"I am absolutely honored and thrilled beyond words to be here with you as our nation's 67th Secretary of State," Clinton said. "And I believe, with all of my heart, that this is a new era for America."
Clinton, who was confirmed yesterday, faces a host of challenges in her new job, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, conflict in the Middle East, and potential threats in Iran and Pakistan.
She told the assembled crowd that "robust diplomacy and effective development are the best long-term tools for securing America's future."
"I'm going to be asking a lot of you," the secretary of state said. "I want you to think outside the proverbial box. I want you to give me the best advice you can. I want you to understand there is nothing that I welcome more than a good debate and the kind of dialogue that will make us better."
Clinton will meet with State employees again this afternoon – this time alongside President Obama.
"The president will be here on his second day in office to let all of you know, and all who are serving on our behalf around the world, how seriously committed he is to working with us," Clinton said this morning.
"So this is going to be a great adventure," she continued. "We'll have some ups and some downs. We'll face some obstacles along the way. But be of good cheer and be of strong heart, and do not grow weary, as we attempt to do good on behalf of our country and the world."