Madeleine Albright Through the Years in Photos

"[It] never ever occurred to me that I could be Secretary of State."

Madeleine Albright's life is definitely one to be celebrated. From working on her Ph.D. for 15 years while raising three kids, to becoming the first female U.S. Secretary of State after starting her career at age 39, Madeleine Albright is a true trailblazer.

Her famous pin collection may be pretty to look at, but Madeleine is the perfect combination of a straightforward diplomat. As one of her well-known motto goes, "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." So to celebrate this MAKER, do your part to help another woman up.

Madeleine Albright gif

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Gallery

Madeleine Albright was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937. Her father, Josef Korbel, was a Czech diplomat.

Madeleine Albright with her family in Czechoslovakia. After the Soviets took over Czechoslovakia in 1948, Madeleine's family defected to the United States.

In 1955, Madeleine entered Wellesley College for women, where she recounts that although they were trained to think and be intellectuals, most of the women were just looking to get married. 

In fact, Madeleine got married three days after graduating from college. 

Soon after her wedding, Madeleine got pregant and had twins. 

Madeleine with one of her three children. 

Over the next 15 years, while being a mother and wife, Madeleline started working on her Ph.D. and volunteered at Democratic political campaigns. In 1976 she was hired by Senator Ed Muskie to be a legislative assistant. She was 39 years old, and it was her first paying job. 

In 1982, Albright joined the academic staff at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Diana Walker/Liaison

Albright's focus was in Eastern European studies. Photo Credit: Bill Johnson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

She also directed the University's program on women in global politics. Photo Credit: Diana Walker/Liaison

Madeleine Albright stands among President-elect Bill Clinton's foreign policy appointees in 1992 where she is appointed as United Nations Ambassador. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

U.S. ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright meets with Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel in January 1994.  Photo Credit: JIRI JIRU/AFP/Getty Images

Madeleine Albright at a UN roundtable.

U.S. ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright

Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright presents a poster of the Fourth Women Conference during her meeting with Myanmar political leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon in 1995.  Photo Credit: PORNVILAI CARR/AFP/Getty Images

When Albright took office as the 64th U.S. Secretary of State on January 23, 1997, she became the first female U.S. Secretary of State and the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government at the time of her appointment.

Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in meeting with President Bill Clinton.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in the Oval Office. 

Madeline Albright addresses Northeastern graduates in 2000.  Photo: Boston Globe via Getty Images

Albright throws the first pitch at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Credit: STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images

Leaders and ministers from the Denver Summit of the Eight pose for a group photograph after the final meetings. Spot the only woman? Photo Credit: LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright poses with Vietnamese kids who suffer from eye and mouth deformations during her visit at Ho Chi Minh City's Institute of Inspedonto Stomology in 1997. Photo Credit: HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: DAVE CHAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Bill Clinton with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Photo Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shakes hands with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura (L) and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Chung-Soo (R) at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,  and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in meetings during an intensive U.S. push to seal a new interim Mideast peace accord.         Photo Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

Madeleine Albright, Sherry Lansing and Gloria Steinem, all honorees at The Center for the Advancement of Women's 10th Anniversary Gala. Photo Credit: Robin Platzer/FilmMagic

Madeleine Albright  at the Museum of Art and Design looking over the exhibit created in her honor "Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection." Photo Credit: Rahav Segev/WireImage

Photo Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images