Jo Ellen Powell, a career member of the Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, joined the Foreign Service in January 1980. Following language and consular training, she was posted to Amman, Jordan, in September 1980. Upon completion of her assignment in Amman in June 1982, she served in the Department of State’s Operations Center. In June 1983, she was assigned to Embassy Beirut, where she served as an Economic-Commercial Officer.
Ms. Powell’s next assignment was as general services officer at Embassy Rome, 1985-89. Upon completion of that assignment, she served as a post management officer in the European Bureau Executive Office from 1989-91, then as supervisory general services officer at Embassy Paris from 1992 to 1995. She returned to the European Bureau Executive Office, where she served as supervisory post management officer for one year prior to be selected to serve as the Deputy Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat, Office of the Secretary. In 1998 she was assigned to U.S. Embassy Canberra, Australia, as Management Counselor. She returned to the Department in 2001, serving as Director of the Office of Employee Relations in the Human Resources Bureau from 2001 – 2004. Ms. Powell served as Executive Director of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2004-2006, and as Consul General at the US Consulate General, Frankfurt, 2006-2009.
Ms. Powell grew up in a Foreign Service family, living in Panama, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, and Laos. She joined the State Department in 1976, working as a civil servant in the Passport Office and later in the Bureau of Personnel and the Foreign Service Institute. Ms. Powell is the recipient of numerous Department awards, including the Luther Replogle Award for Management Improvement, for which she was a co-recipient in 2005. Ms. Powell speaks French, German, and Italian, and has studied Arabic.