Full Name
T.H. Elaine Chao
Job Title
18th Secretary of Transportation, 24th Secretary of Labor,
Current Employer
United States
Speaker Bio
Secretary Chao is the first Asian American woman to serve in a President’s cabinet in American history. She has been confirmed on a bipartisan basis to two cabinet positions as U. S. Secretary of Transportation and U. S. Secretary of Labor. She is the longest serving Cabinet member since World War II.

As U. S. Secretary of Transportation, Secretary Chao focused on keeping the country’s transportation system safe and efficient; invested over $300 billion in infrastructure; and, promoted American innovation in autonomous vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, and commercial space. During the COVID-19 crisis, Secretary Chao’s decisive actions kept America’s transportation networks safe and moving.
As U. S. Secretary of Labor, Secretary Chao focused on increasing the competitiveness of America’s workforce in a worldwide economy. She set new records for workplace safety and health, retirement security.

Secretary Chao has a uniquely distinguished career in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Previously, Secretary Chao was President and CEO of United Way of America where she restored public trust in the organization after it had been tarnished by scandal. She was Director of the Peace Corps where she launched the first Peace Corps programs in the Baltic nations and the former republics of the former Soviet Union including Ukraine. Secretary Chao had also served as White House Fellow; Deputy Maritime Administrator; Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission; and Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. She was also a banker with Bank of America and Citicorp.
Secretary Chao has served on the boards of numerous public companies while out of government such as News Corp, HCA Healthcare, Ingersoll Rand, NASD. She is currently on the board of Kroger and several technology companies. She has also been a director and trustee on many nonprofit boards including Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors, Harvard Business School Global Advisory Board, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, United Way Worldwide, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, Los Angeles 2028 Organizing Committee of Olympic and Paralympic Games (LA28), and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Advisory Board.

Born in Taiwan, Secretary Chao immigrated to America at the age of 8 not speaking any English; she received her citizenship at the age of 19. Her experiences transitioning to a new country has prompted her to devote her life to helping others access the opportunities that are available in our society. Elaine earned her undergraduate degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College, and her MBA from Harvard Business School. A proud Kentuckian, she is the recipient of 38 honorary doctorate degrees. Please visit her website: www.elainechao.com.
Elaine Chao