I want to thank you very much for the chance to be here. It’s wonderful to see all of you, so, please have a seat. I’m here in China because I just got back from Xinjiang and also Gansu.
Someone asked me one time: “How did you get started, in the government? ” And I would say to them that I didn’t really expect to start in the government. So, I started in America, as, you know, a third grader, I came to United States when I was about eight years old. I started third grade. I didn’t speak English. And it was very very difficult, with my parents as well. We didn’t know the language in America, we didn’t understand the food. We didn’t understand the tradition, the culture. So I’m still very Chinese that way. People asked me “what prepares you to success? What motivates you?” And for me, I’d say, No.1 I want to make my parents proud. Because they sacrifice so much for the children; No.2 I always want to work for a bigger purpose than just for myself. So I always want to be able to contribute and to help other people. So, if you were to ask me what were my career goes? I didn’t have any, which in retrospect was a good thing. Because our community at that time was so small. So, for me, when I graduated from school, I was serious. I had very simple goals: one, is to get a job; two, it is basically to get an apartment, so I can be independent. And then I went to Harvard, Business school. I graduated from Harvard Business school. And because my family was in business, I decided to go into banking, to get some experience in banking. I didn’t understand so much of what was banking was all about, but I learned. So I worked for Citi Group. And then when I was in the middle of working for Citi Group after 4 years, I had the opportunity to work at the White House. Because Citi Group has a special program. They selected outstanding performers within the bank, and gave them an opportunity to support them for an intern in the government. So I was selected as a White House fellow. And I worked at the White House for one year. It was a difficult time, it’s not easy. But I was so excited. It was so interesting. Because there were no Chinese, no Asians at the White House at that time. So I felt that I was blazing new trails for other Asian Americans. And then I was learning a lot to be a better leader for the future. So I worked at the White House for a year. And the President at that time, Ronald Reagan was from Califorlia. I grew up in New York. I’ve never been to California, so I decided that I wanted to go to California. So I found a job with Bank of America in California and moved to California. I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t have any friends there but I was so excited. I just wanted to see what California was like. So I was in California for about 3 years and then one day I got a phone call, from Secretary Elizabeth Doll. And she was the secretary of transportation. And she needed someone who understood banking, which I had gained in experience from Citi Bank. And she also needed someone who understood shipping, which I also had gained from Bank of America. So the two expertise really helped me to get the job that she had in mind. She had a portfolio in the department of transpo
rtation that was loosing 1.8 billion dollars a year. And she needed a banker to go and clean it up. So within one weekend, I flew back from California, found an apartment in Washington DC, and started work on Monday. And then from, this was the maritime administration. I worked there for 2 years, learned a great deal about the government. And around, um, 2 years later, I was appointed the chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission. And the reason why I was appointed was because the previous chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission had passed away suddenly. So they needed the government, they needed someone who understood shipping, who had been in the government in shipping, who can be the chairman. So once again, my particular background in shipping, transportation, banking was very important. And, so I was chairman for about a year. And then a new president came in. And it was President, the first President Bush, and so he asked me to be the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation. And at that time, I was, um, I must’ve been only 35. Still older than you, but very very young. I was one of the youngest deputy secretaries, um, in the whole government. And I was also the only, the first Asian American Deputy Secretary in United States government. And then in 1992, that was 22 years ago, so many, such a long time ago, um, President Bush lost his re-
election. So when he loses a re-
election, what happens in America is everybody who’s with him goes. So I joined United way of America. And United Way is the No.1 charity in America. I was there for 4 years. I had a little bit of time to get married, at the age of 39. It was very late. My husband as you um know, is the, um, leader in the, um, Congress, He’s very, he is a very good husband. He does his own laundry, he cooks, and he helps me with the house, too. He is very encouraging on women, um, and I think it’s really important, to find someone who is going to be your life partner. Because they will help you adapt to your life, and they will help you adapt to your career as well. And so in 1996, I wanted to have a break, so I joined a THINK TANK where I took some time to study and learn more about the American political system, how to get ideas across. Because America is a very confrontational society. You know people are arguing all the time. So some people are saying this, some people are saying that. And it’s OK, so there’s a lot of fighting, back and forth.
And then in um, 2000, President George W. Bush, was getting ready for his presidential bid, and I had known him before, because I had campaigned with his, um, with him for his father and I had known him because he is also form Harvard Business School. Um, President George W. Bush was the class of 1971, and I was class of 1979. So we knew each other from that as well.
And you’ll be interested to know that I actually was supposed to get, I thought, the Department of Transportation, but, no nominee got the Department of Transportation. And so I
was very disappointed and I think it tells you a lesson in that if you are faced with disappointment: No.1, you must always think of the long term, so even if though it could be a disappointment, don’t be discouraged. If you handle the disappointment well, and there will be lots of other opportunities. And so, indeed, I was, um, originally, um, not offered, but I was indicated that Secretary of Labor was the position that they wanted for me. And I wasn’t really very familiar, um, with labor as much as I was familiar with transportation. So I was hoping to be appointed to transportation. But when that did not happen, you know, I was very calm, and I thanked the President and his team for considering me, I wished them well in their new administration, thinking that I was not going to be a part of it. And then 2 weeks afterwards, the President’s nominee for the Secretary of Labor position encountered difficulties in her confirmation hearing. In the United States, the President proposes a secretary and then the Congress, the Senet approves. So the original choice for the Secretary of Labor encountered difficulties in her confirmation process and she had to drop out. So they, the White House and the President needed to find a new Secretary of Labor, someone they trusted, someone who they know can clear, and gain the approval of the Senet, who had no blemish on their record so they can go through the confirmation process very easily. And so, they approached me again, and asked whether I would be interested in applying, in um, accepting the position of the Secretary of Labor. And so that was how I became the Secretary of Labor. So, I wasn’t the first choice.
