Learning from the best

Carpenters Group CEO Donna Scully discussed the power of mentoring and shared her own experiences at ILC’s New Generation in Claims 2023 event, which took place at etc.venues Manchester in April 2023.

She explained that she did not have time to be a mentor until recently, but in the last few years has been able to support a number of initiatives primarily targeting women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and has even benefited from some mentoring herself despite her achievements.


One of the charities Donna supports is The Girl’s Network, which was set up 10 years ago to help young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Last year it supported 1,164 girls aged 14-19, with 97% saying their mentor had a positive influence on them.

Donna said, “I saw The Girl’s Network on social media and saw myself because I never had a mentor growing up. I’m now working with a 16-year-old girl from Liverpool who is doing her GCSEs. We meet at a coffee shop on Saturday mornings and we’ve discussed leadership, gender equality, wellbeing, and empowerment; the belief that you can do it no matter where you come from.

“That’s important because mentoring is all about social mobility. If you’re from a disadvantaged background you might not have role models or know people who have gone to university and are ambitious, so one of the things I hope I bring to mentoring is a network.

“But it’s also reverse mentoring because I’m learning a lot from her too, particularly about the adverse effect of social media and how it impacts her.”


Donna is also part of the Insurance Business Club, which has been set up to help established women in the insurance industry progress their careers from operational level and middle-management.

“There are more women in insurance now,” Donna said, “but we’re not very well represented at top leadership level. The Insurance Business Club asks, why can’t you be the next CEO?”

Meanwhile, by making the shortlist in the ‘Person with Purpose’ category at the Northern Power Women Awards, Donna was offered a mentor herself, and despite her own success in business says the experience has been a positive one.

She said, “I didn’t know what to expect but it was really good. My mentor is quite different from me and has done things I haven’t done, so it’s been interesting. There is no downside to mentoring.”


It’s no surprise with Donna at the helm that Carpenters Group places a great emphasis on finding and developing new talent. It now boasts more than 20 apprentices within the company and is proactive in inspiring the next generation through school and college visits.

Carpenters has also established its own legal and insurance academy.

Donna said, “We’re growing our own. One of our office juniors is now the second in command in finance. They’re the stories you want to tell.”

ILC’s New Generation event was headline sponsored by Wiser Group and sponsored by Carpenters Group, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and Zurich.


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