The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has announced that May yer Thao has been selected by Governor Tony Evers to serve as WHEDA’s Assistant Deputy Director.
“Diversity and inclusivity are top priorities for my administration,” said Governor Evers in a statement. “By expanding our leadership circle, we are gaining multiple perspectives to help address critical needs in our state. May yer is heavily engaged in local, state and national communities. Her tremendous work at the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce will be invaluable for WHEDA’s housing and economic development mission.”
In this leadership role, Thao will utilize her business development experience and strategic relationships to expand WHEDA’s mission in underserved communities. She will also represent WHEDA on the Governor’s Council on Mental Health.
“May yer has extensive experience working with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that provide financing and technical assistance for economic development, which is a great asset for us,” said WHEDA Executive Director Joaquin Altoro in a press release. “We will utilize her leadership to expand diversity and inclusion throughout all aspects of our organization so that we can improve our reach to the areas of the state that need our resources.”
For five years, Thao was the executive director for the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber where she has deployed the most business loans in its history and has increased its revenues three-fold. 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. Thao was awarded the 2019 Professional Dimensions Sacagawea Award, a prestigious honor recognizing exceptional leadership by “Women who Inspire.”
“I am very excited to utilize my experience to lead WHEDA’s efforts to reach more underserved populations,” said Thao in a statement. “I look forward to working with WHEDA’s dedicated employees and partners to help strengthen areas that are very much in need of new economic investment.”