Chao is the first Asian-American Cabinet member in U.S. history, appointed by President Bush in January 2001. Her family immigrated to America when she was 8 years old. She went on to earn her undergraduate degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College and followed that with her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. She also studied at M.I.T., Dartmouth College and Columbia University. She has since been awarded 24 honorary doctoral degrees from colleges and universities around the world.
Chao's professional career includes extensive leadership roles in the private and public sectors. She served as vice president of syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group before becoming director of the Peace Corps, where she established programs in the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. She left the position to become president and chief executive officer of United Way of America in an effort to help turn around the charitable organization following revelations of mismanagement and financial abuse within its ranks.
Prior to her nomination as Secretary, Chao was a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based public policy research and educational institute. She was also deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission and deputy maritime administrator in the U.S. Department of Transportation.
She is married to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the assistant majority leader in the senate.
Registration deadline for the event is Wednesday, April 6. Pre-registration is required; walk-ins are not permitted. Admission to the event is $35 for non-association members. To register, call 513 554-4747.