Founder and CEO, APCO Worldwide
2007 Alumni Achievement Award Winner
In a little over two decades, Margery Rosen Kraus '67 has grown her
one-person business into one of the largest privately owned communication
and public affairs firms in the world.
Kraus founded her first communications consultancy in 1984. As one of the first female chief executives in a consulting firm, Kraus is a pioneer in the industry. Through several reiterations, the one office firm is today APCO Worldwide. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APCO has 25 offices across the globe, including in the Americas, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The firm specializes in business consulting for major multinationals, foundations, and governments, including seven of the top 10 companies on Fortune's Global 500. APCO employs around 450 worldwide and is widely recognized for its employee-focused culture and dedication to attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry. Additionally, she pioneered one of the industry's earliest practices in corporate responsibility and the development of public/private partnerships.
Prior to starting APCO, Kraus assisted in the creation and development of the Close UP Foundation, a political and educational program for high school students and teachers that is sponsored in part by the United States Congress. Each year, more than 20,000 students, teachers, and other adults take part in Close-Up's programs in Washington, D.C. Kraus continues to be involved with the foundation by serving on its board of directors.
While operating in a business that many in the outside world see as "spin," Kraus is recognized as an ethical businessperson, a true innovator, and an excellent employer.
"Creating a global business with almost 500 people from scratch is a very big achievement in my life, and I suppose one might think that is the most notable achievement," she says. "However, what has been important to me is that I have been able to build a company, the majority of which is owned by its employees, that is considered a great place to work."
Kraus is active on many institutional and corporate boards and committees. She is chairman of the board of the Women Presidents' Organization and a trustee of Northwestern Mutual Life, the Arthur W. Page Society, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, the Eurasia Foundation and the Institute for Public Relations. Kraus is also on the advisory board of GML Limited and Enterprising Women magazine and is a past chairman of the Public Affairs Council and the board of directors of the Council of Public Relations Firms.
She also serves as a trustee of American University and sits on the advisory board of the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, as well as the steering committee of the school's Center for Executive Women. Additionally, she serves on the advisory board of the Council on American Politics of the George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.
Kraus has received many professional awards from the business and communication industries including being named to the Washington Business Hall of Fame (2009), the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame (2009), the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award in the Services category in Greater Washington (2006), Washington PR Woman of the Year (2006), Lifetime Achievement (PR News, 2005), PR Professional of the Year (PRWeek, 2005), and Best Entrepreneur-Service Businesses-up to 2,500 employees (Stevie Awards for Women Entrepreneurs, 2005).
Kraus was also named one of 25 in the "PR Power List" (PRWeek, 2009), one of 25 "Top Women Business Builders" (Fast Company, 2005), one of 50 Most Powerful Women in PR (PRWeek, 1998) and one of 50 "Women Who Mean Business" (Washington Business Journal, 2004).
In addition, APCO has been recognized by its peers by being named the "PR Agency of the Year" in 2006 by PR Week. In 2007, Knox awarded Kraus an Alumni Achievement Award for her work in business and public affairs.