Alexis Margaret Herman (born July 16, 1947) is an American politician who served as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Herman was the first African-American to hold the position. Prior to serving as Secretary, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Herman grew up in Mobile, Alabama. After college, she worked to improve employment opportunities for black laborers and women. She then joined the administration of Jimmy Carter, working as director of the Labor Department’s Women’s Bureau. She became active in the Democratic party, working in the campaigns of Jesse Jackson and then serving as chief of staff for the Democratic National Committee under Ronald H. Brown. Upon the election of Bill Clinton, she joined his cabinet in 1997.
Following the defeat of Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, Herman remained active in Democratic politics, in addition to her participation in the private sector, serving on the boards of corporations such as Coca-Cola and Toyota.