In this modern era of celebrating women in business, there is one entrepreneur who hits that top line, Karren Brady. Or to be more specific… Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE. Brady is one of the UK’s most high profile, influential and respected female business leaders. Her numerous accolades include; Business Woman of the Year, Ultimate Entrepreneur and she is rated amongst the 50 most inspirational people in the world. Brady was appointed her CBE in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to business, entrepreneurship and women in business. The following year, the Prime Minister elevated her to the House of Lords.
Brady’s passion for business and the promotion of women in UK business remains fierce. Brady was bought up in North London and privately educated throughout her school years, resulting in four A-levels. Her father had made his fortune in printing and property development.
Upon being rejected for a place at college, Brady headed into the hedonistic world of advertising at Saatchi’s. A year later she joined the London Broadcasting Company (LBC) where she targeted one of her father’s largest clients, who spent over £2m within months. Impressed, he recruited Brady for a job, leading to a directorship at the age of 20. Brady persuaded her boss to purchase the in receivership Birmingham City FC for her to run.
At 23, Brady was MD for Birmingham City FC. She encountered sexism and a false arrest for corruption. The club was sold for £81 million. Four years later, she became the youngest MD of a UK PlC at West Ham when she floated the club on the London Stock Exchange. She joined the board of West Ham United FC resulting in it becoming one of the five fastest growing brands in world football.
A true inspiration – Brady is currently CEO of West Ham United and Senior Non-Exec Director of Syco Entertainment and Taveta Investments. Karren Brady is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world, author of a Sunday Times best-seller and a leading contributor and commentator on business affairs and news programmes. In 2007, Brady raised more than £750,000 for Comic Relief as girls’ team leader. Today she is Lord Sugar’s new assistant, otherwise known as ‘Lord Sugar’s Iron Lady’.
Married and mother of two, she speaks widely how ‘tortuous’ it is for women to remain in business while raising a family, with the constant guilt experienced.
Away from home and the office, Brady devotes much of her spare time to supporting charities, causes and campaigns close to her heart. She is committed to helping other women follow her path to the top and actively encourages businesses to put more women on their boards. Karren Brady’s Youth Mentoring body was devised in line with her wish for every young person to receive the necessary support and opportunities to nurture their talents. Karren Brady speaks of her pride as a Patron and Ambassador for some of Britain’s most important healthcare charities.
Scrawled appropriately on the home page of her website the gigantic copy is ‘You can’t determine where you start in life, but you can determine where you end up’. Hail the Baroness.