My Planet Liverpool chats with Donna Scully
25 October 2021
4 minute read
Our Director, Donna Scully, recently spoke to My Planet Liverpool Magazine about herself, her family and Carpenters Group.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND EDUCATED?
I was born in Inner City Dublin (North Side!) and educated in an all girls’ school up the road called George’s Hill run by nuns. It was a pretty rough school with about 40 in a class and our playground was on the roof surrounded by barbed wire either so we didn’t fall off or try to escape!
CAREER PATH PRIOR TO CARPENTERS
I stupidly left school at 16, did a secretarial course and became a legal secretary in Dublin. At 20 I emigrated to Newcastle Upon Tyne (following a holiday romance!) and became a legal secretary there. I didn’t know where Newcastle was and found it very cold when I got there!
I wanted to do more than be a secretary so I applied to do a law degree at Newcastle University but I couldn’t get funding so I opted to do the Institute of Legal Executives course instead which worked well because it was part time over 4 years and I could still work to pay the bills.
I moved to London 2 years into this course but completed the next 2 years in London then went on to do the conversion course that enabled me (after what felt like 20 years!) to ultimately qualify as a solicitor. It actually took just over 8 years.
ABOUT CARPENTERS GROUP
John Carpenter set up Carpenters 27 years ago as a niche Commercial law firm and I joined 3 years later and introduced motor personal injury work.
We are now a very diverse insurance/legal services provider to the insurer/broker/fleet industry. We have just under 1000 staff over 5 locations, mainly in Merseyside but with an office in Haywards Heath and Glasgow too.
I am very proud of the fact we are 50/50 men/women top to bottom as gender equality, diversity and social mobility are very important to John and I.
From day one of the business we are totally focused on the customer journey through the claims process and providing claims handling and support in an ethical way.
AWARDS (INDIVIDUAL & ORGANISATIONS)
I was Chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors’ Society from 2010-12. During my term, I was closely involved in shaping civil reform, meeting with the Ministry of Justice and lobbying on behalf of motor customers. I Chair the Insurance Times’ Magazine Fraud Charter and am on the editorial board of Modern Insurance Magazine.
I received the Outstanding Achievement award at the 2014 Personal Injury Awards. In 2016 and 2018, Insurance Business UK named me as one of the insurance industry’s Women of Influence. In September 2018, I jointly won the Insurance Post Magazine’s Social Media Influencer Award.
I was named on the Insurance Business UK’s ‘Elite Women’ List 2021 for my work during Covid19 including my charitable contributions. I recently won the ‘Outstanding Charity Support’ Award at the 2021 Liverpool Echo Regional Business Awards for support of local foodbanks and community groups during the pandemic.
I am an Ambassador for Fans Supporting Foodbanks, a Football for Change Champion and a Director of Help Finder Charity.
OTHER WORK RELATED ACTIVITIES
I do a lot of public speaking in our industry on topics like civil reform, access to justice and fighting fraud collaboratively. I write articles and do podcasts about these matters plus mentoring, social mobility and diversity. I am passionate about everybody, no matter their background, colour or creed, getting a chance to fulfil their dreams and be happy in what they do.
I like to get involved in charitable work as much as I can both personally and through the company too. I work with a lot of local community groups (particularly in covid) who provide food, support with mental health and sport to support those who are suffering and need it. I volunteer when I can.
Before Covid I helped run a homeless breakfast club in Birkenhead jointly with Fans Supporting Foodbanks and the Charles Thompson Mission and I can’t wait for that to resume once Covid regulations allow it.
I want to do more charitable work going forward and my ultimate aim is to have a joint Foundation with John.
My Mammy and only brother, Tony, live in Dublin so I visit there as much as I can. Although I’ve lived in the UK for a very long time, a huge part of my heart remains in Dublin!
I am married to John Carpenter (people ask how that can work!) and we have twin boys who are 20 and both at university.
My boys being home from University keep me very busy but I try to fit in as much pilates as I can and I listen to podcasts when I get outside to power walk.
I don’t have any hobbies as such but in any spare time I have I fit in my charity work and I’m a social animal (being Irish) so I like to go out for food and drinks!
Credit: My Planet Liverpool Magazine