Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Getting the Call

Getting the Call

More From Madeleine

In this video

Albright describes learning she would be appointed Secretary of State and anxiously awaiting Clinton's official call.

Madeleine 's Biography

Biggest Influence Never Met: Harry Truman
Three Adjectives to Describe Herself: Grateful, optimistic, and hard working
First Paying Job: In her high school years she sold bras.
Most Meaningful Advice Received: "From my mother, ‘Be generous.’ I really do think it's a very important thing."

The Washington Post recently asked Madeleine Albright about her place in history. “I have to laugh,” said America’s first female Secretary of State. She remembered her young granddaughter wondering “‘so what’s the big deal about Grandma Maddie having been Secretary of State? Only girls are Secretaries of State.’”
Born in prewar Prague, Albright’s earliest years were defined by her family’s political flight—first from Hitler and, after 1948, from Czechoslovakia’s Communist government. Albright was a Wellesley alumna, a naturalized citizen, and had worked as a journalist by the time she became a mother for the first time in 1960. She spent the next 30 years simultaneously raising three daughters, obtaining graduate degrees and ascending to distinguished positions in the academic, political and foreign policy establishments. She served as Ambassador to the UN for President Clinton’s first term and was appointed Secretary of State at the start of his second term, thereby becoming the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government.  She played a powerful role in shaping the Clinton administration’s intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina while grappling with the other dizzying world events and crises of her tenure. 
 
Since leaving government, she’s continued to advise presidents and her (yes, mostly female) successors, has sat on an array of corporate and philanthropic boards, and has launched her own commercial ventures. Meanwhile, she remains a proud immigrant, intellectual, and woman. Her famous brooches, which had been “part of my personal diplomatic arsenal” (as Secretary, she wore a snake during a during a meeting with Saddam Hussein), became the basis of 2009’s Read My Pins: Stories From A Diplomat’s Jewel Box.

 

Related Videos

Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao
24th U.S. Secretary of Labor

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Elaine Chao came to the United States as a child and has had an unwavering faith in the American dream ever since. From knowing no English to becoming the ...

Donna Shalala
Donna Shalala
President & CEO of the Clinton Foundation

As both an educator and political advocate, Donna Shalala’s résumé is impressive. Born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1941, Shalala grew up with an intense curiosity...

Joan Ganz Cooney
Joan Ganz Cooney
Co-Founder, Sesame Workshop

A founder of the Sesame Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney knew that educational television was her calling the moment she walked into Channel 13. Born and ...

Gabrielle Giffords
Gabrielle Giffords
Former Congresswoman (D-Arizona)

Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords became known for her resilience in the face of violence after a shooting at a local event that left six dead and Giffords with severe ...