Elaine Chao
Profile Photo

Elaine Chao


18th United States Secretary of Transporation and 24th United States Secretary of Labor

Profile Photo

Elaine Chao

18th United States Secretary of Transporation and 24th United States Secretary of Labor
Years of Age
Years of Experience
ALResidence (state)

Elaine Lan Chao (born March 26, 1953) is an American businesswoman and government official. A member of the Republican Party, Chao served as the 18th Secretary of Transportation in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2021, and as the 24th Secretary of Labor in the Bush administration from 2001 to 2009. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Chao immigrated to the United States when she was eight years old. Her father founded the Foremost Group, which eventually became a major shipping corporation. Chao was raised on Long Island, New York, and subsequently received degrees from Mount Holyoke College and Harvard Business School. She worked for a number of financial institutions before being appointed to several senior positions in the Department of Transportation under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, including Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission (1988–1989) and Deputy Secretary of Transportation (1989–1991). She served as Director of the Peace Corps from 1991 to 1992 and as president of the United Way of America from 1992 to 1996. While not in government, Chao has served on several corporate boards of directors and worked for The Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute, two conservative think-tanks. Chao was the first Asian-American woman and the first Taiwanese American in U.S. history to be appointed to a President's Cabinet. Chao married U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in 1993.



  (1 - 2 of 7)  
Mount Holyoke College
Harvard University
Syosset High School
Columbia University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dartmouth College
Harvard Business School

Past Positions

  (1 - 2 of 10)  
Secretary of Transportation
United States Department of Transportation
2017 - 2021
Secretary of Transportation
United States of America
Secretary of Labor
United States Department of Labor
2001 - 2009
Deputy Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1989 - 2001
Federal Maritime Commission
1988 - 1989
Deputy Maritime Administrator
United States Department of Transportation
Peace Corps
1991 - 1992
White House Fellow
Transportation Banker
Vice President of Syndications
BankAmerica Capital Markets Group

Other Experience

  (1 - 2 of 2)  
Distinguished Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
United Way of America