Nfld. & Labrador

From St. John's to the Royal Mail: Moya Greene picks up honorary degree from MUN

Moya Greene, a St. John's native and the CEO of Britain's Royal Mail, has been awarded an honorary degree from Memorial University.

Moya Greene, who grew up in St. John's, is one of Britain's most powerful executives

Moya Greene spoke to new graduates at a convocation ceremony in St. John's on Tuesday. (Memorial University)

Moya Greene, a St. John's native and the woman in charge of Britain's Royal Mail, has been awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

The powerful executive, who has ascended the ranks of corporate Canada and is now the first non-Briton and female CEO of the United Kingdom's mail service, received the degree on Tuesday at a convocation ceremony in St. John's.

As CEO of the Royal Mail, Moya Greene has brushed shoulders with British royalty — literally. (Submitted )
Greene sat down with the CBC's Debbie Cooper to discuss her far-reaching career and offer advice to 2017's new batch of graduates.

"I hope that they manage to not wobble when the path gets a bit rockier, as it inevitably will, and just rely on a sense of humour to stand up for whatever they think is important," she said.

Began career in public service

Greene, who turns 63 on June 10, has a bachelor of arts degree from Memorial University and later studied law at Osgoode Hall at York University in Toronto.

She began her career in public service before ending up at Transport Canada, where among other things, she helped play a role in reforming Canada's transportation system — privatizing CN Rail and deregulating the Canadian airline industry.

Moya Greene says she learned many useful lessons growing up in Newfoundland and attending Memorial University that have served her well throughout her career. (CBC)

In 2005, Greene became the chief executive officer of Canada Post before travelling across the pond in 2010 to take a job as CEO of Britain's Royal Mail Group. 

She credits her upbringing in Newfoundland and what she learned at MUN with helping her prepare for the business world.

"I was so fortunate to have the family I have, to be reasonably well-educated, to come from this very special place where resilience is bred in the bone." 

Head of Royal Mail

As head of the Royal Mail, a company with more than 100,000 workers, there's no doubt that Greene has shattered a glass ceiling for women in business.

She said she's thankful for the help she's had along the way, including mentors who allowed her to organize her day so she could balance work with motherhood.
Moya Greene is pictured here with at the London Stock Exchange. She helped bring the Royal Mail public in 2013. (© PA)

Though she has a lot of work to do on a day-to-day basis, Greene said she still loves her job.

"Most of the time it doesn't feel like work," she said.

As 2017's graduates leave university, Greene offered one last piece of advice.

"I don't think people should do jobs that they don't think they're going to love," she said. 

"If you get into a job and you don't love it, then you owe it to yourself and the institution or the entity to kind of move along. Go shine your light somewhere else."

With files from Debbie Cooper