An otherworldly gift

A new stamp honoring visionary author Ursula K. Le Guin, the 33rd in USPS’s Literary Arts series, was dedicated July 27 in a ceremony at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon.

Le Guin wrote prodigiously in several genres — including short stories, essays, poetry and translations — but was best known for her pioneering science fiction.

“Ursula once said she wanted to see science fiction step over the old walls of convention and hit right into the next wall — and start to break it down, too,” said Joseph Corbett, the Postal Service’s chief financial officer and one of the speakers at the ceremony.

“She felt the ideas represented in her fiction could help people become more aware of other ways to do things, other ways to be and to help people wake up.”

In many ways, Le Guin saw her work as combining science with fiction, or the analytical with the intuitive: “Both directions strike me as becoming more and more sterile the farther you follow them,” she told the New Yorker magazine.

“It’s when they can combine that you get something fertile and living and leading forward.”

The California native lived for more than half a century in the same house in Portland. She felt a deep kinship with the state. She and her husband also owned a ranch in Oregon’s high desert.

Corbett was joined at the ceremony by the author’s granddaughter, India Downes-Le Guin; Linda Long of the University of Oregon Libraries; Amy Wang, a columnist with The Oregonian; and arts writer Martha Ullman West.

The 95-cent stamp depicts a scene from Le Guin’s breakthrough novel “The Left Hand of Darkness” with her portrait, based on a 2006 photograph, superimposed.

Donato Giancola was the artist for the stamp and Antonio Alcalá was the art director.

The stamps are for use on 3-ounce letters and will always be valid for that weight. They can be purchased at Post Offices and usps.com.

Opportunity spotter

A Postal Service employee’s conversation with a business customer has led to a shipping deal worth nearly $12.4 million for the organization.

After talking with the customer, who sells products through various websites, Grand Prairie, TX, Postmaster Roy Russell submitted a lead through Business Connect.

This program allows Postmasters, managers and customer services supervisors to initiate discussions with customers about USPS products and services.

Jenny Yoo, a Texas 1 District business development specialist; Sharon Tran, a field sales representative; and Royce Phillips, a business alliances manager, followed up with the customer.

They closed a shipping deal worth $12,353,625 in new estimated annualized revenue for the Postal Service.

The Postal Service has designated August as Business Connect Month. Sales generated from Business Connect leads will count toward the USPS Power of One campaign to raise revenue through sales leads from employees.

“Roy is stellar example of a Postmaster who takes the time to talk with his customers and spot opportunities where USPS can help them,’” said Dorothy Muir, small-business sales program specialist at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, DC. “His customer is now getting better service and saving money, while boosting the Postal Service’s bottom line.”

The Postal Service is encouraging as many workers as possible to submit at least one lead through any of its six employee lead programs by Sept. 30.

The Small Business Sales team is tracking program participation rates through its weekly “Drive to 35” downloadable report. Additionally, the team is publishing a weekly Business Connect Month report in August that shows how districts are meeting their targets for the program.

The Small Business and Lead Generation Programs Blue page has more information about Business Connect and the other employee lead programs: Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

Spring Into Motion

The USPS Health and Wellness team recently participated in a six-week challenge that demonstrated how small steps can lead to big, positive changes.

The Spring Into Motion challenge, conducted in cooperation with Kaiser Permanente, ran from April 5-May 14.

The challenge encouraged healthy behaviors by allowing participants to discover something new about spring each week.

Eight federal agencies participated in Spring Into Motion, with a total of 2,482 participants. The Postal Service had the most overall participants, with more than 800 employees taking part individually or in teams of up to five people.

Employees used the Spring Into Motion website and mobile app to track exercise steps, access healthy recipes, answer trivia questions and support one another on message boards.

The overall winning team was composed of four USPS employees in Cincinnati: Raejean Boggs, Ohio 2 District retail manager; Andrew B. Glancy, Michigan 2 District’s customer relations manager; Charlotte N. Morrow, a customer relations coordinator; and Samantha Routzon, a custodian.

The top three individuals in the challenge also featured Lorraine P. Cook, a Pittsburgh distribution supervisor, who placed second.

Employees interested in learning more about Spring Into Motion or in participating in a future challenge should send an email to healthandwellness@usps.gov.