APCO Worldwide’s Margery Kraus: ‘This crisis will expose what’s no longer relevant’

This agency leader says the CEO is perfectly positioned to be the “steady hand” on the when during the COVID-19 pandemic. Honesty, without hysteria, is paramount.

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In her book, “Roots and Wings: Ten Lessons of Motherhood that Helped Me Create and Run a Company,” Margery Kraus writes about the little sign in her house that reads: “The only lasting thing of value you give your children is roots and wings”—the roots being responsibilities and the wings the independence and accountability. That underlying philosophy has guided Kraus throughout her career as the founder and executive chairman of APCO Worldwide, a global advisory and advocacy communications consultancy with more than 800 employees based in more than 30 global markets.

And it guides her now, as she navigates her business through the COVID-19 crisis and toward a future that will undoubtedly look and feel different.

Strong business leadership, like good parenting, requires consistency, perseverance, outstanding listening skills and fearlessness—and understanding what you can and can’t control.

“My life has been about focusing hard on the things I can control,” Kraus shares on a phone call from her home in Virginia. “Navigating a company through this is not easy, but you can’t control how long this is going on. You need to balance your fears with what your clients need now and be flexible.”

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