MAKERS Profile

Elaine Chao

24th U.S. Secretary of Labor

In this video

Former Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao discusses coming to the US from Taiwan on a cargo ship, growing up as her family worked to make ends meet, and dealing with prejudice as an Asian women in politics. 
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Elaine Chao came to the United States as a child and has had an unwavering faith in the American dream ever since. From knowing no English to becoming the first Asian Pacific woman on the U.S. cabinet, Elaine has been a trailblazer for immigrant women and women of color. She had the longest term as Secretary of Labor since WWII and worked tirelessly to promote women throughout it. Chao is married to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.     In November 2016, Chao, who was Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush, was nominated Transportation Secretary by President-elect Donald Trump.

More From Elaine

A Female President
In this interview, Elaine discusses the rough nature of politics and how women can progress in the industry. 

The Department of Labor
The first Asian Pacific woman in the US cabinet, Elaine shares about her responsibility to regulate every single workplace in the US as the Secretary of Labor.  

Low Maintenance Man
Elaine shares the story of her husband's big proposal and his helpful habits. 

A Mother's Motivation
In this interview, Elaine expresses pride over her mother's selflessness and undying dedication to earning a degree.

Praying at Harvard
In this MAKERS interview, Elaine remembers the intelligence of her peers at Harvard Business School and fearing class participation.

To Have a Barbie Doll
Elaine talks about the significance of the Barbie dolls in her house and how her mother made them special. 

Her Secret to Learning English
Elaine recalls her struggles with English in school and the system she developed with her father to learn it. 

Faith in the USA
Elaine remembers the hope and optimism that her parents instilled in their children about the US and their futures.

A Man of Great Ability
In this interview, Elaine talks about her father's brilliance and determination to bring the family to America.