Jo Ellen Powell

Jo Ellen Powell is a career member of the United States Foreign Service who served as Consul General in Frankfurt, Germany and was US ambassador to Mauritania. ] She grew up in a Foreign Service family, living in Panama, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, and Laos. Her father, John Millard Powell, oversaw embassy management and logistical support.

Powell earned her B.A. from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, and joined the State Department in 1976 as a civil servant, working in the Passport Office, the Bureau of Personnel and the Foreign Service Institute. She joined the Foreign Service in January 1980 and was posted to Amman, Jordan. In 1982, she served in the Operations Center. In 1983, she returned to the Middle East as an Economic-Commercial Officer in Beirut, Lebanon. From 1985 to 1991 she was a GSO at Rome and then as a post management officer in the EUR/EX. From 1992 to 1995 she was Supervisory General Services Officer at Paris, France,.

In the European Bureau Executive Office, she served as Supervisory Post Management Officer for one year prior to being selected to serve as the Deputy Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat. In 1998 she became Management Counselor in Canberra, Australia. She returned to the Department in 2001, serving as Director of the Office of Employee Relations in the HR, and then as Executive Director of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Prior to being named ambassador to Mauritania she was Consul General in Frankfurt, Germany. Powell speaks French, German, and Italian, and has studied Arabic. She has been married since 1982 to FSO Stephen Engelken. They have one son, John.