Internal Audit to Sustainability: Sarah Peterson’s Career at L&P

From taking on new responsibilities to learning new skills, our team members have shown dedication and commitment to their careers. This month, we’re sharing some of their stories related to professional growth.

Sarah Peterson started her career with L&P in July 2017 as an intern in Internal Audit. In December 2017, she joined the Internal Audit team full-time. She progressed within the department in various roles, most recently serving as the Fraud and Due Diligence Supervisor, where she investigated complaints from our Ethics Hotline.

In September, Sarah made a career transition and was promoted to Program Manager of the Sustainability team. Leaving the Internal Audit team and moving to a new department and role was bittersweet but exciting.

“Internal Audit was my home – I met my husband and some of my best friends there. I loved who I worked for and saying ‘goodbye’ was emotionally tolling. When I was asked to help the Sustainability team, I knew it was time to fly. I had gained so much knowledge and experience, and it was time to share it. I’ve been able to point back to systems, people, processes, and skillsets that I was privy to during my time with Internal Audit. I’m so thankful it was my foundation – the exposure and opportunities are unparalleled.”

In her new role, Sarah is helping to assist and strengthen L&P’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) processes to make them more consistent and reliable.

“I’ve been enjoying learning about things such as greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint, as well as being behind the scenes of our Sustainability Report and working on compliance efforts pertaining to ESG regulations. I have never been busier!”

Looking back at her career, Sarah credits her willingness to step up and take on tasks as a catalyst for her professional growth.

“I’ve never waited for someone to ask me to do something. If I see that a need exists, whether it be a task, a project, help of some kind – I do it. I’ve always raised my hand, especially regarding cross-functional projects or opportunities that allow me to work with those I don’t normally get to. I’ve made many friendships and connections this way.”

Sarah hopes her journey inspires others to embrace change and pursue their goals.

“We all know growth happens within the discomfort. Have the confidence to know what you bring to the table, but also, and sometimes more importantly, the humility to know when you don’t have it all figured out. Ask the questions, offer insight, and remember we are all trying to get through life. Be kind.”

In life, Sarah’s most important title is mom. When she isn’t volunteering for the Women’s Employee Resource Group or working on sustainability goals, she spends time with her two-year-old son, Tuck.

“He is the craziest little boy, and I love every second of this climbing, bouncing, jumping, giggling, ‘mom-watch’ phase.”

Full Circle: Leonard Ruggiero’s Career at L&P

From taking on new responsibilities to learning new skills, our team members have shown dedication and commitment to their careers. This month, we’re sharing some of their stories related to professional growth.

Leonard Ruggiero began his career at L&P in 1992, first in a temporary role, before becoming a packing machine operator full-time at Hanes Industries in Conover, North Carolina. Throughout the years, Leonard took advantage of every opportunity to change jobs and learn new skills, including running each machine, working in shipping and receiving, and even participating in a supervisor training program.

In 2007, Leonard became a Program Manager at Hanes Geo in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he collaborated with the Idea Center and other partners to develop more efficient machine processes. After ten years, he took on the role of National Integration, overseeing all branch moves from start to finish, including implementing and training on all systems during acquisitions, as well as training new team members.

Today, Leonard is back where his journey began over 30 years ago at Hanes Industries in Conover, serving as the Plant Manager. In this role, Leonard has had the opportunity to reconnect with many of the people he worked with for 17 years on machines, in the warehouse, and management.

“Bringing the skills and tools I have learned over the years to an established team like we have in Conover is a great part of this role. We have always had a great team here, and leading them is a privilege.”

Throughout his career at Leggett, Leonard has had many mentors who helped guide him and craft his growth and belief in himself, including Jerry Greene, Samantha Howell, Bruce Cloninger, Guy Ruff, Brett Graff, and Zach Cox. He credits these mentors for believing in him and wanting him to succeed. They also instilled many lessons in him, but the advice that resonated most was fairness.

“My mentors told me that if you are fair across the board, you will sleep well at night. Making decisions that can impact people or businesses is hard, and if your goal is to be fair, you will find those choices a lot easier.”

