BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
A pin showing the Chicago skyline graced the shoulder of Dr. Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, who addressed The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center recently at its 24th Annual Spring Luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton. Chaired by Lindsey Axel and Kate Mursau, and sponsored by Graff Diamonds, the event attracted more than 500 guests who were warmly greeted by Woman’s Board President Debra Beck.
Dr. Albright shared anecdotes about her immigration to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia as a young girl, her experiences as the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State, and her thoughts on women in leadership. She empowered the audience with her remarks and responses in a wide-ranging Q and A session with Kate:
“We need more and more women in the workforce. There are few women CEOs and more need to run for office. We have to get rid of the ‘queen bee’ mentality of ‘me not you’—there need to be more women leaders in the room with men. It isn’t easy, and we need to support one another.
“Most women have guilt as their middle name. We need to learn to interrupt more—if you raise your hand and wait to be called upon, you won’t be. Active listening is the key. We have to be under constant vigilance. Many times you think that you have pushed something up the hill and it will stay there. Men and women need to work with each other to make it stay.”
When asked by Kate what she was most proud of in her State Department work, Dr. Albright cited her work during the Kosovo crisis.
In addition to her recently published book, Fascism: A Warning, she wrote Read My Pins: A Diplomat’s Jewelry Box about her brooch collection. She confessed that she had “revived the jewelry industry” with her love of pins, which often portrayed her mood: “my snake pin or carnivorous animals for difficult assignments, flowers for brighter days.” Recently 200 of her pins, including a ceramic heart made by her daughter at age 5, were shown in the State Department’s Museum of Diplomacy.
Kate described her opportunity to interview Dr. Albright:
“Interviewing Secretary Albright at the Rush Spring Luncheon was one of the highlights of my life. Dr. Albright’s stories and insights about her life experiences were inspiring. She was savvy, witty, down-to-earth, and her remarks resonated with the audience. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity in support for Rush and the programs it funds.”
Funds raised will be directed to the numerous outreach programs supported by The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center, including its 2018 principal project, the Rush Education and Career Hub, or REACH, an innovative education and workforce development program. In the next decade, the need for health care professionals will grow substantially but especially in low-income communities; low numbers of students qualify to gain advanced skills and access to those careers. Through mentorship, job shadowing, and internship programming, REACH positions high school and college students in Chicago’s diverse West Side communities for job success in the health care industry.
For more information, visit thewomansboard.org.
Photo credit: Robert F. Carl Photography