Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Plano on Thursday, sharing leadership advice and his views on current issues at the 4th Anniversary Luncheon of the Collin County Business Alliance (CCBA).
Powell said business leaders should give their employees a “sense of purpose” and put more focus on the individuals working beneath them.
“The lowest person in any organization is as important, in a sense, as you are,” he said.
He also said leaders should not be dependent on their own knowledge but should take time to learn from those around them.
Powell said he’s still learning as he travels to speak at events around the country.
“I learn so much from the different audiences I speak to,” he said.
Powell, who served as secretary of state in the administration of President George W. Bush from 2001 until 2005, said he doesn’t plan on returning to government or politics soon. He currently focuses on speaking engagements as well as education, serving as chair of the Board of Visitors for the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, located at the City College of New York.
“I’m still as busy as I’ve ever been,” he said. “But it’s just a different kind of busy.”
Powell also discussed his views on current events, including the upcoming presidential election — and, specifically, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
He said the media has played a role in increasing Trump’s popularity, comparing Trump’s personality and unabashed comments to reality television.
“I don’t think Donald Trump will get the nomination,” he said.
Powell, a retired U.S. Army general, also spoke briefly about the Islamic State, saying the key to fighting the militant group is to train indigenous forces.
Powell spoke at the Capital One Conference Center for the CCBA’s fourth anniversary celebration, which had about 400 attendees, including CCBA members, event sponsors and government officials. Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell and Texas State Sen. Van Taylor were among officials in attendance.
CCBA Chairman Sanjiv Yajnik said it’s important for business leaders to be aware of the issues facing the nation and their local communities.
Encouraging businesspeople to vote is one of the CCBA’s goals, he said.
The CCBA is a group of Collin County business leaders who meet regularly to discuss business and government issues, along with ways businesses can assist government leaders in bringing aboiut change. The group has about 60 member businesses.