Karren Brady’s career advice to a working mum who wants to further her career


APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.

She gives advice to career advice to a working mum who wants to know how to further her career.

1 Fabulous’ Bossing It columnist Karren Brady answers your career questions Credit: Mark Hayman

Q) Seven years ago, I made the decision to spend more time with my children so I took a role below my previous responsibilities. But now, although I enjoy my work/life balance, I want to move forward with my career.

However, my boss never asks how I am getting on, what I want to do, or where I want to end up. I’ve tried having conversations with her, including in my appraisal, but I get nowhere.

It feels like she doesn’t want me to leave (which I know I should see as a good thing!) as I’m good at my job, but I’m treading water. I’m doing a further education course to enhance my skills, but is there anything else you can suggest?

Anna, via email

A) “Working mother” is the most important job title I have, so I respect you for making the changes you felt you needed to balance your home and work life. But now it’s great you’re ready to further your career. You need to take control of the conversations with your boss.

Don’t wait for her to ask you all those questions – tell her the answers anyway! Write yourself a development plan that includes all of your successes in your current role, where you are over-delivering, areas of development, and what extra responsibilities you’d like.

Look at what role you want to be promoted to in the future, and note what skills and experience you need to be the strongest candidate, then focus your development plan around those.

If you don’t think your boss will be supportive enough, ask for a meeting with both her and your HR manager. You will need their support, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase how passionate, committed and motivated you are.

Got a careers question for Karren? Email bossingit@fabulousmag.co.uk.

Be a boss Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses. It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you! Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.

A day in the life of… Claire Davenport, 49, is CEO of Notonthehighstreet.com. She lives in Oxford with her husband Sam, 56, a stay-at-home dad, and daughters Hazel, 16, and Gabby, 14. I get up at… 7am and if I’m not commuting to our Richmond office, I’ll do an online yoga class or join my local running group, which is full of Oxford professors. Listening to their amazing theories wakes my brain up! At home, I’ll grab a coffee, read the papers and wave the kids off to school. Being the breadwinner is a responsibility, but for much of my career I’ve had long commutes, so our set-up works. A normal day involves… Of the 5,000 small, creative, British-based businesses we work with, 80% are run by females. I talk to them about development, support them with marketing, branding and finding customers. I love lifting other people up. In February, investors bought the company, so I keep them updated and ensure my executive team is communicating, then at lunch I often run leadership and innovation sessions with other companies over Zoom. The afternoon might include some in-house leadership training or I’ll host a video call for partners. Five years ago, I set up Witsend.online with eight women – including the CEO of Channel 4 – to cheer on females in tech and digital companies. We now support 150 women. I’m also a mentor with the Social Mobility Foundation, and each evening at 6.15pm I walk four miles while telephone-mentoring people about business and careers. My drive is normalising women in leadership so youngsters think: “I can do that”. I went to a comprehensive school in the Midlands and I hate thinking that people are restricted by their background. The best part of my job is… After a physiology degree, I spent 10 years in investment banking before working as chief of staff for Skype and running Hello Fresh in the UK. Working now for a company with so much purpose, helping businesses thrive and grow, is wonderful. And the worst… Having to sleep! I’ve got so many ideas and want to do more. I wind down by… After dinner, we’ll watch a programme like Bake Off, and at 10pm my Fitbit tells me to go to bed. I have no difficulty dropping off! To buy from small businesses, visit Notonthehighstreet.com. Claire Frost & Gemma Calvert. Photography: Mark Hayman.

Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

Baroness Karren Brady wants Rishi Sunak to back small business ahead of spending review

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‘I was terrified that I would die’: Apprentice star Karren Brady’s near-fatal condition


The Baroness, who sits in the House of Lords, was given the shocking news that she had a 30 percent chance of dying after doctors discovered the aneurysm, leading to her having life-changing surgery.

Speaking candidly for The Guardian about her ordeal, Brady said: “I was at my desk when they called to say the radiologist had discovered a brain aneurysm - a potentially fatal weakening in a brain artery that could rupture at any time.

“My uncle died of a ruptured aneurysm in his early 40s and my financial director also had one, although he had surgery and is fine now, so I knew what it was. I was absolutely shocked. I didn’t feel ill at all.

