JOBS & CAREERS SPRING 2018 - 32
Currently best known as Sir Alan Sugar's right-hand woman on The Apprentice, Karren
Brady has been in the business spotlight from early in her career. She started as a trainee
at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, but made headlines in 1993 when she smashed
football's glass ceiling in becoming director of Birmingham City FC at the age of 23.
Now, at 49, she is vice-chairman of West Ham FC and is Baroness Brady, having been
appointed a Conservative life peer in the House of Lords in 2014. She is married to former
professional footballer Paul Peschisolido and the couple have two children, Sophia, 21 and
Paulo, 19. We caught her in a rare quiet moment to ask her about her career so far.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
The one thing I always wanted was independence. I was sent to Poles Convent boarding
school in Hertfordshire when I was 11. There, I quickly discovered that nothing is your own
- you wear what you're told, go to bed when you're told and eat what and when you're told.
I wanted to be independent and I knew this would come from being financially secure.
I believed that in order to do this I needed to go straight into work from school - that's
why I didn't want to go to university. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, though - the
craving for independence was stronger than any particular career aspirations.
What was your first paid job?
It was a Saturday job - I swept up hair in a hairdresser's when I was 16. I did that for a
summer before I took my A-levels.
You famously persuaded David Sullivan to buy Birmingham
City FC and let you run it. What made you suggest this to him?
I started working for David when I was 20 - he gave me a job as a director at Sports
Newspapers, after I persuaded him to spend £2m on advertising over a six-month period
for the newspapers he owned at the time, the Daily Sport and the Sunday Sport, while I was
working at Saatchi & Saatchi.
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