General Colin Powell Shares Leadership Lessons Learned from…Yes, Parking
In the August cover story of The Parking Professional magazine, the former U.S. Secretary of State attributes some of the important life lessons he’s learned to parking people
(FREDERICKSBURG, VA – July 30, 2012) According to former U.S. Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, parking attendants are part of the infrastructure of a building and fulfill a critical mission that impacts executives who work at the highest levels.
In his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, and in an exclusive interview with The Parking Professional magazine, Powell singles out lessons learned from conversations he had with parking attendants to exemplify his wisdom from decades of leadership, including his position as U.S. National Security Advisor from 1987 to 1989, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993, and his key role in the Bush Cabinet.

Speaking about driving into his office parking garage, Powell said: “You look out the window and see another human being who has the same kinds of dreams and anxieties and fears and hopes you have,” he says. “By smiling and saying ‘Good morning,’ and ‘How are you?’ you bond with that individual and are saying you’ll help that person. I assure you that parking attendant will smile back, which says ‘I’m going to help you, too.'”
When parking attendants and other professionals elevate their jobs above the mundane, they reveal their “real purpose,” which, in Powell’s example, is to get 500 people to their offices on time. “I would line up everybody in the garage and say, ‘This building doesn’t get started until we get our job done… efficiently,'” he says. “‘We need to master getting cars into tight spaces, smile at everyone…and let people know that we’re here to help and we want to get you in as fast as we can.'”
The Powell interview appears in its entirety as the cover feature of the August issue of The Parking Professional, the monthly trade publication which the Wall Street Journal has dubbed “the bible of the parking industry.”
Notes Editor Kim Fernandez, who spoke with Powell, “He was very gracious and we had an absolutely delightful conversation. I think our readers will agree that his lessons are invaluable for all of us.” Powell also has contributed to the Parking MattersĀ® blog which can be viewed here.
While parking attendants and parking enforcement officers are the most visible members of the $30 billion parking industry, the term “parking professional” is typically used to define those with parking expertise in transportation, urban planning, public policy, management, architecture, and engineering who contribute to comprehensive transportation and mobility solutions.

The International Parking Institute is the world’s largest association representing parking professionals and the parking industry. Learn more at
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(Editors: High-resolution photo available upon request)

Media Contact:
Helen Sullivan
International Parking Institute
703.606.7622 (mobile)