Colin Powell's keynote speeches draw on his extensive military background. Powell is best known for serving as the United States Secretary of State under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam war. There he was wounded and received the purple heart and a bronze star for his service. He would go on to receive eleven military accommodations in his career.
Powell then attended George Washington University and won a White House fellowship. He served the Office of Management and Budget. In 1987, Powell became a national security adviser and testified in front of congress regarding the Iran-Contra Affair.
By the 1990s, Powell chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President Bush and went on to be appointed the Secretary of State in 2000. Powell was the first African American to hold this position in the history of the United States.