Elaine Chao


Elaine L. Chao is a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, where she works on jobs and the economy, trade and competitiveness issues.

An immigrant who arrived in America at the age of eight speaking no English, Chao became the nation’s 24th secretary of labor who served from 2001-2009, the first American woman of Asian heritage to be appointed to a president's Cabinet in our nation’s history.  She is also the longest serving Secretary of Labor since World War II.

Chao's distinguished career spans the public, private and non-profit sectors. During her tenure as labor secretary, the department achieved record results in workplace health and safety; focused on increasing the competitiveness of America’s workforce; and enforced union financial disclosure reporting requirements for the benefit of rank-and-file workers.

Prior to leading the Department of Labor, Chao was president and CEO of United Way of America, director of the Peace Corps, deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation and chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.   She also worked as vice president at Bank of America in San Francisco and at Citicorp in New York. 

Chao received her MBA from the Harvard Business School and a degree in economics from Mt. Holyoke College.  Recognized with innumerable awards for her contributions to public and community service, Chao is also the recipient of 35 honorary doctorate degrees.

Her website is www.Elainechao.com.

Read Full Bio