Angela Chao spent time recently with China Daily reporter Li Jing in the executive offices of Foremost Group, where she serves as Deputy Chair. She shared with Li Jing the gifts she inherited from her parents, from her Chinese heritage and how they have served to shape and influence her professional and personal life.
Foremost Group was founded by Angela’s father, Dr. James S.C. Chao. The company began with modest goals but grew to become a well-respected international shipping enterprise with a state-of-the art and environmentally friendly fleet of dry bulk carriers. Angela’s exposure to Foremost Group began as a child. But her eyes were opened to more than just the inner corporate workings of a business; her father also taught her about ethics, community responsibility, and the importance of education. Angela says that her parents exposed her to a company whose sole focus was not on the bottom line, but on the best way to provide services to a global market. For her parents, to be involved in international shipping was a way to bridge cultures and connect people from all over the the world, thus bringing harmony to the world.
Angela Chao’s parents were immigrants from China, but she was born in America. The youngest of six children, she is fully immersed in the U.S. Nevertheless, she said that her parents never suggested to her or any of her siblings that they must choose one culture over another. To be successful, they taught, one must grab hold of the best aspects of each culture. For this reason, in addition to being immersed, knowledgeable and a full participant in American culture, Angela is equally proficient in Chinese culture. She speaks fluent Mandarin, is well versed in Chinese philosophy and history, and has fully absorbed the Chinese emphasis on education, community and heritage. The gifts from her parents and her Chinese heritage guide her professional, personal and philanthropic life, and Angela says that for this she is eternally grateful.