“I needed urgent treatment to prevent it from rupturing and went to see a neurologist the next day. I wanted to know if I would even make it to the next day. As soon as I had finished speaking to the radiologist, I went straight on to the internet.”

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Africa Cup of Nations gives talented stars a platform to shine and it should be respected by Premier League clubs


THE Africa Cup of Nations may appear to be an irritant to clubs in this country and Europe — but to many in the world’s second biggest continent it is as welcome as rainfall on the Serengeti.

It is a tournament which should be respected and the pay-off comes to the Premier League in the thread of talented African players to be found currently at all but four of our clubs.

3 Liverpool will be without one of their main players in Mo Salah during Afcon

3 Karren Brady says Premier League clubs need to show Afcon the respect it deserves

More than 30 of them will play in Cameroon.

Grumbles at losing players of high quality at a key part of the season is only natural, yet very few managers have objected strongly. After all, what can they do?

At Anfield, the loss of Mo Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Naby Keita (Guinea) could be the hole into which title hopes stutter.

But Jurgen Klopp has, typically, shrugged his shoulders at this triple blow.

All three nations above have notable chances of going through to the second round which rather suggests the remainder of Liverpool’s squad will be hard pressed in the three-club title race especially as Manchester City lose just Riyad Mahrez (Algeria) and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy (Senegal).

The bookies have installed Senegal as favourites for a trophy they lost in the 2019 final but Egypt, holders Algeria and the hosts appear to be dangerous challengers.


A swarm of scouts will descend. Fundamentally, this is a ransack and while riches might find their way from loyal performers to villages, towns and cities, the domestic leagues will never be high class until the better players remain in them.

More than this, much more, are the handicaps practically written into football there.

Corruption is rife and so are many other disadvantages, starting with the lack of good coaches, rewards, pitches, disease and education — both academic and in football.

Plenty of youngsters have managed it though.

Most remarkable of all is the leap that the 1995 World Player of the Year, ‘King George’ Weah, one of 13 children in a poverty stricken family, who became President of Liberia.

Among his early clubs was the delightfully named Bongrange Bonguine, followed by Monaco, PSG, Milan, Chelsea and Manchester City. Some career that. To every young African kid kicking a football, it must be a thrilling incentive.

It is already working its magic in Salah, Mane, Mahrez, Mendy, Kouyate, Benrahma, Partey, Aubameyang and others. Until February 6, the world is at their feet.

3 Manchester City will be missing the in-form Riyad Mahrez

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Lord Sugar raked £390m in one of UK’s biggest ever payouts after new business move


Apprentice host Lord Alan Sugar pocketed a hefty £390million last year, making him one of the top paid bosses in the UK after his company branched out into a new venture

Lord Sugar raked £390m in one of UK’s biggest ever payouts after new business move

Lord Alan Sugar is back on our screens this week as the long-awaited 16th series of The Apprentice lands after a two-year hiatus.

Alan will be brutally firing all but one of 16 ambitious entrepreneurs hoping to impress him and his aides Karren Brady and Tim Campbell, a former winner who has replaced Claude Littner.

And it’s been a fantastic year for the Amstrad boss, who reportedly pocketed a tidy £390million last year.

The hefty dividend became one of the biggest ever paydays for a UK boss, according to the Daily Mail, and reports suggest he treated himself to £500,000 of it.

The cash was raked in by the historic success of his company Amshold, which deals in property trading, investment and provision of management services.

Image: BBC One) BBC One)

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The company returned a £47million pre-tax profit on turnover of £79 million in the year to last June, and held £271million worth of investment property at the date the accounts were filed, the Daily Mail reported.

The publication wrote that the company branched out into property in 2021 and the move paid off, with Alan’s business raking in more than £1million a day.

Lord Sugar is the sole owner of the company now after his wife, Ann, signed her half-share over to her husband in 2021.

His sons Simon and Daniel are listed as company directors.

Staff costs were recorded as £2.6million, with £502,000 of going to the highest-paid director - likely to be Alan.

Image: Getty) Getty)

The business also currently holds £271 million worth of property - an impressive feat given Alan started his career selling electronics from the back of a van.

He founded computer and electronics company Amstrad in 1968, and at its height it was worth £1.2billion.

In 2007, Lord Sugar sold Amstrad to BSkyB for £125million.

