Yesterday I was selected as a social media icon MVP by PR News and proudly accepted my award at a great ceremony at the Grand Hyatt New York. Receiving recognition like this is both rewarding and humbling at the same time. You see, it is impossible to do great things without an incredible team of people around you. At APCO Worldwide, I think we have the best digital and social team in the business. I owe this extraordinarily creative, hard-working, results-oriented group of professionals everything – this award really belongs to them. That team wouldn’t be able to deliver powerful solutions without the tight integration we insist upon with colleagues across the firm, who are working to build digital into their DNA, and brave, supportive and incredibly intelligent clients. And as my colleagues in any kind of consulting know you can’t do anything in this business without a very patient, good-humored and supportive family. My wife and four children are a powerful support system that keeps me moving.

The other feeling that hangs with me from yesterday is how honored I am to have been on stage with such incredible company. Consider some of the remarkable achievements of the other winners:

David Armano, a true leader in the field whose Logic + Emotion blog is really a must read.@armano

Danielle Brigida, whose work makes the importance of preserving our national wildlife exciting and fun. @starfocus

LaSandra Brill of Symantec, one of the smartest people you’ll come across if you want to know how to excel in B2B. @LaSandraBrill @symantec

Amelia Burke-Garcia, whose S.O.C.I.A.L. model is a must-know when studying metrics.@socialibriumm

Erica Campbell Byrum, who is helping transform and modernize the housing industry.@ericacampbell

Kevin Dando, whose pioneering work at PBS is helping preserve the public broadcasting model for the next generation. @kdando @PBS

Jim Delaney, the guy you want to follow if you want to know what is happening with social media, marketing and sports. @activate

Scott DeYager of Toyota, “Successful social marketers tend to be equal parts communicator, risk taker and student.” What else needs to be said? @ScottDeYager@toyota

Frank Eliason, a great mind on customer service after living through the trials at Comcastand Citi and thankfully shares them all on @YourService@FrankEliason

Sam Ford, download Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture from Amazon and you’ll know why (plus he’s a Hilltopper like my wife).@Sam_Ford

Joy Hays, making a difference every day at ATT@joyhays @ATT

Brett Holland, whose work is transforming Pepco and modernizing the way utilities talk to the world.

Bob Jacobs, who holds my dream job at NASA (since I’m an aerospace engineer) because he is awesome and also gets to work with John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin Stephen Hawking, Neil Armstrong and, of course, William Shatner. @bnjacobs

Leanne Jakubowski – okay, maybe she has my dream job because she works at Disney Parks and gets to sell that incredible experience to moms. @leannej @DisneyParks

Stacy Martinet of Mashable, whose team basically provides the fuel that keeps all of us working in social moving forward. @stacymartinet @mashable

Christi McNeill, who is a great advocate of listening and delivering responsive content.@ChristiMcNeill

Kristin Montalbano of National Geographic Channel, if you’re in the PR or marketing business and you don’t watch Brain Games religiously, then you are missing out…big time. @KMontalbano @NatGeoChannel

Christopher Penn, whose blog Awaken Your Superhero is an inspiring running analogy between social media and marketing. @cspenn

Patrick Riccards of Collaborative Communications, who is driving change in one of the hardest sectors to modernize, education.

Jennifer Stalzer, who is driving incredible change at MasterCard as it transforms itself into a modern, innovative tech company. @TheDigitalJen @MasterCard

Lt. Stephanie Young of the US Coast Guard, who is bringing the real, honest and authentic stories of our military men and women to your screens everywhere.

Albe Zakes of Terra Cycle, who helped hatch a company and bring it to life through incredible PR success. @AlbeZakes @TerraCycle

If you’ve read this far I’m sure you’re deeply impressed and understand why I feel so unworthy. The experience is diverse, but the lessons are the same. Authenticity, an emotional connection, deep connection with key influencers and constant adaptation and responsiveness are hallmarks of social media success. Take the time. Read their stories. Soak in the knowledge. Follow and link to these people. It is very much worth it.

Evan Kraus

Evan Kraus is president, managing director of operations at APCO Worldwide. Read More