Childhood & Early Life
Karren Rita Brady was born on April 4, 1969 in Edmonton, London, U.K., to Terry Brady, an Irish retired businessman and former chairman of the 'English Football League' team 'Swindon Town,' and his Italian wife, Rita Brady. She has an older brother, Darren.
Brady initially studied at the 'Salcombe Preparatory School' in Southgate and then at the 'Poles Convent' boarding school in Ware, Hertfordshire, and the 'Aldenham School' in Elstree.
After her application for a journalism course at 'Harlow College' was rejected, Brady began working as a trainee at the ad agency 'Saatchi & Saatchi.'
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Karren Brady was an advertising account executive at 'London Broadcasting Company Radio' and then joined 'Sport Newspapers,' owned by publisher David Sullivan. She was just 20 when she became one of the directors of the newspaper.
While working at 'Sport Newspapers,' Brady saw an advertisement announcing that the 'Birmingham Football Club' was up for sale. She convinced Sullivan to buy the football club and appoint her as the manager.
In March 1993, at the age of 23, Brady became the managing director of 'Birmingham City.' However, her journey with the club was difficult, as she faced sexism at every point. She proved her mettle by saving the club from bankruptcy. By 1996, 'Birmingham City' had become one of the most profitable clubs of the league.
In 1997, 'Birmingham City' was listed on the stock exchange, making Brady the youngest managing director of a U.K. PLC. In the subsequent 3 years, after the team was promoted to the 'English Premier League,' she became the first woman to run a top-flight English football club.
In June 2008, Karren Brady interviewed the final five contestants of the fourth season of the 'BBC One' game show 'The Apprentice.' In 2009, she again appeared as an interviewer on the show and eventually became the assistant of business magnate Alan Sugar (who has been seen regularly on 'The Apprentice').
In 2009, Brady left 'Birmingham City' after it was sold off.
In January 2010, David Gold and David Sullivan bought 'West Ham United,' and Brady was appointed as the vice-chairman of the club. That year, she resigned from 'Mothercare' and joined the board of 'Taveta Investments Ltd.'
Karren Brady has chaired the British weekly journal 'Kerrang!,' which was then run by the 'Bauer Media Group' (and is now managed by 'Wasted Talent'). She has also been on the board of 'Sport England,' operated as part of the 'Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.'
She previously served as a non-executive director of 'Channel 4,' an ambassador for 'Barclays Life' skills and 'Well Being for Women,' the “Patron” of the 'Life After Stroke Awards,' and the senior non-executive director of 'Taveta Investments.' She also held a top position at 'Syco Entertainment.' She owns 'Topshop' and also works at the 'Women in Sport Advisory Board' (WISAB), operated as part of the 'Department for Culture Media & Sport.'
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Brady has written columns for the 'Woman & Home' magazine and 'The Sun.' She has also published four books, the ''Sunday Times Bestseller'' 'Strong Woman' (released in March 2012), 'Playing to Win: Ten Steps to Achieving Your Goals,' 'United,' and 'Trophy Wives.'
Karren Brady eventually became the CEO of the 'West Ham United Football Club.' In 2016, she cracked a deal to move the club to the new 'Olympic’ stadium.
In July 2017, Brady became the non-executive chairperson of 'Taveta.' She resigned in 2019.
Awards & Honors
In 2006, 'Cosmopolitan' magazine named Karren Brady the ''Woman of the Year'' and featured her in the category of ''Woman Who Has Changed the World.'' She was named the ''Revitalise Businesswoman of the Year'' in 2007.
She received the 'NatWest Spirit of Everywoman Award' in December 2008. In 2010, the 'University of Birmingham' granted her an honorary doctorate in business.
In 2011, the 'Breakthrough for Breast Cancer Inspiration Awards' bestowed on her the honor of being one of ''Britain's Most Inspirational Women.'' The 'Football Business Awards' presented her the 'CEO of the Year Award' in 2012.
In September 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron declared Brady the government's small business ambassador. In 2014, she was granted the honorary title of ''Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge'' and became a ‘Conservative’ life peer in the ‘House of Lords.’
Family & Personal Life
Karren Brady has been married to Canadian footballer Paul Peschisolido since 1995. She had her first child, her daughter, Sophia, in 1996. She also has a son named Paolo.
In 2006, a full-body MRI scan revealed Brady had been suffering from a cerebral aneurysm, which was reported to be potentially life-threatening. She underwent neurosurgery and recovered completely.
Despite rumors that she supports the football club 'Arsenal,' her official website shows her claiming to be loyal to only the two clubs she has managed.
In March 2007, Brady appeared on 'Comic Relief Does The Apprentice,' the celebrity version of the reality game show ‘The Apprentice,’ to raise funds for the charity 'Comic Relief.'