U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who has been an empowering figure in American history for decades, is among an elite list of women named by a popular lifestyle website for their influence and impact on U.S. history.
Chao joins 16 others selected by MyDomaine as women who improved life for the better. Click here to read the article.
The only one living in Kentucky on the list, Chao became the first Asian American woman to serve in the presidential cabinet when she was appointed as secretary of labor in 2001 under President George W. Bush and she went to work with goals in mind.
She aimed to improve overtime regulations for workers and worked for more secure regulations for unions and workers’ retirements before taking on the role of secretary of transportation.
Chao, 63, is part of a powerhouse couple as the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. They live in Louisville.
She has a distinguished career in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. An immigrant who arrived in America at the age of eight speaking no English, she received her citizenship at the age of 19. Her experience transitioning to a new country has motivated her to devote most of her professional life to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Prior to the Department of Labor, Secretary Chao was President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, where she restored public trust and confidence in one of America’s premier institutions of private charitable giving, after it had been tarnished by financial mismanagement and abuse. She also served as Director of the Peace Corps, where she established the first programs in the Baltic nations and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
Chao is joined on the list by Harriett Beacher Stowe, Ameila Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Clara Burton, Queen Liliuokalani, Billie Jean King, Maya Angelou, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sally Ride, Rosa Parks, Maya Lin, Sacagawea, Oprah Winfrey, Soujourner Truth, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.