The Atlanta Daily World’s Women Who Win Series features women who continue to impact the culture through a myriad of contributions across all sectors of society. Their groundbreaking accomplishments have changed the nation and inspired women around the world to become game-changers in bringing the promise of equality and excellence to fruition.
One of those delivering on that promise is Falonda Woods, Atlanta’s first Black woman Postmaster General.
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” – The Mail Carriers’ Creed
That mission statement is an apparent blueprint for achievement for Atlanta Postmaster General Falonda Woods, but in the case of this ambitious civil servant “neither racial discrimination, gender bias nor lack of diversity …” would deter her from achieving her goal of becoming a postmaster general and delivering opportunities and fairness in treatment to postal employees.
Falonda Woods is a self-assured leader who continues to pursue her course in the hierarchy of government agencies with confidence and class. The 23-year postal employee and former mail carrier has achieved a feat that only ?? black women have achieved in the nation’s history. But Woods, the first Black female postmaster general for the Atlanta Region is accustomed to covering new territory in her exemplary career.
Although she admits the journey has been fraught with starts and stops and at times overt discriminatory practices, Woods remained determined to navigate the bureaucratic maze. So she doubled down, dug her heels in, and committed to making it through the course and share her path to achievement with other rank and file members of the postal service.
“This has been a complex journey getting here. My career started out as a letter carrier in Fort Arthur Texas. I went from Fort Artur to Orange Texas as a carrier and I ultimately transferred out to Arkansas as a carrier,” explains Woods who got her shot at leadership in Arkansas.
“I believe you have your own charge in life. I started out in [Arkansas] as a safety specialist. I had [young] children at the time and I wanted to make sure that they were all taken care of before I started this venture into leadership and committed myself to other things … From there things just really opened up for me,” Woods explained.
“The journey was complex because my initial quest to be in leadership was … denied. And it was very hurtful initially to have those doors closed because I knew I had the abilities and the skill set to [perform the job]. So, when I finally got the opportunity to get into management, I had to really dig deep and work extra hard to prove that I was worthy of the position and those roles.”
Woods began her career with the US Postal Service in 1999, but had to beat at the doors and break through barriers for the next 14 years to get into a management position in 2013.
But since then, the things that she has been able to accomplish from her initial foray into management have been of immense benefit and her service has proven to be exemplary.
In Tyler Texas, Willis was the first African American woman postmaster out of 41 postmasters in the region and she readily offers that it was a groundbreaking and humbling experience. “Just to have that opportunity to serve the American public, but also to provide representation for our people was extremely important says the working mother of two boys.
In the world in general, people don’t know what they don’t know and they tend to do what they are comfortable and that makes [work advancement] more challenging. I want to help them understand and realize that we are very capable. I have always taken on the more difficult work and that is what it takes. We have to step up to that plateau and prove ourselves and justify ourselves in those jobs and roles to succeed, that’s the real challenge,” Woods concluded.
Woods has also served as the postmaster fort Fort Worth, Texas and Tyler Texas. As Postmaster for the Aytlanta Region she is responsible for all mail operations in