Megan Brennan on Friday called the U.S. Postal Service an “indispensable part of the American economy and the everyday lives of the public,” but acknowledged that in a fast-changing digital world, the mail agency needs to “embrace a faster pace of change” and “constantly improve our competitiveness.”

The comments from the 74th postmaster general came during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at Postal Service headquarters at L’Enfant Plaza, where the first woman to lead the agency described mail as the family business growing up in rural Pennsylvania.

Now in her 29th year as a postal employee, Brennan said her family has worked a combined 125 years for USPS, from her father’s 43 years of service to her younger brother’s, who walks a city route in Ashland, Pa.

Brennan officially started in the top job on Feb. 1. She succeeded Patrick Donahoe, who retired to his home base of Pittsburgh.

Brennan, who served as chief operating officer before her promotion, described an organization “that is continually changing.” First-class letters, the bulk of postal business, has been in free-fall for several years, eroding postal revenue by billions of dollars a year. Postal officials are competing aggressively to deliver packages in an era of e-commerce.

“The challenge for the Postal Service is to embrace a faster pace of change,” Brennan said, “to aggressively pursue opportunities, and to constantly improve our competitiveness.”

Here are some of the changes she said she intends to pursue:

  • New vehicle fleet and mail-sorting equipment
  • Better use of data and technology to improve the efficiency of postal operations
  • Improving “speed to value” through innovation and use of data
  • Aggressive pursuit of “marketplace” opportunities.
  • Improved customer service