Born on 4th April 1969, Karren grew up in Edmonton in London. Her father, Terry Brady, was once chairman of Swindon Town and a director of Portsmouth Football Club. He made his fortune in printing and property development – he was a self-made millionaire. Her mother is Italian, and Karren Brady has an older brother, Darren. She studied in Poles Convent, a boarding school in Ware, Hertfordshire and Aldenham School, Elstree, a boys' school which accepted girls in the sixth form.
Karren Brady began to reveal her entrepreneurial flair at a very early stage in life:
“I was entrepreneurial as a child. Darren and I used to have these money-making schemes: we would run car washes. I put posters up in my bedroom window when I was six or seven, saying: "Call in for manicures, pedicures and massages." Men would come to the door asking for a massage. My poor mother!
…I used to write to my headmaster [at Aldenham School, Hertfordshire] too, with money-making ideas to raise cash for the school”.
Karren Brady is a very hard working and resilient individual; this is shown by the fact that in her first 13 years of working life, Karren never went on holiday (despite her affluence). And when she was diagnosed by Cerebral Aneurysm (in 2006), Karren Brady “put off seeing a specialist” as she was “busy with meetings”, this shows how important Karren’s work is to her. But thankfully she did manage to gain the strength to overcome this life threatening trauma with her main motivation being her children. This was done through neurosurgery and within a month, she was back in work.
Karren’s father appears to have greatly influenced her career path as he also played part in the football industry as well. It also seems the self-made millionaire passed on his entrepreneurial flair to his daughter too. Recently Karren Brady has also been appointed Chairman to the England 2018 World Cup bid advisory board; therefore it appears her future career path is likely to be within this industry. Despite the apparent male domineering environment Karren is completely unbothered by it (which I admire her for). Her time in sixth form I think, may have helped strengthen her integrity as there were 16 girls in her school, compared to the 600 boys! She says, "I was very confident of my own ability, who I was, what I was planning to do, and what other people thought of me was utterly irrelevant."
Karren Brady says that one of the most important things she has learnt from her father, which has helped push her to the place she is at today, is that “nothing compensates for hard work”. This is supported by the achievement of the £2 million single sale Karren accumulated within a short period of working at Saatchi & Saatchi. I have also learnt that to be successful, it is necessary to take big risks (regarding employment too); Karren was earning a commission rate greater than all other employees at the advertising agency, however she put that on the line to move forward in life, to step closer to her dreams. Without this entrepreneurial quality of self belief, Karren Brady would not be where she is now. Therefore if I was to ever set up my own business, I think my biggest obstacle would be the insecurity of being on an unstable income, however Karren Brady has shown that with hard work and confidence extraordinary things can happen so a calculated risk can be an important catapult in life.
Karren is considered to be one of the top ten Business Women within the UK. As an individual, she has contributed directly to the UK economy substantially; she has managed to turn a business in administration, to a value of £82 million. The tax received from the sale of Birmingham City would’ve economically pleased the Government very much. The millions of pounds gained are likely to have been used for a good cause such as investment in public services perhaps. And as her achievement involved a football club (a long lasting business), her intellect that had been branded into the business was a long term benefit that will remain with the club, as ticket sales are generated on a regular basis, for much time. As well as keeping the business afloat, and saving hundreds or maybe thousands of Birmingham City related jobs, Karren also now works to help improve businesses. In the current economic climate, individuals such as Karren, help keep many jobs and boost the opportunities for businesses by improving competitiveness. And more indirectly, Karren Brady has helped the UK economy by inspiring other women to be bold enough to earn a living derived from male dominated environments, particularly mothers likewise to Karren Brady. This has meant that less money is drawn through the UK benefit system.