Institute for Corean-American Studies

Shinae Chun
Biographic Sketch

Shinae Chun, ICAS Fellow, was confirmed, on May 11, 2001, by the U S Senate as the 15th Director of the Women's Bureau. Under the direction of Secretary of Labor Elaine L Chao, Ms. Chun is the highest ranking Korean American in the Bush administration, and heads the only Federal agency charged with advocating on behalf of women in the workforce. The Women's Bureau was created by Congress in 1920 with a mandate to "promote the welfare of wage-earning women."

Prior to joining the Labor Department , Ms. Chun served as the Managing Director of the ITR Corporation of Chicago, Illinois. From 1991 to 1999, Ms. Chun was the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor, responsible for managing operations of the Department whose mission is to protect the rights, wages, and working conditions of Illinois workers through the enforcement of state labor laws. She made Illinois history two years earlier when she accepted the position of Director of the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions, becoming the first ever Asian American cabinet member. While there, she investigated, licensed and regulated over 2500 financial institutions in Illinois.

In 1982, Ms Chun was one of the founding members of the Asian American Advisory Council to Governor James R. Thompson. Later in 1984, she was appointed as Special Assistant to the Governor on Asian American Affairs, the first such position in the country. Serving as a liaison between state government and Asian American communities, her primary responsibility was to bring concerns and issues of Asian Americans to the governor and ensure that state policy and programs reflected the needs of Asian Americans.

Prior to her involvement in state government, she was project director of the Title IX Multiethnic Training, Assistance and Dissemination Project (METAD), a teacher in-service training program developed to heighten sensitivity of public school teachers to cultural diversity in the classroom; and ease cross- cultural conflict by better preparing teachers for assimilation of Asian immigrant and refugee students into mainstream society.

Her recognition awards include "Outstanding Alumni Award" from Ewha Women's University in Seoul, "Outstanding Statesman Award" from Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and Midwest Women's Center "A Tribute to Chicago Women Award." From 1987-1991, she served as a board member for United Way. She is also author of From the Mountains of Masan to the Land of Lincoln (1996), and Korean Culture - A Passage Through Hermit Kingdom (1980).

Ms Chun received her undergraduate degree at Ewha Women's University in Seoul, Korea, and her Master's degree in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. In 1992, she also received a fellowship to the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Ms Chun and her husband, Dr. Kyong Chul Chun, have two sons.

ICAS Web Site Links for Shinae Chun:

December 5, 2006, ICAS Bulletin
December 1, 2006, ICAS Bulletin
Summer 2005 Reception and Dinner
A Career Strategy for Public Service.
Summer 2001 Symposium

This page last updated 1/30/2009 jdb

ICAS Fellow
Speakers &