A soldier, a diplomat, and the consummate public servant, the Honorable Colin L. Powell’s résumé is loaded with remarkable achievements and historic firsts.
During his keynote address at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), held Feb. 26 through March 2 in Washington D.C., Powell will reflect upon his nearly six decades of public service and explore such themes as leadership, confidence, and American optimism.
“What can you possibly say about Gen. Powell that hasn’t already been said?” says CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “He’s a hero, a statesman, a man of character, and a pivotal figure in our country’s last half-century. I’m certain that everyone at GAC will deeply value his insights into leadership.”
Beginning his 35-year military career as a second lieutenant in 1958, Powell played a role in major conflicts throughout the late 20th century from the Vietnam War to Operation Desert Storm, rising in rank to four-star general.
In 1989, he became the first African-American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 2001, President George W. Bush named him secretary of state, the first African-American to serve in this role.
A highly decorated soldier, Powell received two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the Legion of Merit, and the Purple Heart.
His other professional awards include the Liberty Medal, the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award, and an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
Powell has written several books, including 2012’s best-selling “It Worked for Me,” which details lessons from his personal life and career.