Mayor's Office

Press Release

Mayor Parker Releases Statement on Passing of Helen Chang, Mayor's Director of International Trade & Development


Helen Chang


August 17, 2011 -- Mayor Annise Parker announced the passing of a beloved staff member, Helen T. Chang. Ms. Chang was the Director of International Trade & Development for the Office of the Mayor and served under four Mayors, beginning in 1992 in the administration of Mayor Bob Lainer.


"Helen was the public face for Houston abroad, focusing on developing our city's relationship with countries and cultures across the world. She made friends for this city and for its leadership, brought new business opportunities and enriched Houston's cultural life," said Mayor Parker. " As a beloved member of my staff she will be missed dearly.  My condolences go to her family and friends, but also to Houston's Asian community for losing an active, vibrant community leader. Her courage and determination these past few months have set an example for us all."


Ms. Chang was the first Asian American to task a Mayoral transition team.  As a dedicated public servant and proud Houstonian, she believed passionately that Houston’s diversity is its greatest strength.  Under her leadership, numerous international initiatives have been launched to promote Houston on the global stage. She oversaw the 7-region Mayor’s International Trade & Development councils and was the City coordinator for the Moscow, Calgary, ProMexico, Nuevo Leon and Milan Bilateral Cooperation Committees.


Prior to her City position, Ms. Chang was a member of the Advisory Council on Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC, and the Texas Statewide Health Coordinating Council.  A founder and honorary chair of the U.S. Asian Business Partnership, Ms. Chang also served as Chair of the Asian-American Heritage Association of Houston and president of the Chinese Business Association. She served as President of the Houston-Shandong Energy Leadership Alliance, Honorary Vice President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce of Texas, and as a board member of the Chinese Community Center. She also served on the advisory boards of the Asia Society, the University of Houston’s Asian American Studies Center, the Chinese Civic Center and the World Trade Supervisory Board of the Greater Houston Partnership.  She was a charter member of the University of Houston’s’ International Education Advisory Panel.  Ms. Chang earned her MBA from Auburn University.