Shanghai Jiao Tong University North America Alumni Summit &
Shanghai Jiao Tong University Foundation of America Inaugural Gala
Keynote Speaker
Elaine Chao, the 24th US Secretary of Labor (2001-2009)

Saturday, 26 September 2009 * Westin Hotel Los Angeles International Airport
Day Program including Lunch 9:00am - 4:30pm
Cocktail Reception 4:30pm * Gala Dinner 6:00pm


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The Honorable Elaine Chao 赵小兰 -- the 24th US Secretary of Labor (2001 - 2009)

Biography of The Honorable Elaine L. Chao 

Secretary Chao is the first Asian Pacific American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet in our nation’s history.  Serving from 2001-2009, she is the longest tenured Secretary of Labor since World War II.  

During her tenure, the U.S. Department of Labor achieved record results in protecting the health, safety, wages, retirement security of America’s workforce.  Under her leadership, the Department of Labor fostered greater exchanges, cooperation and interactions with China.    

In August 2008, Secretary Chao was appointed by President Bush to represent the United States of America as head of the U.S. Delegation to the Closing Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.   She has also been an active participant in the U. S. –China Strategic Economic Dialogue which was initiated in 2006 by the Presidents of both countries.   

During her tenure, the Department made unprecedented outreach efforts to the Asian Pacific American (APA) community to help access better opportunities in mainstream America.  She appointed more Asian Pacific Americans to positions at the Department of Labor than any other Cabinet Secretary.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics for the first time ever began to record employment data on Asian Pacific Americans in a separate category.  Secretary Chao also established internship programs at the U. S. Department of Labor in which many Asian Pacific American young people participated.  To help more Asian Pacific Americans advance within the federal government, Secretary Chao initiated the annual Asian Pacific American Federal Career Advancement Summit.  The Department initiated the annual Opportunity Conference to help Asian Pacific Americans access greater opportunities in federal contracting and networking.                                                                                                          

Secretary Chao's career has spanned the public, private and non-profit sectors. As President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, she restored public trust and confidence in one of the nation's premier private charity.  As Director of the Peace Corps, she established the first Peace Corps programs in the Baltic nations and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.  Her government service also includes serving as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.   

Formerly a banker with Citicorp and Bank of America, she has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mt. Holyoke College.  Secretary Chao is currently a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D. C., a Fox News Contributor, and chairman of the family foundation set up in memory of her beloved mother, Ruth Mulan Chu Chao who passed away on August 2, 2007.  Secretary Chao is the recipient of 31 honorary doctorate degrees. 

She is the daughter of Dr. James S. C. Chao, who was Chairman of Chiao-Tung University Alumni Association in America from 1988-1999.  During her youth, she was Chairman of the Chiao-Tung University Youth Alumni Association in the United States.  In June 1990, she was the keynote speaker at the Sixth Reunion of the Chiao-Tung University Alumni Association in America at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.