Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

My Inspiration: Jeanette Donohoe

Jeanette Donohoe owes it all to her dad

The director and head of insolvency department at Cleaver Fulton Rankin Solicitors says her dad inspires her daily

My friends and colleagues would have a field day with this type of question, citing all sorts of famous people, millionaires or celebrities. I would like to sound comical and say that my inspiration was Ally McBeal, Judge Judy or one of the other great television lawyers, however, for me it’s quite simple. My biggest inspiration in my life to date and the man who continues to inspire me on a daily basis is my father.

Brought up in Londonderry, as the eldest of four children, he was responsible for earning money for the family from a very early age. Nothing was too hard for him, manual labour, milk rounds, you name it. Showing a talent for woodwork, his first break was getting an apprenticeship as a joiner in a local builder’s yard. After several years’ hard work building his reputation, he was given the opportunity to buy the business from his boss.

To start off with pennies in his pocket, through his determination and sheer hard work, he built up a very successful building contractor business, working long hours to provide for our family and to ensure that we wanted for nothing.

My dad instilled in us a work ethic that if you put your mind to anything and worked hard, you could achieve your dreams. With that in mind and with no other family members having gone down the university route, I set my sights on a law and accountancy degree at Queen’s University, Belfast.

By this time my mum had taken over the running of her late father’s convenience store, and I was summoned up to Derry at the weekends and at university holidays to do my bit. I can’t complain, however, as learning first hand and seeing how a business is run from the ground up has given me a special commercial awareness essential for a successful career in a commercial legal practice.

Because of my parents’ hard work and their desire to give us all better opportunities, I am very grateful that they were able to support me financially through my six years of legal studies.

Despite the dogged determination that I have inherited from my dad, he has also passed on a need to respect and care for others. He has been incredibly loyal to his workforce and even now his employees of the business are his top priority.

The legal profession sometimes gets knocked as being very cut-throat and inhumane, so I am delighted to have been able to build my career in Cleaver Fulton Rankin. Their work ethic, energy, respect for others and commercial sense mirrors my own. Living these values instilled from an early age has made me the lawyer I am today.

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