But this whopper of a payday still doesn’t make Lord Sugar the highest paid UK boss - that title is held by Denise Coates, joint chief executive of online gambling firm Bet365, who pocketed £469 million in salary and dividends last year.

Alan recently hit out at young people for “sitting around on bean bags” and “flicking elastic bands”.

The 74-year-old told The Sun: “Young people these days tend to be IT literate and become programmers.

Image: BBC) BBC)

“And companies like Google, Facebook or Twitter have this ‘come and go as you fancy’ idea and they let them sit on bean bags and flick elastic bands at each other.

“A lot of people are searching for a cushy number, a cushy job, cushier the better. I have seen this in some of our companies as some young people think, ‘Oh bloody hell, he actually wants me to work. S**t’.”

Despite this, the average age of Lord Sugar’s contestants this year is 31.

But he did admit in a recent interview that they are the most “useless” bunch he’s ever encountered.

The business mogul added he is surprised the 16 hopefuls hadn’t learnt much since the BBC show first hit our screens in 2005.

He said with a sigh: “If you were eight [back then] that eight-year-old is now 24 – and they still don’t know what to do.

“They fall for the same things. When we sat down at the beginning, the initial reaction to some of the candidates is ‘Bloody hell, how useless is that one?’.”

But, he added: “Every single year the cream rises to the top. Do we know at the start who’s going to win? No.

“But they learn very quickly. I’ve got no problem with people who are a bit naive or inexperienced. What I have a problem with is when they don’t pick up.”

Despite the outrageous brags in their CVs, the candidates get off to a bad start this year.

Baroness Karren said efforts in the first episode, which involved creating an advert for a cruise ship experience, were “the worst she’d ever seen”.

Laughing that a logo designed by one team looked like “a turd”, she added: “They really are thrown in at the deep end.

“Sometimes they do incredible things and sometimes they do things incredibly badly.”

But the the stakes are high, as the winning entrepreneur will secures a £250,000 investment and become Alan’s business partner - an appealing deal given his £1.4billion net worth, according to Spear’s Magazine.

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Apprentice boss Lord Sugar, 74, boasts of being ‘perfect specimen’ as he shuns Botox


The Apprentice boss Lord Alan Sugar is back on our TV screens and reckons he’s a ‘perfect specimen’ at 74 thanks to his fitness regime - he also dishes on why he didn’t replace aide Claude Littner with Piers Morgan

Fitness nut Lord Sugar is back in the saddle, fired up about the new series of The Apprentice and looking as well as ever… if he says so HIMSELF!

The tycoon swears by healthy eating and an exercise regime and scoffs at the notion he might be tempted to try Botox or any form of plastic surgery.

He declares: “Nah. What do I need to do? Look at me, I’m a perfect specimen of a 74-year-old.

“I’m thinking about having my teeth bleached a little bit because they look a bit brown at the moment from drinking too much coffee. But my wife said to me, ‘You can go and buy these things in the chemist shop and stick ’em on your mouth’ – and I can’t be bothered.”

We catch the tycoon after he has flown in from Australia – following a series of The Apprentice there – to his home in Florida.

Despite just one hour’s sleep, he is raring to talk and bubbling over with opinions.

Vegans get an ear bashing, his on-off TV friend Piers Morgan gets a reality check, Twitter trolls are hit for six – and there is a strong defence of the BBC ­licence fee.

But back to health, Lord Sugar of Clapton puts his longevity down to working out and good genes from his mum.

“I think it is my mum,” he proudly declares.

“My mum is a very strong lady, physically strong and that’s where it comes from.

“I do keep fit. I do a lot of cycling, I play a lot of tennis, I moderate my diet – I have a low fat diet.

“I’m not a vegan and all those bloody nutcases that do all that vegan stuff. I just have a proper, nice balanced diet and tend to watch and make sure I don’t stick on any weight.

“And if I do, I knock it off as quick as I put it on, I suppose.”

Image: PA) PA)

It’s this candour which has made Lord Sugar telly gold – especially when he despairs of candidates before delivering the inevitable: “You’re fired!”

The Apprentice returned on Thursday, with another 16 business wannabes vying for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment. But in these times where celebs can find themselves “cancelled” for an off-the-cuff remark or ill-thought-out tweet, has he pressed the self edit button on his own caustic tongue?

“I am very conscious of saying things in a correct and proper manner, but on things that I disagree with I will say it as I want to say it,” he replies.

