Determine where you end up in life - Karren Brady
When you look at successful entrepreneurs, ones that you respect and get motivation from most certainly have unmatched passion and respect in the fields they are in. But when you are talking about business women specifically, one woman who is not only respected but also inspires and motivates thousands of men and women every day is Karren Brady. She was the youngest Managing Director of a PLC in the UK. She has won the Business Woman of the year award and is better known as Baroness Brady, or First Lady of Football – rightfully deserving both titles.
Born to an Italian mother and Irish father, Brady had a humble start in Edmonton, North London. Her father used to work in printing and property development. She and her brother started looking for work at a young age.
She developed the urge to be independent at a young age, this urge then became her motivation to work and be successful against all odds. Karren Brady started her career early; she applied for a journalism course at Harlow College but was rejected. This rejection gave her life a new turn. Instead of looking for other studying options; she started working. Her career started in the advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi. After a year of learning and experience, she joined the London Broadcasting Company (LBC) as an account executive.
Forbes quotes tenacity as one of the essential traits of successful entrepreneurs, and Karren showed persistence in her early years.
This advertising job made her way into the sports. She targeted the advertising business of David Sullivan of the Daily Sport. This was the kick-start to her ever-growing sports career. It is again a trait of exceptional entrepreneurs that they make best of the opportunities given to them.
Birmingham City FC
When she working with Sullivan, she noticed an advert posted for the sale of Birmingham City FM in Financial Times and convinced him to not only buy it but also let her handle it. He was reluctant in the beginning but Brady’s determination, hard work, vision, and confidence made her win his support. He nicknamed her ‘the sacker’.
She became manager director of Birmingham City at the age of 23 in 1993. The football industry had always been driven by men which created gender bias during her earlier years. During one of the tours one player actually commented “I can see your tits from here” to which Brady replied, “When I sell you to Crewe, you won’t be able to see them from there will you?” The player was sold soon after.
As said by Richard Branson
“By turning challenges into opportunities, you will find success you never realised you are capable of achieving”
Being a woman, Brady did face sexism but she turned this into opportunities, showing grace and resilience only known to women in her struggle. She didn’t only make ways for herself but so many other women and girls to do the same despite the challenges they may face. Brady has continued to empower and support women throughout her career.
In 1997 Brady became the youngest managing director of a PLC in the UK at the age of 27 when she floated Birmingham City F.C. on the stock exchange.
West Ham United
Sullivan and Brady sold this club in 2009 for over £80m, and Brady then joined Premier League Club West Ham United. In 2016 this club moved to Olympic Stadium as part of the deal negotiated by Brady and Chairman.
Owning to these services she is rightfully called the “First Lady of Football.”
Other Business Endeavours
While she was working hard for a sports executive, she didn’t limit her options and achievements to sports alone.
She served as chairman of Kerrang! which is a known youth culture brand devoted to rock music. It owned by Bauer Media Group. It was originally a magazine but later they also launched the radio and TV channel. She was a non-executive member of Channel 4 at that time, this made Brady capable of helping Kerrang! to launch its own channel.
After resigning from Channel 4, she joined Syco Entertainment as senior non-executive director. The company is jointly owned by Simon Cowell and Sony.
She joined Mothercare in 2003 as a non-executive member, a post she resigned in 2010 to join Taveta Investments Ltd. In 2012, she introduced her brand of clothing in BHS for working women. Proceeds from these sales went to Wellbeing for Women, a charity that Brady holds close to her heart.
Brady was known and acknowledged among all entrepreneurs either successful or struggling but working as an advisor made her popular among the public. She first appeared in the UK version show in 2007 as a celebrity contest leading the girls’ team. In 2008’s series four of The Apprentice, she appeared as guest interviewer. Brady made a promise to Lord Alan Sugar during to the show to offer a job to one of the final contestants and she did fulfil her promise. In the 5th series of The Apprentice, she again interviewed the contestants. In the next and sixth series of The Apprentice Brady appeared as Sugar’s new assistant, replacing Margaret Mountford.
Brady showed interest in politics in March 2013 in one of her interviews, and in December 2013 took part in Conservative Party Conference for small businesses, where David Cameron announced that she has been given the role of Small Business Ambassador for the government.
In 2014 Brady received a CBE (Commander of Most Excellence Order of British Empire) from the Queen for her services to business, entrepreneurship, and women in business and was given the title of Baroness, becoming the Conservative life peer in the House of Lords.
Writer and Speaker
Brady has written 3 books and 2 novels, all five writings revolve around her life, learning, experience and passion. Her 2 novels are named United and Trophy Wives, released in 1996 and 1998 respectively. While her first book Playing to Win: 10 Steps to Achieve Your Goals was launched in 2004, her second and third named Strong Women: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels and Karren Brady’s 10 Rules for Success, both books were launched together in 2012.
She appears in many conferences, workshops, and shows to motivate and influence women and young people. She serves as an Ambassador for Wellbeing for Women and Barclays Life skills, and is quite rightly one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her day.