January 10, 2017


Washington, DC — WEConnect International is excited to announce its Founding Ambassadors:  Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO, ACT-1 Group; Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide; and Mei Xu, Co-Founder, Co-Owner, and CEO, Pacific Trade International-Chesapeake Bay Candle.

WEConnect International Ambassadors are a very select group of internationally successful women business owners who devote time and talent to bolster WEConnect International’s commitment to opening doors for women business owners, economic empowerment and inclusive growth.  WEConnect International Ambassadors share their wealth of business experience and offer a legacy of support that paves the way for other women to follow.

“These Ambassadors are exceptional role models who have built international businesses with annual revenues exceeding $100 million. They each have a demonstrated commitment to global supplier diversity and inclusion and are actively mentoring and sourcing from other women-owned businesses,” said Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder, WEConnect International.


According to Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO of the ACT-1 Group, “The opportunity for procurement and supplier diversity professionals to work in a global engagement with corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and corporate relations professionals toward universal best practices is tremendous.  WEConnect International brings real businesses and real solutions forward.  Having built my own company, The ActOne Group, from one office to an international workforce solutions provider, it is my joy and honor to become an Ambassador of WEConnect International and to speak at their upcoming Gala in Washington, D.C.”

Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chairman of APCO Worldwide, said, “I’m thrilled to serve as one of WEConnect International’s Founding Ambassadors. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many remarkable women business owners from all over the world that are breaking down barriers of all kinds – not just economic but societal as well. We must continue to promote and educate global companies on the impact and value of having a diverse supply chain. I look forward to continuing to work with women around the globe on their entrepreneurial journeys as they achieve new levels of success.”

Mei Xu, Co-Founder, Co-Owner, and CEO of Pacific Trade International-Chesapeake Bay Candle, added that, “Chesapeake Bay Candle is a consumer-inspired, global lifestyle brand and trendsetter which designs and manufactures home fragrance products that are enjoyed by millions of people around the world.  As a woman business owner, I’m committed to paying it forward by opening doors for female entrepreneurs around the globe, and serving as a WEConnect International Ambassador provides me that opportunity because a candle loses nothing by lighting up another.”

WEConnect International identifies, educates and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women, and connects them with member buyers. WEConnect International members are committed to inclusive sourcing and represent over US$1 trillion in annual purchasing power. WEConnect International supports and promotes women-owned businesses in over 100 countries.

CONTACT: Cate Urban | Director of Communications | WEConnect International | curban@weconnectinternational.org | +1-202-810-6009

Photos (left to right): Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO, ACT-1 Group; Margery Kraus, Founder and Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide; and Mei Xu, Co-Founder, Co-Owner, and CEO, Pacific Trade International-Chesapeake Bay Candle