“If it’s something that I don’t agree with I will say what I want to say. The young actually encourage me to say even more.

“What you have is a lot of trolls on Twitter and places like that, that hang on every single word that you say.

Image: BBC/Boundless/Ray Burmiston) BBC/Boundless/Ray Burmiston)

“And if I said to you on Twitter, ‘Would you like a nice vanilla ice cream?’ someone would come on to me and say that’s racist because vanilla ice cream is white, why can’t I have a chocolate ice cream? So you get idiots like that who will turn a story and make it into trouble.”

Speaking of which, was he ever tempted to ask TV’s Piers to stand in for Apprentice aide Claude Littner?

He exclaims: “Oh my God, can you imagine? I don’t think so. I’d have put him under too much pressure and he’d have ended up walking out on me like he did on ITV.

“We’ve made up our feud, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to stop keep criticising each other for our stupid remarks.

“He thinks he’s entitled to a knighthood, honestly what a joke…”

While aide Baroness Karren Brady is back on our screens, Claude is missing after suffering a terrible leg injury in a fall from an electric bike.

Image: BBC) BBC)

He is replaced, temporarily, by 44-year-old Tim Campbell – the show’s first winner, back in 2005. Of course, Lord Sugar could have considered his original sidekick, former Countdown host Nick Hewer, 77.

But of that, he jests: “It would have been a nice idea but I’d have to get him a Zimmer frame to walk around with, or one of those mobility scooters.

“Look, it was an inspired move to bring in Tim because, unfortunately, Claude had a terrible accident. I had to come up with something and get hold of somebody who not only is a very nice fella – and a very bright fella – but he’s also sat on the other side of the desk, so who better to have in there? He did very, very well.”

Image: Getty Images) Getty Images)

Before our meeting, father-of-three Lord Sugar had toyed with other journalists about setting future candidates the task of arranging his funeral. “It was a joke!” he says several times.

But is he aware of his own mortality and does he fear not achieving everything he wants?

“No,” he says matter-of-factly. “Look, a lot of my contemporaries have died, my brother died last year, my sister died two weeks later and they were sick. They were ill and my priority is my wife and I – and my family – to remain healthy and that’s what we do.

“We are very health conscious. I think a new generation of people need to do that.

“I’ve said it many times, wealth is my family, my health and that’s my wealth – that’s it.”

Speaking of wealth, the BBC has come under fire in recent months from critics seeking to scrap the licence fee or slim down the broadcaster.

Image: ITV) ITV)

Lord Sugar quickly springs to the corporation’s defence. For years the licence fee hovered around £144 – 12 payments of £12.

But it has crept up and now costs £159 – which is still great value, Lord Sugar says.

He insists: “The BBC is brilliant at what it does. It cost the licence fee holders £12 a month. It’s exceptional value for money.

“Consider what you pay for your internet ­connection, consider what you pay for your mobile phone. If I was the BBC and I was the boss at the BBC I would be advocating to stick that up to £20 a month. They are under tremendous pressure to try to produce programmes within the budgets that they have and I am really annoyed with people that criticise them.

“The people that criticise them don’t know what they’re talking about half the time because prices and costs of everything are going up tremendously – and yet they’ve got to put on these programmes where costs are escalating.

“I’ve got tremendous sympathy for them and I say stick the price up. It should be £200 a year.”

Karren ‘menopause nightmare’ for husband

Apprentice aide Karren Brady reckons her husband thinks she’s being “a nightmare” since starting the menopause.

Karren said her symptoms began after she finished filming the current series.

The 52-year-old West Ham boss, married to ex-footballer Paul Peschisolido, says: “I’ve got a terrible memory going through the menopause.

“I started it after we had finished filming so it didn’t really have any effect and then I started it so, other really than the hot flushes and forgetting the occasional thing, I’m OK at the minute.

Image: Action Images via Reuters) Action Images via Reuters)

“But I suspect its going to get a hell of a lot worse before it gets any better.

“My husband will tell you I’ve been a nightmare, but I think I’m fine!”

Karren believes big business needs to support women during the menopause. She also revealed she will quit The Apprentice when Lord Alan Sugar does.

“ When Alan steps down I’ll step down but, at the minute, we’re in it together.”

The Apprentice is on BBC1, 9pm, Thursday