When Providence Postmaster Jeanne Jackson looks out her office window in the morning, she sees roughly 100 Postal Service trucks leaving the parking lot to make deliveries. Jackson has worked in the Postal Service for 36 years and has served as Providence’s Postmaster since 2019. Out of the 31 postmasters, Providence has employed over the years, Jackson is the first female to hold the position.
Jackson oversees 159,723 delivery points within the 029 Zip Code area. There are 264 city routes and 20 rural routes under the City of Providence territory, and Jackson has 544 employees under her. Eight delivery offices and 16 retail units report to her.
Jackson grew up in Warwick and after graduating Toll Gate High School her dad – who served as a letter carrier and made his way up to Superintendent of Postal Operations of the Elmwood Post Office before retiring – suggested she take the test to be a postal worker. Jackson took the exam three times and came away with almost perfect scores on each occasion. A year after the exam, the Postal Service contacted her and she began her career as a letter carrier in 1985.
“At first I was scared. When I started it was a lot of men and there weren’t a lot of females in the Postal Service,” Jackson said, who now resides in Johnston. “I never ventured out to Providence, and I started in Providence.”
As a letter carrier, Jackson said you watch the community’s families, kids and businesses grow.
“When you start delivering mail to a customer, you see them through all the stages,” she said.
Jackson went on to meet the love of her life, Tony, at work, but he unfortunately passed away 10 years ago in a car accident. During her decades of experience, there aren’t many positions Jackson hasn’t filled. After 13 years in the industry, Jackson transitioned to the administrative side of the Postal Service where she pursued roles in accounting and management. Her career took her throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts and she has served as postmaster of Warwick and the first female postmaster of Franklin, Massachusetts.
Jackson was selected as Providence postmaster in 2019 and competed for the position against a number of individuals from in state and out of state. After a two and a half hour interview, Jackson learned she received the position two days later. She said her family was proud of her and was present during her swearing in ceremony at the Agawam Hunt Country Club.
While working in the Postal Service, Jackson went to school at night and earned an accounting degree from Bryant University and a teaching degree from Johnson and Wales University.
She said one of her favorite parts of the job is community outreach, such as visiting schools and teaching students about the Postal Service or giving back to businesses that do excellent service to the community; Jackson will visit Hugh B. Bain Middle School and Hope Highlands Middle School this month.
She likes seeing workers rise through the ranks and is their biggest supporter.
“I always tell my people you have to be fair, truthful and honest,” Jackson said.
Jackson has also seen a lot change after three decades in the industry.
“Everything was manual operations,” Jackson said. “Then machines came in and started sorting mail.”
Computers arrived by the mid to late 80s and vehicles transitioned from jeeps to long life vehicles (LLVs). Jackson said there will be a new vehicle by the end of 2023 which she described as looking “almost like a space mobile” with more windows and shelves for packages.
“If you work in the Postal Service you gotta be able to go with change and like change,” Jackson said. “Change is happening every day.”
Even when Jackson clocks out for the night, she is still on call.
“When I go home for the night, my job’s not over,” Jackson said, mentioning that her phone is on 24/7 in case she needs to be reached.
There have been a handful of times when Jackson has received a late night call. When she was the postmaster in Franklin, Massachusetts, a fire broke out at night next to the post office and blew out the building’s windows. Jackson had to go over and make sure things were alright.
To say Jackson’s family was a postal family is not an exaggeration. Clifford, her dad, began his career in 1960 and retired in the early 1990s. Her sister Karen Ritchie worked in the Postal Service as a Sales and Service Associate and retired two years ago. Her brother Clifford worked as a compliance analyst and her mother, Margaret, served as a telephone operator.
Jackson said the Postal Service is always looking to hire hardworking individuals. For more information, visit usps.com/careers.
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