Carolyn Radford is the chief executive officer at Mansfield Town Football Club, who compete in Sky Bet League Two, and is one of only two female CEOs in professional football.
Alongside her position at Mansfield Town Football Club, Carolyn is a director at both One Call Insurance and beauty salon, Beauty at Doncaster as well as handling cases as a lawyer at OCL Solicitors.
Carolyn is also a founder of the Radford Foundation, a charity specialising in helping create a safer, stronger community for the people of Mansfield and the surrounding areas.
She married to John Radford and has three young boys, Hugo, Rupert and Albert.
It’s a pleasure to interview Carolyn.
Describe a typical day for you?
I get up around 6am and John, the kids and I all have breakfast together. I also go to the gym in the morning and then get into the office about 9am.
I spend my mornings at Mansfield Town, because that’s when the players train, so it’s a good time to be able to touch base with everybody and the manager. I make sure everything is running smoothly there and then in the afternoon, I’ll drive from Mansfield to Doncaster, which is where the other businesses are based.
I’ll call in and check how things are at the salon, then I’ll also go into OCL solicitors, where I’ll work on some cases – I always have a number of cases open as I’m also a lawyer.
Also, I will probably have director’s meetings, checking on how the performance is going across all the companies I work in, as they are all quite large-scale businesses.
Then it’s time to head home so I can tuck my three boys into bed. No matter what’s going on, I never miss a bedtime!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
My children, they’re so great and smart and caring. They are, and always will be, my greatest achievement. With regards to my work, I have different careers but in my role as CEO in Mansfield Town, it’s definitely the progress we’re making at the club.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Wearing so many hats like I do every day, my handbag is fairly eclectic! Alongside key items like my purse, keys, phone and make-up, I’ll have case files, my I.D badges, usually some snacks to keep my energy levels up on the go and sometimes I find a stray toy one of the boys has decided to put into my bag! Like most working mums, I could never have a small handbag!
What are your ambitions in life?
I’m a pretty ambitious person and if I want to do something then I set out to achieve it. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, so I trained as one and now work at OCL Solicitors, I wanted to make Mansfield Town FC profitable and we’re well on our way to being so this year. My ambitions are constantly changing depending on the situation, but I find that very exciting and engaging.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
Women can be in football and other boardrooms at high levels – I took a roundaboutroute into football, it would be nice to open up clearer pathways for women to get involved in the future.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I’d definitely love for Mansfield to be promoted in five years time, which will mean I’ll be busier than ever but I’d love that. I’d also love to see my three boys in the Mansfield Academy, which is from under 7’s to under 18’s and enjoying playing the game.
What advice would you give a new parent?
To make sure you have a solid support system around you, just in case you need some advice or even an hour to yourself. It’s difficult to get little things done when you have a new baby, so some time to yourself is always good.
What advice would you give a budding football CEO or someone in a managerial position in football?
Anyone wanting to do my job should begin by getting involved in football as much as they can and reach out to possible mentors who can advise them. The best thing to do is try and get as much experience in a football club as possible, whether that’s being a steward or helping out in a business within a club. These smaller jobs can get you in front of the right people and that’s where you start making connections. I’m actually in the process of setting up a mentoring scheme for young women to get support from entrepreneurial and successful women, which could lead to these young women securing work placements, getting a job or just advice on what to do next.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
To just enjoy it, don’t worry so much and just have fun with these amazing kids that you’ve brought into the world.
Finally, happiness is…
Definitely my kids, my husband and my family.