THIS week’s High Flyer is Donna Linehan, head of sales and client services at Scottish Provident Building, Belfast.
What was your first job?
I had a part-time job when I was 16 in Saxone Shoe Shop, Royal Avenue (I think it’s now a KFC or a pound shop).
What qualifications do you have?
I studied business and finance, then moved on to travel and tourism. I must be honest I was always so keen to get out into the working world, so gaining experience and earning a few pounds was always my number one priority.
However, I would like to say the above does not apply to my son, who must continue his studies at Queen’s University!
To what do you attribute to your success?
My parents, which is no surprise, but for as long as I remember they have instilled in me a great work ethic, I can hear my dad saying: “you have to go to your work”.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Genuine, honest (some may say brutally), hardworking and friendly.
Who do you look up to in business?
I visited a fruit shop in Castle Street recently and I was served by one of the nicest ladies, who we all know has been hit hard over the last period by the Bank Buildings fire. Just speaking to her and receiving the service I did, brightened my day. That’s who I look up to, honest, genuine, and hardworking people who just get on with it.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
By treating them with respect, understanding and appreciation. All of my team are so important to me; each role they play has a vital part in the day to day running of the Scottish Provident Building.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
I love Belfast and yes, in many ways we are decades behind other cities and countries, but we are getting there. For me we now need to focus on the future for the benefit of all, particularly our children. So my one thing is to sort out Stormont, which is still like the Marie Celeste.
What website or app could you not do without?
Daily Mail and Outlook App.
What was the last book you read?
Liar Liar by James Patterson.
What car do you drive?
Range Rover Evoque.
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I am utterly petrified of sloths. I’ve no idea why, nor do I have any interest in overcoming my fear.
What’s your greatest passion outside of work and family?
Jam Shed (£6 a bottle in Tesco); other brands are available, I think!