First Thought, Best Thought

Margery Kraus, Executive Chairman APCO Worldwide
Margery Kraus,
Executive Chairman
APCO Worldwide

I think the stumbling blocks in my career have always been about my own sense of inadequacy from time to time. Often, you have to rely on instincts alone.

As a woman, often you are told why things won’t work or why you will never be able to do something, and, from time to time, things you try don’t always work and you have to fix them and move on but your judgment is questioned so it creates self-doubts.

Yet, you ultimately realize that relying on your own instincts was probably the best thing to do for the company at that time.

At those moments, I have relied heavily on the wisdom of two great women: Eleanor Roosevelt and my mother. Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent.”

These are strong and important words that have made me realize that I have to listen to my own inner voice and find the strength to move forward.

From my immigrant mother, who had to flee from Poland and then Cuba, I learned that risk-taking and perseverance is essential to survival.

I learned a long time ago that you should treat your colleagues with the same trust and respect that you treat your clients. I have never asked anyone to do anything I would not have done myself. I think people respect transparency and integrity in a leader and have tried to run our firm with a clear set of values.

Most of all, I think it is important to believe in what you are doing and in the people who are doing it. If the leader does not have passion for the enterprise, then you cannot expect others to follow.

In an age where storytelling takes on a new meaning and all communications are interactive, I believe this is a time for great innovation. That excites me and is one of the major reasons for moving to include more of the next generation in the future direction of our firm.

We need fresh thinking that is constantly responsive and aware of the times in which we live and the opportunities that surround us.

As told to Matthew Schwartz

This article originally appeared in the January 5, 2015 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.