Bridget Rice

Executive at USPS

Bridget Rice has served in multiple senior director roles at the United States Postal Service. In her current role, she provides strategic direction for the development, implementation, and ongoing improvement of transportation procurement and logistics strategies necessary to reduce costs and
improve the delivery network. She grew up in the Washington, DC area in Upper Marlboro, MD. For hobbies Bridget Rice is very passionate about traveling internationally and participating in adventure sports like scuba diving, repelling, skiing, etc. and also just signed up for classes to get her personal pilot’s license.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

To be honest, I didn’t think I wanted to be an executive. I was happy as an individual contributor. I didn’t think I would like managing people. I had a great boss, Karen, who is still my mentor today, that pushed me into my first executive leadership role. It was definitely a big adjustment at first, but I have found it to be very rewarding. I enjoy getting to set the strategy and make improvements that ultimately made work life easier and more meaningful for my employees. I have now been an executive for almost a decade and I couldn’t be more grateful to Karen for seeing what I didn’t see and helping me grow into the role.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

In my world, there is no typical day. In my current role, I am leading a digital transformation effort to create an integrated digital platform for logistics performance and visibility. As far as what I do to try to make my day productive…I’ve gotten a lot better at declining meeting requests. You have to know which ones are important and which ones to delegate or pass on attending. It’s easy to get into “meeting jail” and miss the critical parts of your job like taking time to plan and develop strategy. Part of this means ensuring that my team feels empowered to make decisions without me.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Identify what is important to your stakeholders/customers and ensure that is the key point(s) in your narrative. Ensure they understand why your idea matters and how it benefits them.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Remote work opens up a whole new talent pool of employees that was previously not available.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I hire smart people and empower them to make decisions.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Enjoy the journey. All the hard days are meant to shape you and who you will become. They also teach you to be more accepting of others. You never know what someone is going through in their personal life.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Stop multi-tasking and be present in the moment. People are inundated with information these days. We have phones, laptops, tablets, and so many other things. Turn off your alerts. Don’t have new emails, text alerts, etc. pop up when you’re in meetings with your team members. They are distracting and you miss important information. Instead, block off some time during the day to check and answer emails, texts, etc.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Meet with your direct reports on a regular basis and don’t just get work updates, get life updates. Check in on their mental health, family, upcoming travel plans, etc. Make sure to get to know them as people vs. just as employees. Learn what motivates them and then shape your behaviors to inspire and encourage them to be their best. People work harder for companies where they feel valued, empowered, and inspired.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Treating employees as people first. Especially in companies like mine, where people have long careers, they are going to go through periods of highs and lows. They are going to have tragic things happen to them. During those times, it’s especially important that you support them. If they were a top performer for you, they will be so again, and likely even more so now that they understand that you actually care about them as people.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest mistake I made when I first became an executive was not taking the time to get to know the employees that worked under my direct reports. I didn’t walk around in the mornings at the office because I wasn’t sure I knew everyone’s name and I didn’t want them to be offended that I got it wrong. I was lucky enough to have one of them tell me that by me not walking around and socializing, I was seen by many as standoffish and stuck up. Now when I’m in the office, I walk around almost every morning and socialize. When we fully remote for two years during COVID, I scheduled one-on-one zoom calls with every employee (130 at the time) in my organization to check in on them, catch up, and ensure that I stayed in touch with their concerns, questions, etc.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Whatever you are passionate about, turn it into a a business and you will be bound to success.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

My membership to Scott’s Cheap Flights. They have a team of people (not just web programs) that search for airline deals and email them to you based on your specifications for origin/destination airports. I’ve been a member for a few years now and am grandfathered under $60 per year for the subscription. I’ve booked great deals to included $298 round trip to Paris, $550 roundtrip to Tahiti, $595 roundtrip to South Africa, and so many more.
My philosophy is work hard, play harder. I would rather spend money on experiences over things. I haven’t had a car payment in years, have a very reasonable mortgage, max out my 401K each year and invest in the stock market, but any extra money that I have goes towards travel, adventure, and experiences.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love youtube. I am a youtube red subscriber because I stream music every morning when I work out. I also use youtube to learn new things. For instance, I am currently watching videos on things you need to know to get your personal pilot’s license. One of the things that I didn’t think about that I learned from youtube is that you have to learn a whole new language for radio communication with the air towers. It’s a wealth of information.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Marilee Adams.
It challenges leaders to think differently about the way the approach problems and hold discussions with their employees. It teaches you to identify a “judger” mindset and use question thinking to switch into a “learner” mindset in order to be a more effective problem solver.

What is your favorite quote?

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” -Babe Ruth As a kid, I was shy and afraid to ask for what I wanted. Over the years, I’ve learned that if you don’t ask, then the answer is always “no.” Don’t let fear of failing or embarrassment keep you from pursuing your passions, interests, or goals.

Key Learnings:

  • There are great benefits in remote work
  • Hiring people has a great payoff
  • Enjoy the journey and be present in the moment