Jackie Strange

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Jackie Strange

Jackie Strange joined the Post Office Department as a temporary clerk in 1946 while still in college. She worked her way up through the system, often as the first women in her managerial positions. Rising from work as a temporary clerk, she was promoted to postmaster, then acting manager of mail operations, followed by a number of regional and district management positions, as assistant postmaster general in procurement and supply, regional postmaster general for the southern region, and finally, as deputy postmaster general in 1985. As deputy postmaster general, she served in the “No. 2 job in the U.S. Postal Service,”1 from 1985 until her retirement in 1987, “managing the world’s largest non-civilian workforce of 800,000 and a $32 billion budget.”2 Her efforts to advance women were so effective that the Australian Postmaster General invited her to help him improve the status of women in the Australian postal service.

Strange has received numerous awards both inside and outside the Postal Service for her success. A short list of her honors include the first graduate of her alma mater, Georgia Southern University, to receive its Honorary Doctorate Degree. She has received the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Postmasters General Award for Excellence.

Listen to Jackie Strange Discuss Her Postal Career:

Jackie Strange on being a role model for other women.

Jackie Strange: I think that it was just a wonderful experience for me because as you already know I was the first woman in practically all of these positions and it was just a wonderful experience for me. And I think that it just [pauses] and sometimes it humbled me to feel that that I was that I was the first woman to be in that position. But it also it made me want to achieve so much more for the other women because I realized that I was a role model for the other women and I wanted I wanted to work so hard so that I could be an example for them and so that I could prove to them that if I could achieve that, then they could achieve it for themselves. And I wanted them to know that they also could achieve that position if I could do it then they could do it too.

Jackie Strange talks about helping to make opportunities for other women.

Jackie Strange: I worked with them [women] and as I was promoted to positions I really worked hard to identify other women as I went along to identify those who I thought showed that they had capabilities of being managers and I always would look around and would find those that I thought qualified to be managers and I would give them the opportunity to uh, and I would talk to them and if I felt that they really proved, to me, that they had those capabilities, I would put them in positions. And if they then proved that they really had managerial qualities then I would put them in jobs, and if they proved then that they had experience, or they had capabilities, then I would put them in positions so that they then could move on up in their careers. And it was always so rewarding to see the people that I had identified as having manager capabilities, to see them move on up in their careers. There were so many of them that really proved to me that they were quite capable of becoming great managers and I saw so many of them just flourish then, and really became great managers as they moved along in their careers. And that to me was one of the my greatest pleasures as I moved on up in my career. To see those people who were sort of sitting aside and didn’t have the opportunity, no one had given the opportunity to find someone and then I would give them opportunity and they would just would become really great managers. I can think of several right now that come to mind and they just became really great managers, and that I think was one of my greatest joys, was seeing those women you know become know really great managers and an asset to the postal service.

Jackie Strange acknowledges the first man who hired her for a managerial position.

Jackie Strange: I know that this was one of the reasons why he lost his job, because he appointed me to this managerial position. And it was sad, because back in those days the men, they were you know, they didn’t have courage enough to give women managerial jobs and he had the courage to do that and then when he did it he was fired from his job.

Jackie Strange talks about balancing work and family.

Jackie Strange: It was very sad because when my children were 9 and 5 my husband was committed to a mental institution then, so I only had my two sons and so I reared them as a single parent and so sometimes it was pretty hard. Because I tried to be mother and father to them and still tried to be a career person at the same time. But I worked very hard at trying to give them the time that I wanted to give to them to be a mother and a father to them and still give enough time to my job to do a good job there. It was very difficult to give time enough to both and do a good job at both. But fortunately I didn’t need much sleep, I was only, I slept three to four hours a night, so therefore I was able to spend a lot of time with my sons and then do my housework and do a spend a lot of time with them and then do my job all the things I needed to do for my job. And I always felt that God made me a person who didn’t need much sleeping time so that I could devote a lot of time to my kids and then still have enough time for my job.

Jackie Strange talks about her managerial style.

Jackie Strange: I think that one of the things that I would like to say to the women who want to be leaders and who want to be managers is that one of the most important things is that you have to be, you have to have a passion for your work. That is so important. And then I was thinking about some things I wanted to say to you about being a leader. A leader is one who gets results and they get results though your people. And you get results through your leader by creating an environment of truth and ethics and integrity.

Jackie Strange talks about her managerial style.

Jackie Strange: You can measure a person by the kind of power that they have. You know, you don’t lord power over people and the people there at the Postal Service there in headquarters, you know I treated people the same, the people in the, you know, in the lowest levels and the people who were my peers I treated everyone the same and they all knew that. And that’s the way you get jobs done. You treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of what their job is, and they know, you can’t pretend to be someone and they not know who you are and how you feel about them. And I would say to the women who are coming along who come along, you know. is treat people with respect and dignity. And then another thing is take advantage of everything there is for you to learn. Because regardless of whether you think that is going to help you today or help you tomorrow you can never learn too much because knowledge is power. If you think that is not going to be important today, it may be important to you tomorrow, and just take advantage of everything you can because knowledge is power.


1 “Woman Named to N. 2 Postal Service Job,” The Washington Post, January 9, 1985. p. A19.

2 Strange, Jackie. “Jackie Anderson Strange.”