Highlighting the successful entrepreneurial members of the Zenith Group –a chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization – resumes with our sixth in a series. It is a privilege to present Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chairman of APCO Worldwide.
Founder & Executive Chairman,
What: E pluribus unum. The motto of the Unites States, translated from Latin, means “out of many, one.” For APCO, “out of one, many” is more like it.
Founded in 1984 by Margery Kraus, APCO Worldwide is a global consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., specializing in public affairs, communication and business consulting for major multinationals. They offer an extensive array of services including public relations, government relations, digital and social media, crisis and issues management, litigation communication, web design, market research, advertising and more.
Armed with a B.A. and M.A. in political science, as well as a degree in Public Law and American Government from American University (where she serves as a trustee), Kraus co-developed the Close Up Foundation, a non-profit educational foundation promoting the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.
Since the founding of APCO, Kraus’s success can largely be attributed to her ability to fuse the best local experience with a global perspective, resulting in an international agency with a unique culture based on seamless teamwork. Kraus can even be credited with pioneering one of the industry’s earliest practices in corporate responsibility and the development of public/private partnerships.
The impact of Kraus’s achievements have been recognized over the years through a number of prestigious awards, including, but certainly not limited to, the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress Corporate Statesmanship Award (2013); Volunteers of America (Greater New York) Spirit of the Founders (2012); Global Thinkers Forum Excellence in Leadership (2012); Institute for Public Relations’ Alexander Hamilton Medal (2010); Enterprising Women Hall of Fame (2009); and PR News Lifetime Achievement (2005).
Her chairmanship on the board of the Women Presidents’ Organization is yet another example of her dedication to women’s entrepreneurship.
Overcoming Obstacles: Occasionally there are only a few seats at the table. For Kraus, it was particularly difficult for a woman developing her own business to secure one in a field often dominated by male leaders. Yet, Kraus additionally observes that frequently it’s the unconscious, self-imposed biases that provide the greatest challenge to women in the workplace. Kraus believes that, at times, even the most supportive of male colleagues may unintentionally say something or take actions that are counterproductive to the goals of the very women they are seeking to support. And, unfortunately, often women themselves contribute to this lack of equality, feeling required to stand on the sidelines or apologize for vocalizing strong opinions. Fortunately, Kraus feels these issues are improving with time and especially through the efforts of the many of pioneers Kraus has had the opportunity to work with over the past 50 years.
Encouraging Words from Margery: “As I have been challenged over the years about whether I was qualified to be doing what I was doing, I occasionally questioned my own abilities. I learned how important it is to listen and collect all the input available, but then rely on your own instincts. I took comfort in relying on the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, who once famously remarked, ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.’ That is important for us to remember as we push forward against the many obstacles we face. It is not always easy but you must have confidence in your own ability before others will have confidence in you.”
This is the sixth in our series and we are proud to be presenting these extraordinary leaders.