But I think life is so interesting. You, it’s hard to plan every little step. You must plan but you can’t plan every little step. And it’s very very hard to, um, know all the opportunities..So,I think the ability to have a good attitude, the ability to always be confident, to be optimistic and to look ahead is very important. So, when I talk about my career, you know each of the step is very interesting, but I never planed for it. It just happened. Because I was hard working, I was always trying to do more than what was asked of me, and people noticed. So, when the opportunities came, my name always came to the surface, always came to the top. So I think the most important thing is it’s important to plan but you can’t plan every step. The most important thing is you have to have some inner confidence, that you really like what you are doing. You are interested. So, when I first entered Washington, I was interested, I was motivated. I wanted to find out what makes America run. I’m an immigrant to America, I didn’t understand the government, so that is why I wanted to enter the government, I wanted to see how does American government work. And I got in. And then once I got in, one door opened; I went in, and then another door opened; and I went in there and then another door opened. None of these doors I could have known about from the very beginning, because my world at that time was so small. And there were so few Asian Americans. In the government at that time that there was no guide, no one to tell me what to expect. But what I did find helpful, and this is again what my parents taught
me, is you have to have courage, and interest and curiosity. I think if there is one thing that my parents taught me a great deal of, it’s curiosity. You have to have interest, you have to have curiosity. And if you are curious, you will go on and seek more doors and more opened. And these doors will open if you have persistence, if you plan ahead and if you have the will to proceed.
The world is changing so rapidly, so you’ll have the same kind of opportunities as well. There are so many opportunities for you. I can’t tell you what these opportunities are, but if you have the interest, and you have the will, and you have the confidence, you will have a lot of opportunities. That’s all.
I really want you to meet my father, because he is really interesting. (演讲完)
A：I was. There are only 17 of us, a hundred of him.
A：He takes care of inside of the house, I take care of outside of the house.
A:His a man of principle, he is a leader of principle, and he is a leader of integrity.
You know to be a leader is not easy. If I had any advice for the young people here, it is that you make mistakes, you learn, you get to be a better leader. And even today, I’m trying to be a better leader. So you learn and you get to be a better leader. So, there is no one style. I think my advantage is I know people very well. I know what would work with that person, it’s not the same technic as the person over there. So I study all of these people. I’m a general, like a general in a big field. So you have to understand each of your generals, sub-
generals, and understand what motivates them. Some people like a hard approach then I use hard; some people like a small approach, a soft approach, then I use a soft approach. So you have to know your people and know what motivates them, what they respond to and that’s the way to be best manager.
You know a lot of times you don’t know what is happening. So this is the case where Americans would be very subtle and I didn’t understand the signal. So I had several very important people, approached me before Christmas, you know, before the um, right after the transition. And they said to me that you will make an excellent Secretary of Labor. Labor was not what I was targeting. I was targeting transportation. So I didn’t understand what they were trying to tell me. They were actually emissaries from the White House, trying to gage my interest in becoming Secretary of Labor. But because I was already focused on transportation, I didn’t pay very much attention to Labor. So it’s a lesson, you know, you should always be very alert and be aware when people are seemingly talking to you. And this is one of the great talents of life. So many things are happening, you must develop a sense as what is important and what is not important. And those conversations, in retrospect, were important conversations. They never asked me directly the first time. They just asked indirectly, whether this is something that will interest me, and I said no. So the former offer never came the first time.
If you lose an opportunity, don’t be regretful. But when an opportunity comes, be ready for it. And so that means that you have to prepare yourself, and you have to, um, it’s always good to know people. I mean, this society, I don’t have to tell you that, you are all very good at it. But I think the most important thing is if you miss an opportunity, to um, forgive yourself and not be regretful, and look forward and not look backward.
I think there are lots of good values, in east and west. For example, the east are long term point of view, taking things in moderation, um, they emphasis on family, they emphasis on education. These are all very very good values that many other cultures around the world can learn from. American culture, western culture is very energetic, it is very creative. So don’t ever underestimate the Americans. They are very very creative. And they work very well in team work. Each one of them may not be very strong, but together, they are very very strong as a team. So I think, again, the best of both worlds will make for a more harmonious world, if both sides understand each other better.
You know, if you, um, if you are starting out, and you are aiming for the sky, it’s very frightening. But if you go step by step as if you were climbing a mountain, and the mountain is getting closer to the sky. When you get half way or when you get to the, nearly to the top, the sky does not look so, look so far away. So, I think you previous experience is very i