Tina Tchen

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Tina Tchen
Christina Tchen in the Oval Office.jpg
Chief of Staff to the First Lady
In office
January 5, 2011 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded bySusan Sher
Succeeded byLindsay Reynolds
Personal details
Christina M. Tchen

(1956-01-25) January 25, 1956 (age 65)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Larry Pressl (Divorced)[1]
EducationHarvard University (BA)
Northwestern University (JD)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese陳遠美
Simplified Chinese陈远美

Christina M. Tchen (born January 25, 1956) is an American lawyer who was CEO of Time's Up from 2019 to 2021. Her work centers on issues related to gender inequity, sexual harassment, and lack of diversity in the workplace.[2] On 26 August she resigned from the position of CEO after allegations of providing legal aid to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on sexual assault charges were uncovered.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Tchen was born in Columbus, Ohio[4] on January 25, 1956 to Chinese immigrants of Shanghainese descent who fled the People's Republic of China in 1949. Her father Peter Chou-Yen Tchen worked as a psychiatrist and her mother Lily was a scientist (chemistry from Syracuse University).[5] In 1956 her father was facing deportation back to China but received help from Ohio Senator John Bricker.[6] She grew up in Beachwood, Ohio, graduating from Beachwood High School. She graduated from Radcliffe College of Harvard University in 1978,[1] and received her J.D. degree in 1984 from Northwestern University School of Law.


Tchen worked for several years[quantify] for the Illinois Bureau of the Budget where she served as the Governor's budget analyst for the Department of Children and Family Services. In 1988, Tchen began as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, later becoming a partner at the firm in 1992, where she specialized in litigation in the federal courts.[7][5][8] In 1992, she argued on behalf of the State of Illinois in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in Artist M. v. Suter, which helped reform the state's foster care program by closing a loophole.[5][9][10]

During President Obama's campaign in 2008, Tchen was one of his biggest fundraisers, raising $200,000.[5] From Obama's inauguration in 2009 until January 5, 2011, she was the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, previously known as the Office of Public Liaison.[8][11] From 2011 until 2017, she served as Assistant to President Barack Obama; Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama; and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.[12][8][13]

In 2017, she became a partner in the law firm Buckley Sander where she led the workplace culture practice and was head of the firm's Chicago office.[14][15][4] In 2018, she was one of the co-founders of Time's Up and led its legal defense fund that connected victims of sexual harassment with lawyers.[16] The fund has raised more than $24 million by 2019 and has connected more than 3,600 workers in various industries to legal support for sexual harassment cases.[17]

In March 2019, Tchen was hired as an adviser to investigate the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) "workplace culture" after allegations of sexual and racial harassment led to the firing of the SPLC's co-founder and resignation of its president.[18][15] Also that year, she was named chair of the Recording Academy's new task force for inclusion and diversity following Neil Portnow and Ken Ehrlich's disparaging comments about women in the music industry.[19]

On October 7, 2019, Tchen was appointed chief executive officer of Time's Up.[15] Tchen's leadership has come under scrutiny amid revelations of assisting prominent Democratic politicians Andrew Cuomo and Joe Biden about the response to women who were publicly accusing them of sexual misconduct.[20] She resigned in August 2021, in the wake of Cuomo's resignation when it was revealed Tchen worked with the governor to discredit his first accuser.[21]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Chicago Lawyer "Person of the Year", 1994[22]
  • "Women of Achievement" award from the Anti-Defamation League, 1996[22]
  • Leadership Award from the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, 1999[22]
  • American Bar Association's Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, 2018[4]

Boards and commissions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Skiba, Katherine (2011-01-06). "Michelle Obama's new chief of staff 'energetic' and 'driven'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  2. ^ "Tina Tchen". Buckley LLP. 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  3. ^ "Time's Up CEO Resigns Over Cuomo Fallout". NPR.org. Retrieved 2021-09-04.
  4. ^ a b c "Chicago lawyer Tina M. Tchen to receive ABA Margaret Brent Award". www.americanbar.org. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  5. ^ a b c d Who Runs Gov. "Profiles: Christina M. Tchen" Archived 2009-08-20 at the Wayback Machine, WhoRunsGov.com, accessed August 2, 2009.
  6. ^ https://www.newspapers.com/clip/15401822/peter-tchen-22-mar-1956/
  7. ^ "Christina M. Tchen". Washington Post. 2012-11-16. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  8. ^ a b c "Tina Tchen to Join Office of the First Lady as Chief of Staff". Washington, DC: The White House Office of the First Lady. 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  9. ^ "Christina M Tchen - Skadden, Arps". 2008-12-31. Archived from the original on 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  10. ^ "Suter v. Artist M." Oyez. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  11. ^ "Engagement, Women, Health Care, and Yarn". Washington, DC: The White House Office of Public Engagement. 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  12. ^ "Tina Tchen to become Michelle Obama's Chief of Staff". Washington, DC: Asian American Action Fund. 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  13. ^ "Council on Women and Girls: Leadership". Washington, DC: The White House Council on Women and Girls. 2009-10-01. Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2011-09-15.
  14. ^ Sisario, Ben (2018-03-06). "Time's Up Co-Founder Will Head Recording Academy Task Force on Diversity". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  15. ^ a b c Zraick, Karen (October 7, 2019). "Tina Tchen, Ex-Obama Aide Will Take Over Time's Up". The New York Times.
  16. ^ Buckley, Cara (2018-01-01). "Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Action Plan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  17. ^ "Tina Tchen will become president and chief executive of Time's Up". Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  18. ^ Burch, Audra D. S.; Blinder, Alan; Eligon, John (2019-03-25). "Roiled by Staff Uproar, Civil Rights Group Looks at Intolerance Within". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-27.
  19. ^ "Time's Up Leader Tina Tchen To Head Recording Academy's Diversity Task Force". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  20. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/21/us/times-up-metoo-sexual-harassment.html
  21. ^ "Time's Up leader Tina Tchen resigns in fallout from Andrew Cuomo sexual harassment scandal". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-08-26.
  22. ^ a b c lcrenshaw (2015-02-23). "Tina Tchen". U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  23. ^ "Christina M. Tchen". Washington, DC: The White House Office of Public Engagement. 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2011-09-15.

External links[edit]