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Madeleine Albright on work/life balance

Yesterday, I felt uplifted after hearing former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright speak before about 400 people. She had a very interested audience at a luncheon of The Commonwealth Institute South Florida, a
non-profit mentoring organization for women entrepreneurs, CEOs and corporate executives. 

Albright sat opposite WTVJ news anchor Laurie Jennings and highlighted stories from her newly released book Read My Pins . The former Diplomat’s jewel box is filled with historical anecdotes and pins starting with Saddam Hussein and the Serpent’s Tale – the pin that began it all.  Albright was candid, funny, spunky and answered Jennings questions as well as from some of the attendees who were curious to know how she became the first woman to hold this position.  Albright told us she was a journalist, researcher, full time mom and later a professor before even stepping foot on Capitol Hill.

        I was unaware that Albright had become a single mother of three daughters when she divorced her husband. She said she has lived by one rule in particular and still does: she always takes a phone call from one of her children, regardless of what she is doing. (Her daughters are now adults and she has grandchildren)

When asked what her advice was for women entrepreneurs, she responded by saying, “Don’t ever be afraid to speak up…I believe that women need to support one another, and there is a special place in Hell for women who don’t.”  Albright says Hillary Clinton played a big role in her being named the first female secretary of state. She and Hillary give each other lots of support today.

In regard to work/life balance, Albright said: "There are no easy choices. Every woman's middle name is guilt."

Albright thinks women CEOs need to make it comfortable for other women to balance work and family and  to understand that sometimes a mom can't be in two places at once.

I'm an even bigger fan of Albright's than I had been prior to hearing her speak. Judging by the line of women waiting for her to sign their books, many others are, too.