horton was chosen as the overall winner from the winners in 12 categories, having been chosen to take the prize in the public and third sector category.
Other category winners included Sonia Cottom, director of the charity the Pain Association Scotland, and Nathan Warren, group director of the social landlord Sanctuary Housing.
Horton said she was "thrilled and humbled" to have won and felt "deeply honoured to be in the company of some of the UK’s most successful and inspirational business leaders".
She said: "Every business leader is only as good as the team they work with so these awards are very much about them too."
Stephen Martin, director general of the IoD, who selected the overall winner, said Horton "embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and strategic thinking needed in the ever-changing charity sector".
He said: "Like business, the third sector has suffered its own charity governance setbacks, but this is exactly why today shows that both businesses and charities alike, when run effectively, can benefit everyone."
Martin might have been referring to the controversial fundraising practices that were used by some major charities and that led to the reform of fundraising self-regulation over the past couple of years.
Battersea was one of the 13 charities that were fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office for breaches of data protection law.