Walking the walk - In Conversation... with Donna Richards & Donna Scully on International Women's Day

08 March 2024

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, Donna Richards, CEO (left) and Donna Scully, Director (right) talk through how they inspire inclusion, what they have both been up to in the past year, and the plans that they and their teams at Carpenters Group have looking forward.

How do you both personally inspire inclusion and why is it so important to Carpenters Group?

Donna Richards:

"At Carpenters Group we have had a very longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our business.  We are a people business and they are integral at all levels.  Diversity of thinking and the value of different perspectives is something that I really drive when looking at our business strategy and decision-making practices and priorities.

One of our overarching objectives continues to be to create a workplace which is truly inclusive, where difference is celebrated and respected and where everyone can be themselves regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, socio-economic background, sexuality, religion and belief, age, disability, caring responsibilities or health challenges."


Donna Scully:

"We truly believe in bringing through and supporting the best people, by removing barriers to entry, investing in the tools to support progression, and creating the right working environment.

Making sure that our key priorities are linked to what is important to our people and business is key for us. Everything that we do as a business is focused on how we continue to create a culture and physical environment that fosters inclusion, respect, empathy and listening.

Also important for me is sharing what has worked and maybe not worked so well, as is being honest and having an open dialogue. This is necessary if we really want to push forward our business and the sector in a more positive way when it comes to gender and inclusion.  We need to put competitive issues aside for the greater good."


Tell us about some of your key highlights for Carpenters Group this year?

Donna Richards:

"As a business we have grown significantly and incredibly quickly, both organically and through a number of acquisitions.

Our culture, values and people engagement programme have really taken roots over the last few years, the aim of which is to develop and nurture our people. We have done this through mentoring, career coaching, formal management and leadership development, lunch and learns and with our wellbeing agenda.

Our apprenticeship programme has also continued to evolve and diversify and we currently have 26 apprentices across the business. We have also recently relaunched and revamped our internal solicitor talent programme.  We cannot stand still."


Donna Scully:

"As always, we have continued to do a lot with our community partnerships. I am personally very passionate and proud of what we’ve done on schools’ engagement. We have a number of drivers for this work including extending our reach to encourage social mobility, to educate young people about the working environment, to inspire and promote the benefits of working within our sector and also to help develop a pipeline of talent who may want to join us in the future.  This year has been our busiest year yet!  The feedback has been amazing.

We have also done lots of great work with our leaders and managers to help them better understand how the role that they play is key.  We now include DEI, well-being and career development in manager role profiles as key responsibilities.

We are equally incredibly proud of the special recognition we received this year for our ‘Contribution to Gender Diversity’ from Lead 5050. Our gender diversity at all levels is something that, since our inception 30 years ago, we have worked hard to achieve. It was very rewarding to get this kind of acknowledgement for all our hard work."



Can you let us in on any plans that Carpenters Group have for the coming year?

Donna Richards:

"We will be doing more of what we are currently doing because it is working.

I am keen for us to start looking at how we can get more effective at tracking outcomes to improve progression and our employee experience.  We have plans to bring in new technologies which will help to analyse our recruitment, promotion, and attrition data to better support our people and for them to realise their career ambitions. This all aligns very much with our broader ESG agenda too."


Donna Scully

"I second that! Looking forward, people engagement, development, and technology in the context of diversity, equity inclusion, will continue to play a key role with our people and cultural change agenda, particularly as we continue to grow!

Inspiring inclusion for us is about working collaboratively with the people around you, respecting difference and learning and growing together.

Personally, I will continue to mentor externally whether through The Girls’ Network, the Insurance Breakfast Club or when companies or young women approach me direct. Part of that mentoring is the ability to share my knowledge, experience (good and bad) and network with young women coming behind me."


Happy International Women’s Day 2024 from everyone at Carpenters Group!