Apprentice star Karren Brady tells the Elite Business Conference there are no excuses for businesses lacking a strong female board presence
Karren Brady has thrown down the gauntlet to businesses that don’t have enough women on their boards. Speaking exclusively today at the Elite Business National Conference and Exhibition, the West Ham vice-chairman said there are no excuses for companies lacking a strong female presence in their upper echelons. “A company that doesn’t have women at the top should be explaining why,” said Brady. “They should write to their shareholders and tell us how many people they’ve interviewed, what skills they’ve demonstrated, so they’re showing how they’ve learned from that process.”
Regardless of an enterprise’s size, said Brady, it needs to be making effective use of the skills and talents that women are offering. In her opinion, this shouldn’t come from clumsy tools like quotas, but instead from those at the helm. “People talk about quotas; I personally don’t believe in quotas,” she said. “I believe in change from the top.”
Brady also overturned some of the cliches about women in professional environments and explained exactly what it is that makes them fantastic entrepreneurs. “In my experience, women are far less emotional and are more able to get on with the job at hand without worrying about politics,” Brady explained. “They’re more concerned about doing the job to best serve the interests of the business, rather than worrying about how it reflects on them personally.”
And she went on to offer shrewd insight into what she believes is a business’s greatest asset: its workforce. “Nobody has ever built a great company without great staff,” she explained. “And you don’t get great staff unless you really motivate them.” Obviously, there are all manner of ways to do this but often the attitude of the entrepreneur involved can mean the difference between an enterprise that fizzles and one that sizzles. She continued: “You motivate people by breeding a culture they want to work in.”
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