Welcoming Change: Cari Southern’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.

Cari Southern started at Leggett & Platt 25 years ago in the accounting department of one of our manufacturing facilities. In her ten years at the branch, she served in various roles, with the last few years being the Division Controller. Cari then transferred to Corporate, working on Sales and Operations (S&OP) deployment and then the Customer and Product Profitability (CPP) initiative.

About eight years ago, Cari had the opportunity to become the Segment Controller for the Specialized Products and Furniture segments. In 2018, Cari transferred to the Automotive Business Unit as the Senior Director of Governance. Recently, her role was expanded to include Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP).

As the Senior Director of S&OP and Governance of Automotive, Cari and her team are responsible for rebuilding the sales and operations planning process and maintaining the integrity of the business processes, systems, and master data.

Cari credits her growth over the last 25 years to welcoming the inevitability of change and using those experiences to propel her career.

“Change can be very scary, but things are constantly changing. People are often hesitant to make a change for various reasons; probably the most frequent reasons are being comfortable or fearing you might not like a new opportunity. A mentor told me many years ago that change doesn’t have to be a one-way door – very few changes are something you can’t come back from, and if you dislike what you are doing, you can make another change. New experiences and increased knowledge opens more doors for the future.”

Cari hopes her story inspires others to take chances within Leggett, embrace change, and lean on the people around you who are invested in your success.

“L&P is a diverse, global company – and you can learn a lot working with and in the various business units. The leaders in the company can provide different perspectives and management styles. I have had great leaders who took a chance on me and gave me additional responsibilities that allowed me to excel in new roles. Take a chance on yourself and your development.”

Cari’s busiest and most important role is as a mom. If she is not at L&P, you can find her in her car, transporting her two boys, Chapman, 13, and Colton, 17, to their sporting events and cheering them from the sidelines.