Baroness (Karren) Brady

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Karren ran the business side of Birmingham City FC through promotion, relegation – and brain surgery. Karren’s mantra for leaders growing any enterprise can be summed up in 5 tips: work hard (be persistent); use every opportunity to network (spread your message); move on (failure is history); don’t get side-tracked, and do your sums.


Karren Brady, businesswoman, peer, ‘first lady of football’, and Alan Sugar’s aide on The Apprentice, became MD of Birmingham City at the age of just twenty-three, and is now one of the UK’s best known business personalities.

After starting out in advertising, Karren’s first contact with David Sullivan, then owner of Sport Newspapers, was through selling him airtime on LBC. So impressed was the businessman that he employed Karren and she was quickly appointed a director. Upon hearing that Birmingham City had gone into receivership and was for sale for £1, she famously persuaded David that she could run the club. He bought it and installed Karren as Managing Director.

Within twelve months Karren had turned the club around, recording a profit. In four years, she became the youngest MD of a PLC when the business was floated with a value of £25million. She steered the club to huge successes. When she left the club when it was sold for £81million.

When David Sullivan and his business partner David Gold bought West Ham United, Karren was appointed Vice-Chairman. Following her first twelve months there, the club made a trading profit for the first time in its recent history. Karren has since grown all revenue streams at the club exponentially. Under her leadership, West Ham has seen an overall income growth of 300%, now valued at £1billion - propelling it to the 14th most Valuable club in the world, and 7th most valuable in the Premier League. She secured a move for the club to the former Olympic Stadium in London.

Karren was awarded a CBE for her contribution to women in business and entrepreneurship; and became a Peer in House of Lords taking the title Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE. In her characteristically no-nonsense but entertaining way, Karren speaks about running the business side of a major football club - through promotion, relegation, controversy and even brain surgery. Known for her resilience and focus, she describes how to combat fear of failure and energise the team, and why hunger is always your most valuable asset regardless of your organisation or industry.

Karren has been awarded Cosmopolitan’s Woman of the Year and named in the category of Woman Who Has Changed the World.  She has also been awarded CEO of the Year Award at the Football Business Awards, and BBC Women’s Hour called her one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom. She has written autobiographies, business books and novels, and has written for a range of national


Conference Speaker Karren Brady on Change Management

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Book written by Baroness (Karren) Brady CBE
Book written by Baroness (Karren) Brady CBE
Book written by Baroness (Karren) Brady CBE


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