Looking back at his career, Leonard offers this advice to those contemplating a move within Leggett:

“Put in the work with care and dedication, trust your knowledge, and listen to your mentors. For me, self-doubt was a barrier I had to break through, and I learned after many years that our team does not give opportunities to people they don’t feel are ready. I also realized that mentoring never stops, and I have been trying to pay it forward to those around me.”

In his personal life, Leonard loves spending time with his wife of 30 years and his 16-year-old daughter. He is a coach and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor, and when he’s not working on cars, he is trying to publish his second book.

Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day. This day is about spreading positivity and kindness in the world. It is a day to remind us that we put people first by doing simple acts of kindness for others, whether it’s sharing a smile, paying a compliment, or offering a helping hand.

Today and every day is a great day to be kind. Watch how it makes you happier and inspires those around you!

Meet Carl Terry, Lead Person

During February, we’re inviting our colleagues to share about their roles, what their proud of, and what Black History Month means to them.

Meet Carl Terry! Carl is a Lead Person at one of our Elite Comfort Solutions (ECS) branches and has been with us for three years.

Tell us about work.

I am responsible for ensuring our packing production runs smoothly while maximizing productivity. I really enjoy working with my coworkers every day. We all come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives, which contributes to the quality of our work.

What are you most proud of?

My family.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month is a time to acknowledge the tribulations we have come through and recognize those who have pushed through those boundaries, allowing us to enjoy a better quality of life.

Efficiency and Safety: Bill Jiang’s Career at L&P

From taking on new responsibilities to learning new skills, our colleagues have shown dedication and commitment to their careers. This month, we’re sharing some of their stories related to professional growth.

Bill Jiang has been with L&P for more than 20 years and was one of the first three employees who helped build the riveting line when our branch in Jiaxing, China, was established in 2002. Throughout his career, Bill has been a champion of continuous improvement and keeping his colleagues safe. His it’s-never-too-late-to-learn attitude helped him take advantage of many training opportunities at L&P.

In 2006, Bill was working as a shift leader and underwent training to optimize the riveting line. After returning from training, the riveting line exceeded the daily capacity limit of 3,000 pieces. A year later, Bill became the supervisor of the riveting line, and under his leadership, riveting efficiency increased by 33%. He received “Excellent Employee” and “Excellent Shift Leader” awards many times.

In 2012, Bill became the production manager of the riveting line. In this role, he took managed more riveting lines, addressed capacity challenges, and supported staff management. His local government in Jiaxing recognized him as one of the “Outstanding Employees of Xiuzhou District.”

In 2018, Bill became the Senior Manager of the Production Department, becoming responsible for all production lines and for environmental health and safety. Two years later, Bill was promoted to Director of the Production Department, which is his current role. During his leadership, he has implemented many safety improvements, such as installing infrared foot pedals at the riveting lines to reduce finger-related work injuries, and was granted the “Advanced Safety Management Award” by his government in 2022.

We’re excited to see where Bill goes from here!

Happy Lunar New Year!

The Lunar New Year is a time of new beginnings and joyous celebrations. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future with hope and optimism.

To welcome the Year of the Dragon and thank our dedicated colleagues in China, Sonia Smith, President of L&P Automotive, shared an inspiring Lunar New Year message on behalf of the Automotive Leadership Team. We’d like to share some of it with you:

“As we embrace the Year of the Dragon, let its fiery spirit infuse our endeavors. The dragon symbolizes strength, courage, and transformation. May we channel these qualities as we forge ahead, overcoming obstacles and reaching new heights. Just as the dragon soars across the sky, may our Leggett family soar to greater achievements, fueled by passion and determination.

To our employees and their families, I extend warm wishes for the Lunar New Year. May this year bring prosperity, good health, and joy. May the dragon’s energy ignite fresh ideas, foster collaboration, and illuminate our path. Let us celebrate not only the turning of the lunar calendar but also the turning of our own narratives filled with hope and good health.”

Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year!

L&P Automotive Team Celebrates Pongal

Our Automotive team in India recently celebrated Pongal – a Hindu harvest festival that marks the beginning of the month called Thai and is celebrated by people with ties to Tamil Nadu, India.

Lasting for four days, Pongal involves new beginnings, giving thanks, and strengthening communal ties. Families clean their homes, remove unwanted items, and decorate the entrances of their homes with kolam – beautiful floor patterns created from rice flour. They also gather together for festive meals, which includes boiling pots of pongal – a traditional mix of rice and milk. During the festival, the community honors Surya, the Sun God, and cattle for helping bring a bountiful harvest.

Pugazhendi M.

To celebrate, our colleagues in India gathered for a small pooja (worship ceremony), played games, and created kolam. A couple of our colleagues shared their thoughts on the celebration:

Pugazhendi, Manufacturing Department, said, “I liked participating in our event and was thrilled to win the pot break challenge. Every year during Pongal, L&P gives us time to spend with family, and I’m grateful for that. I’m looking forward to more special events in the future.”

E. Sharath Kumar

E. Sharath Kumar, Manufacturing Department, shared, “Pongal is a fun-packed event that keeps us engaged and united. I had a lot of fun participating in the activities and got second place during one of the games.”

Check out some of the photos from the event below!

Meet Dee Sawyer, Operation Compliance Manager

During February, we’re inviting our colleagues to share about life at Leggett, what they’re proud of, and what Black History Month means to them.

First up, meet Dee Sawyer! Dee – Operation Compliance Manager at Hanes – has been with us for 24 years.

What does a typical day at work look like for you, and what do you enjoy most about your role?

I truly love what I do! I’m usually traveling to another state to ensure branches are following L&P procedures. I travel frequently. Last year, I was gone for half of the year.

I enjoy meeting new people, visiting different branches, and helping others. It’s important for the branches to know that they have support.  

What are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I’ve worked my way up at Hanes. I’ve had 12 positions, starting with a truck loader. I started on second shift as a truck loader and have worked in different departments and through different shifts. Approximately six years ago, I started helping on the integration team by training other branches, helping with branch moves, and assisting with acquisitions. My work ethic was noticed, as I traveled to different branches and the branches started requesting my assistance. I was offered a position on the integration team, and I’ve been advancing ever since!

My advice is to always be true to your work ethic. No matter how discouraged you get or feel your work is being overlooked, be patient because the right people will notice, and your time will come when it should – that’s God’s timing. What’s meant to be will be!

What does Black History Month mean to you?

For me, it’s a celebration of everything we overcame and will overcome. It’s recognizing everyone who’s made a difference to get us to where we are today. It’s a month that reminds me to continue letting my light shine bright through adversity.  

Careers & Professional Growth at L&P

At L&P, we offer a world of opportunity, employing thousands of individuals around the globe – from maintenance mechanics to IT specialists, office administrators to welders, marketing specialists to engineers, and everything in between.

Our Learning & Development team creates in-house training on subjects like front-line supervisor essentials, how to manage conflict in the workplace, and many others. We also have a Learning and Leadership internal site that features regularly updated tools, resources, and live training.

From taking on new responsibilities to learning new skills, our colleagues have shown dedication and commitment to their careers. This month on L&P social media, we’ll highlight some of their personal stories of professional growth.

Looking for a new opportunity and a place to grow? Join us today!

Resources for Black History Month

Black history is American history, and every year in February, the U.S. celebrates Black History Month – a time dedicated to ensuring the stories, achievements, and voices of Black Americans do not fade into the background. In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to share a few resources and events you can attend to learn more about Black history and achievements.

Since 1928, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has assigned an annual theme to Black History Month. This year’s theme is African Americans and the Arts, which focuses on how Black Americans have contributed to and influenced fields like literature, film, performing arts, music, and more. ASALH will host a virtual festival for Black History Month, which you can learn more about here: Black History Month Virtual Festival.

To learn more about Black history and culture, check out the following sites: