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Immigrants Of The Day: Madeleine May Kunin of Switzerland, Jenny J. Ming of Macau, and Josie Natori of The Philippines

by Kevin R. Johnson

Madeleine May Kunin (Switzerland)

Madeleine_kunin_20041011 Madeleine May Kunin (born September 28, 1933), a Democrat, was the Governor of Vermont (1985-1991) and U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 1999.  She was Vermont's first woman governor.

Born in Zurich, Kunin moved to the United States as a child and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a master's degree from the University of Vermont.

Kunin served in the Clinton administration as deputy secretary of education of the United States from 1993 until 1997, when she became the ambassador to her native Switzerland, as well as to Liechtenstein. She has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for the President of the United States.

September 17, 2007 | Permalink

Jenny J. Ming (Macau)

Jenny_ming Jenny J. Ming (b. 1955, Macau), is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Old Navy a unit of Gap, Inc.  In 2007, she was named to the Board of Directors of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.

From 1999-2006, Ming served as president of Old Navy, a $6.7 billion business segment of The Gap, Inc., where she oversaw all aspects of Old Navy and its 900 retail clothing stores in the United States and Canada. Ming joined Gap, Inc. in 1986 and served in various executive capacities. In 1994, she was a member of the executive team that launched Old Navy.

In 2000, Business Week magazine named Ms. Ming one of the nation's top 25 managers. In 2003, she ranked No. 42 on Fortunes list of 50 most powerful women in American business.

Ming also serves as a board member of the Committee of 100, a national, non-profit non-partisan organization that brings a Chinese American perspective to issues concerning Asian Americans and U.S. relations with China. Ms. Ming serves on the board of the Merage Foundation for the American Dream, which is dedicated to promoting expanded opportunities for immigrants to the United States.

Ming is the recipient of the Business and Community Award for 2006, and also serves on the advisory board of Cornell University, College of Human Ecology.

Ming received her Bachelor of Arts degree in clothing merchandizing from San Jose State University.

September 18, 2007 | Permalink

Josie Natori (Philippines)

Natori As founder and Chief Executive Officer of Natori Company, Josie Natori literally reconfigured an industry, erasing the boundary between innerwear and outerwear. She started her business from scratch, twenty-five years ago. Born Josefina Almeda Cruz, the eldest of six children, Natori's earliest success was as a classical pianist, and she performed a solo concert with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra at nine. She left Manila for New York in 1964, at 17, to study economics at Manhattanville College. In 1971, she moved to Merrill Lynch as an investment banker. While there, she met her future husband, Ken Natori, a third-generation Japanese-American. Within a few years, Natori was married and had been named the first woman vice-president in investment banking.  An old friend sent her a variety of hand-embroidered clothing, including some blouses that Natori took to a buyer at Bloomingdale's. When the buyer suggested lengthening them and turning them into nightshirts, an empire was born.  Natori quit her job, and set up shop in her living room. Although she had no experience in fashion or manufacturing, within a few years she was working out of an 11,000-square-foot loft, with a showroom and sample and design workspaces.

September 19, 2007 | Permalink

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.