CEO of Global Firm Offers Career Advice to Knox Students

Liberal arts education is 'a wonderful foundation on which to build,' Kraus says

April 28, 2014

Margery Kraus '67 presents Stellyes Lecture 2014

Margery Rosen Kraus '67, founder and chief executive officer of APCO Worldwide, shared with Knox College students her insights and experiences as leader of the global communications and consulting firm that she built, starting with a single office.

"My interest in political science started right here" at Knox, Kraus said at the Stellyes Distinguished Lecture in Global Affairs on April 16. "Having a really solid liberal arts education -- especially embracing the skills of good communication in your writing and your speaking -- is a wonderful foundation on which to build."

"It certainly has helped me throughout my career."

At APCO, Kraus specializes in providing strategic counsel on issue-based communication, crisis management, market entry, and corporate reputation across diverse industry groups. She launched the firm in 1984 with an office in Washington, D.C. It now has 34 offices and more than 700 employees around the world.

Kraus encouraged Knox students to be "nimble" and open to learning new skills as they prepare to build careers in the global economy. She said she hopes that by talking with students, she "took some of the fear out of facing the world."

"There aren't a lot of mistakes to make when you're 21 or 22. There isn't the ideal job; there are a lot of collective experiences that make for a career. They should not be afraid to go forward," she added.

Students said they enjoyed hearing from Kraus.

Weston Chenoweth, a senior from Canton, Illinois, said Kraus' lecture gave him "useful insights regarding working in the world after Knox." After receiving his bachelor's degree in June, Chenoweth will begin a job in the economic evaluation services department at KPMG.

While on campus, Kraus also met with small groups of students who are interested in careers in communications and in consulting. Knox senior Ashley Wolfgang, who participated in the communications discussion, described Kraus as "a natural teacher who willingly allowed Knox students to pick her brain."

Margery Kraus '67 meets with students

"The most valuable information I took out of my conference with her was how important it is to continue making connections in the field and to never doubt yourself and your own experiences as I'm continuing my job search," said Wolfgang.

Kraus received a Knox College Alumni Achievement Award in 2007 for her accomplishments in business and public affairs. She attended Knox for her first two years as an undergraduate and then transferred to American University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in political science and public law.

"I think the values of (Knox) and the sense of community it builds made a big impact on my life," Kraus said when she received the Alumni Achievement Award. "It taught me self reliance, a sense of personal responsibility, and challenged my thinking.

Her recent visit to Knox was sponsored by the Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies, which brings guest speakers from around the world to the Knox campus. The Stellyes Distinguished Lecture in Global Affairs was established along with the Center for Global Studies by a gift from Eleanor Stellyes, who attended Knox College from 1932 to 1934.