Speaking at the CIA Women's History Month Celebration this week former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright offered a number of career advancing suggestions for women in the workforce.

Albright said her storied career - which really began at age 39 after raising three children and obtaining her Ph.D. - owes its success to making the most of opportunities presented.

"I never imagined that I would one day become secretary of state," she said. "It's not that I lacked ambition. It is just that I had never seen a secretary of state in a skirt."

Albright offered five suggestions to the CIA audience:

  • Speak up: "It is better to risk being thought rude than to give the impression you have nothing to say." 

  • Lead: "In any group, someone has to lead -- and it might as well be you -- and you have to be prepared to do so." 

  • Don't be obsessed by the clock: "When it comes to generating results, experience and character count far more than a wrinkle-free face." 

  • Chart your own course: "No one can make that choice for you, and no path is inherently right or wrong. ... Act out of hope, not fear, and take responsibility for whatever you decide."

  • Help one another: "None of us get to where we are on our own and none of us will get to where we want to go unless we move forward together."

"Finally, I have one message that I always insist on sharing with professional women, and that is to look around the room at the faces of your colleagues and remember that there is a special place in hell reserved for women who refuse to help one another," Albright stated.

"None of us - none of us get to where we are on our own. And none of us will get to where we want to go unless we move forward together. And if you remember nothing else from what I've said this morning - remember that.

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