Farewell, May yer Thao!


Milwaukee, Wis., September 9, 2019 – The Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC) announced today that May yer Thao has officially resigned as Executive Director, effective September 8, 2019. As a testament of her transformative work with HWCC, Thao has been selected by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to serve as Assistant Deputy Director for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). May yer is the first Asian American to serve in an Executive Office position.

“May yer has been a strong advocate and change agent for the Chamber, of which our reach extends to communities throughout Wisconsin; and given May yer’s statewide involvement, it was only a matter of time before she got tapped to serve a larger role,” said Rebecca Yang, co-chair of Board of Directors for the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. “So, while the news is bittersweet, we are proud and fully supportive of her decision to serve the state of Wisconsin.”

Thao has served as Executive Director for the past five years and under her leadership, HWCC has deployed business loans and provided technical assistance to underserved communities throughout Wisconsin, leveraging near $10 million in community financing for diverse-owned businesses. She opened the Chamber’s first satellite office in Wausau, Wisconsin; piloted a bilingual/bicultural Hmong financial literacy curriculum; and helped launched young professional groups throughout the state. Through strategic partnerships, Thao increased HWCC’s revenue and visibility tremendously and developed a staff that has been and will continue to be a working force behind HWCC with her departure.

“It’s been an honor to serve my community, and while I’m proud of the Chamber’s successes and growth over the years, I’m most proud of the team,” said Thao. “As the drivers of our programming and the backbone of the organization, I have complete confidence in their abilities, passion and diligence to carry forth our great work and continue growing the Chamber under a new leadership.”

HWCC is committed to identifying a strong successor as quickly as possible. To do so, HWCC is partnering with Colorful Connections, a diversity talent agency, to ensure a thorough and thoughtful executive search process. Colorful Connections, a member of HWCC, will guide the organization through a collaborative approach that incorporates community input, as well as inclusion of May yer within the extended search team.

To apply for the interim Executive Director and/or permanent Executive Director role, professionals can send resumes to Resumes@ColorfulConnections.com. For more information about HWCC and upcoming program and activities, such as HWCC’s 13th Annual Banquet, please visit www.HmongChamber.org.


About the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce: Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce (HWCC) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides economic development assistance in business planning and operations. HWCC acts as an advocate for Wisconsin’s Hmong and Asian American communities and entrepreneurs regarding business and economic issues. For more information visit www.HmongChamber.org.