Perhaps lost amid Tuesday’s extensive inauguration day coverage was the story about Jennifer Yue Barber, a Frankfort native who was tapped Monday by President Donald Trump to hold the rank of ambassador as a representative of the U.S. on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Barber is the daughter of Kenneth and Laura Yue, who emigrated to the U.S. from China as teenagers in the 1970s and have owned and operated China Wok in the Eastwood Shopping Center for decades. Having worked in the restaurant industry all their lives, the Yues didn’t have the opportunity to receive an education, but they instilled a strong work ethic in their daughter, putting her to work seating customers at age 7.
“It was hard work, manual work. A normal day was 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and it was not something they wanted for me,” Barber explained.
Each afternoon, the school bus dropped her off at the restaurant and she would spend hours in the back booth doing her homework. Barber had bigger dreams.
In fact, after Kentucky’s only female governor, Martha Layne Collins, dropped into China Wok one day, Barber pinned her hopes on becoming the state’s second female governor — a feat she still may pull off.
Barber graduated from Franklin County High School in 2001 and earned bachelor of science and law degrees from the University of Kentucky.
She is a member of Frost Brown Todd LLC, a Louisville law firm focusing on state and local tax, economic incentives and government affairs, and serves on numerous boards and committees. Barber joins fellow Kentuckian U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Kelly Craft.
We are proud of Barber and her accomplishments, which serve as a reminder to us all that there is no secret formula for success. All you need is hard work, dreams and dedication.