‘I have no plans to retire’ - Margery Kraus, founder of APCO Worldwide

At 72, Margery Kraus says she has no plans to slow down - or step down - from her homegrown international consultancy firm as she addresses female empowerment and motherhood during a Dubai address.

‘I have no plans to retire’ - Margery Kraus, founder of APCO Worldwide

Margery Kraus, founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide, has revealed she has no plans to step down - or even slow down - from the global consulting firm she single-handedly built, as she addressed female empowerment and motherhood during a Dubai address.

Kraus was visiting the UAE to host a panel discussion on career, leadership and overcoming obstacles with a group of leading women industry experts from the UAE. 

"I'm 73…that is a number to me,” said Kraus. "I can't believe it in my head. I recognise, especially as friends pass away, how lucky we are and how short our runway is ahead of us and I still have a lot of things I want to do. 

"I’m very lucky with this great company; it still has a lot of growth and opportunity. I think I have helped prepare it for the next generation [but] I am not ready to go yet. 

"There are a lot of exciting and interesting things to do yet. I started this business because I'm good at connecting dots and finding solutions - when you can do that for people and you find relief or joy in the clients you help it gives you energy." 

The pioneering industry veteran - who founded the US-headquartered global firm that specialises in public affairs, communications and business consulting - also shared insights from her recently published book entitled ‘Roots and Wings: Ten Lessons of Motherhood that Helped Me Create and Run a Company’ - a personal account of her experiences balancing work and home life throughout her career.

“I've been blessed over years. I have had lots of friends; many have been clients and one had been bugging me to write a book,” said Kraus, on why, after 35 years in the business, she decided to pen her story.

"One of the things has been the idea that, as I’ve got older I’ve reflected what I have learned from motherhood and that a has helped me build a business.”

Motherhood and her own childhood gave her the tools such as time management, being ‘in the present' and work-life integration, all which helped to lead her multi-million-dollar firm. 

She told the audience that women ‘can have it all’ and says there is a changing consensus when it comes to having women in senior leadership roles in the industry. 

Camilla D’Abo, the recently appointed MD of APCO Worldwide Dubai, paid homage to Kraus, saying there “are few females in the field” that have achieved the career success that Kraus has achieved.

With the panel discussion centring on women juggling boardrooms, as well as families and motherhood, D’abo said the “timing could not be more relevant” to discuss women in the workplace.

“This is an opportunity for us to support one another,” she said. “I've grown up here and I am so proud of what Dubai has become and excited about female empowerment. We still have a lot of ahead of us...we can put this place on the map and tell the story of the brands round so it does move ahead for the generations around us."

Kraus founded APCO in 1984 and grew it from a company with one small Washington office to a multinational consulting firm in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. 

In September 2004, Kraus led a management buyout of her firm, making APCO one of the largest privately owned communications and public affairs firms in the world. She pioneered one of the industry’s earliest practices in corporate responsibility and the development of public/private partnerships.

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