There’s no doubt that Margery Kraus is the most successful female entrepreneur in the history of the public relations business, having build APCO Worldwide from a one-person firm—it started in 1984 as a public affairs unit at law firm Arnold & Porter—into a global communications firm with 23 offices around the world, around 600 people and fees of $100 million.
But beyond the numbers, Kraus has built one of the most impressive communications firms on the planet, bringing together arguably the strongest team of senior public relations and public affairs strategists—APCO executives include former legislators, business executives, diplomats, and regulators, as well as reporters and PR professionals—in the business, and creating a firm focused on helping its clients find solutions to their most serious challenges, from public policy issues to crises and issues to ongoing reputational difficulties.
Kraus deserves recognition for her management capabilities: not only growing APCO to its current size, but leading the management buyout that liberated the firm from its ownership by Grey Global Group, making it one of the largest privately owned communication firms in the world and fueling its most impressive growth—it has more than doubled in size since the MBO four years ago—and managing such a vast array of talent.
But she also continues to provide strategic counsel on issue-based communication, crisis management, market entry and corporate reputation across diverse industry groups and has also pioneered the firm’s pioneering work in practices such as corporate responsibility and the development of public/private partnerships.
Over the years, Kraus has received so many awards, that another one may seem redundant. She has received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award in the Services category in Greater Washington (2006), Washington PR Woman of the Year (2006), Matrix Award for Professional Achievement (2006), a Lifetime Achievement award from PR News (2005), PR Professional of the Year from PR Week (2005), and most recently was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame.
Said Monica Smiley, publisher and chief executive officer of Enterprising Women magazine: “She’s a trail-blazing businesswoman who has established APCO as a top firm with a strong reputation, and we are happy to have her among this group of leaders in our Hall of Fame.”
Prior to starting APCO, Kraus assisted in the creation and development of the Close Up Foundation, a multi-million dollar educational foundation sponsored in part by the United States Congress. She continues to be involved with the foundation by serving on its board of directors and is active on other institutional and corporate boards and committees, including Northwestern Mutual Life (trustee); GML Limited (advisory board); the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation (trustee); the Public Affairs Council (past chairman); the Institute for Public Relations (trustee); the Council of Public Relations Firms (board of directors); the Eurasia Foundation (trustee); and the Arthur W. Page Society (trustee).
In addition, she 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. She is a member of the Harvard University, JFK School of Government Women’s Leadership Board and an advisory board member of the Council on American Politics of the George Washington Graduate School of Political Management.