“Asian Americans are now beginning to find our voice. We’re learning that we need to be full participants in our democracy. The rise in violence and hateful rhetoric against the Asian American community during the COVID 19 pandemic has brought this community to a greater realization of the need to participate more fully in our country’s institutions, and be more vocal and visible.”
As the excited 8-year-old girl watched the land of her birth recede from her view as her cargo ship pulled away from shore, Elaine Chao could only dream of the opportunities awaiting her in the U.S. After learning English and earning excellent grades, she would receive an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and eventually rise to become the first woman of Asian heritage to serve in a President’s cabinet, first as the 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor, and most recently as the 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Along the way, she served as Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission, President and CEO of United Way of America, and Director of the Peace Corps.
“As I review my life’s journey,” she tells Mike, “I don't look back upon the accomplishments so much as the rich gifts that I am now blessed to possess, which is love of family and friends, the respect of peers and colleagues, the ability to have led an impactful life, and, hopefully, the continued ability to make a difference in the world.”