The plan was to quickly redevelop a run-down hotel plagued by anti-social behaviour problems and transform it into a luxury hotel with restaurant, conference, meeting and wedding facilities.
And turn it into a centrepiece for Mansfield.
Now, 15 months into the project Diane Doran is well on the way to achieving her vision. She has also created jobs and turned a profit.
Mansfield Manor Hotel on Windmill Lane, Mansfield, has seen occupancy rise to 62 per cent, dozens of weddings booked, regular conferences, a restaurant booked up for months, a refurbished outdoor space and the installation of CCTV to cut trouble.
In its first year income was £210,000, with that set to double this year. Profit was £48,000 in the first year and that too is set to double this year, and hit £170,000 in year three.
An undoubted success, and just one of a string of achievements that started after Diane left school at 16 with a grade C in English.
At 22, she qualified as a psychiatric nurse and eventually made it all the way to director of mental health.
Leaving the NHS in 2003, she developed a £2m property portfolio and built a large sports equipment import business.
In 2007 she bought a semi-derelict eight-bed property in Derbyshire sitting in six overgrown acres. After considerable renovation it was fit to be rented out and has been fully booked since 2009.
In February 2012 she saw the Portland Hall Hotel in Mansfield was up for sale. The rest is history.
The judges said Diane had showed great courage and insight and a passion to succeed where others failed.