The Opus Distinguished Speaker Program presents former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, in Schulze Auditorium at the Opus College of Business on St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus. She will discuss “America’s Competitiveness in a Global Environment.”

Elaine Chao

Elaine Chao

Chao served as the nation’s 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor, from 2001-2009. She was the first Asian Pacific American woman and the first Chinese American to be appointed to a president’s cabinet, and is the longest serving secretary of labor since World War II.

 Chao began her service to the United States in 1986 as deputy administrator of the Maritime Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation. She served as chair of the Federal Maritime Commission from 1988 to 1989, then as deputy secretary of transportation in 1989. From 1991 to 1992 she was director of the Peace Corps, establishing the first programs in the Baltic nations and newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.

As president and CEO of United Way of America from 1992 to 1996, Chao is credited with restoring trust in the organization after a public mismanagement scandal.

Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of 8. She earned a B.A. in economics from Mt. Holyoke College, an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and is the recipient of 31 honorary doctorate degrees.

Chao is a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and serves on a number of Fortune 500 corporate boards.

Visit the Opus College of Business to register online.