Barbados’ first female Postmaster General, Margaret Ashby, is being praised for breaking the glass ceiling and setting an example for women across the country in achievement and change management, as her business enterprise transitions amid stern challenges.
Ashby, an alumna of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, was congratulated on her elevation by members of the UWI Alumni Association, led by President Philip Chandler, who recently paid her a visit.
A graduate of Springer Memorial, Ashby believes her university education, where she gained a first degree in Computer Science and Management, and a Masters in Natural Resources Management with specialty in Climate Change, helped set her on her current path.
The Postmaster General said despite the differences in the programmes, the knowledge she acquired assisted her in representing Barbados as chair of Committee 4 (Cooperation and Development) of the Council of Administration at the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in Berne, Switzerland.
The Universal Postal Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations, responsible for postal matters. With the knowledge gained from the Masters programme, Ashby said she was better able to contribute to discussions in the Sustainable Development Project Group, one of the groups falling under Committee 4.
Speaking about the current state of the postal service and her plans, she acknowledged that technology and private courier services are posing ongoing challenges, with an increasing number of individuals and businesses utilizing electronic forms of messaging such as WhatsApp and Skype. Furthermore, businesses have also been trying to lure customers into opting for E-billing, she said.
With the shift in e-commerce activity, Ashby said there has been an influx of parcels and packets from nontraditional markets such as Japan, Singapore and India.
To remain competitive, the Postmaster General said the post office introduced services such as online visa applications, assistance in the setting up of Barbados Passport appointments, and filing of Income Tax and shopping online.
She said customers also have the option of paying their bills through the electronic bill payment service, while businesses and individuals can access the Direct Mail Service that offers more affordable targeted advertising by way of flyers, brochures or samples.