Tuesday, December 2, 2014

BBC's The Apprentice: Have You Got What it Takes? Karren Brady on Successful Business Women

Love it or hate it, BBC’s The Apprentice isn't going anywhere, now moving into its tenth year of production it has become a firm staple in reality television. This year sees another group of hungry entrepreneurs who fight against each other to win an investment from Lord Sugar, as always the series starts with a 50|50 gender split, but looking at the previous year’s winners and runners up, there has been a near equal split between male and female winners with 5 men and 4 women, but looking at the runners up there have been far more women (7) than men (2)

Journalist Helen Lewis writes; ‘When it comes to women the problem is particularly acute. There are plenty of men talking about business and economics on radio and TV, and hundreds of successful business men who are household names. But it’s not the same for women, who appear far less regularly on TV and radio as experts, particularly in business and economics, and compromise only 17.3% of FTSE 100 boards. (1)

As the application process for Series 10 of The Apprentice opened last week, The Women’s Organisation have been invited to encourage women who think they have got what it takes to enter the programme. The winning candidate will receive an investment of up to £250,000 and will go into a 50|50 partnership with Lord Sugar. 

The Apprentice's Karren Brady (now Baroness Brady), is not only Lord Sugar’s right hand woman, but one of the women who has broken the mould becoming a recognisable female business leader, a ‘Woman Who Has Changed The World’.  

Frowning at  series 10 candidate Sarah Dales who advised the women of her team to "bring plenty of make up" and to dress to impress for their sales challenge, Karren hit back in the press telling women that short skirts are not the way to get ahead in business

Karren Rita Brady, (born 4 April 1969), is an English sporting executive, politician, television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, author and novelist. She is the former managing Director of Birmingham City FC, and the current vice-chairman of West Ham United. She is known as ‘The First Lady of Football’, and became the managing director of Birmingham City when she was only 23 years old, making her the first women to hold such a post in English football.

Brady has long been renowned for championing the cause of women in business, and has repeatedly called upon her fellow female professionals to help those trying to make their way into the business world. 

The Women’s Organisation has chosen our top 5 Karren Brady quotes on women in business: 

1. ‘Any board executive can forget just how many people helped them get where they are. Those women who have got to the top need actively to ensure there is a pipeline of younger women, whether by networking or mentoring, who in turn are encouraging those below them. Women in the boardroom must not forget how many challenges and difficulties we have overcome, and we should share our coping strategies. It is critical to create opportunities to identify talented women in business, and then support them to develop their confidence to aim for the boardroom. We need to look outside the corporate mainstream, at female entrepreneurs and self-employed businesswomen, who can inject different insights and diversity to any board’ (2)

2.  'If you don’t have a woman on your board you should write to your shareholders and explain why. Tell us how many women you've interviewed and what skills they've been lacking, because that will give us some basics to teach the new generation of women in business.’ (3)

3.  ‘Life is very short, and if you worry what people think of you, if you second-guess yourself, you’re in trouble. As long as you do the best you can each day, handle yourself in a way that you should be proud of, well then…everything is fine’ (4) 

4. Karren’s top 5 tips for women starting their own business:

‘Have a plan, take an idea and work it through. Be clear about what you want to achieve. Consider all the risks very carefully. Think about marketing. How does your business fit into the overall market and what’s different about it? Remember: a problem really is only a problem if it stops you doing what you want’ (5)

5. ‘The most important characteristics you need to succeed in business are resilience, determination and persistence.’(6)


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