Former managing director of Birmingham City Football Club and current vice-chairman of West Ham United, Karren Brady, the first lady of football, is an entrepreneur, business speaker
, journalist and author. She was appointed the Government's small business ambassador in 2013.
The first woman to break into the very male dominated world of football, and Alan Sugar’s adviser on The Apprentice, Karren’s tenacity, business acumen and fervent determination to encourage women to fulfil their capacity for professional success, have made her a household name.
From Saatchi and Saatchi, she moved into advertising at LBC. One of her clients, David Sullivan, offered her a job with Sport Newspapers, where she became a director by the age of 20. She persuaded Sullivan to buy the floundering Birmingham City and told him she would run it for him, which she did, with huge success.
In 1993, at the age of 23, Karren was appointed to the most senior position any female had held in British football at Birmingham City. She was responsible for the company's flotation in 1997, and left for West Ham after the club was sold.When she left the club, Karren was appointed Chairman to the England 2018 World Cup bid advisory board, and then as Vice-Chairman of West Ham United. Karren has championed women in the boardroom in an influential and vociferous manner, through newspaper columns, government advisory positions and her Guardian column.
In September 2013 Karren addressed the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on the subject of small businesses and supporting the policies of Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. She was subsequently announced as the government's Small Business Ambassador by the former Prime Minster David Cameron.
Karren is a regular writer for the Woman & Home magazine and The Sun. She has also published four books including two novels. In 2006 Karren was voted Cosmopolitan’s Woman of the Year, and in 2010 she was listed in the business category of The Sunday Telegraph's ‘100 Most Powerful Women in Britain’, and was included in the Evening Standard’s list of ‘London's 1000 Most Influential People 2010’.She was awarded an honorary doctorate in business from the University of Birmingham in December 2010, and was hailed as Britain's Most Inspirational Women by the Breakthrough for Breast Cancer Inspiration Awards.
In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious fcbusiness Magazine CEO of the Year Award at the Football Business Awards, and in 2013 Karren was lauded as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.Able to speak about business, leadership, motivation, teamwork and sport, Karren’s extensive and successful career makes her both a role model and ideal business speaker on the corporate circuit.