Women and Innovation: Susan Chapman

At L&P, we’re inspired by our colleagues who go above and beyond to enhance our businesses. This month, we’re sharing stories of women at L&P who have improved our products and processes with their creativity and leadership.

We’d like to recognize Susan Chapman, Creative Services Operations Manager! This spotlight of Susan, who has been instrumental in L&P’s adoption and maintenance of technologies during her 44-year career, was written by Paul M. Johnson. They’ve worked together since 2010.


For reasons obvious to her coworkers in Creative Services, one of Susan’s nicknames is “The Oracle.” If you need to connect to a network printer, locate an obscure sales sheet from 1995, or find the phone extension for someone to help with a medical claim, you ask Susan. And no matter how busy she might be, which is always, she’ll have the answer, sometimes before you finish your question.

The Oracle. When there is one person who has this catalog of information – one Susan, in this case – it is often referred to as “tacit knowledge.” It’s the know-how born of experience, which includes knowledge of myriad things not documented in job manuals. It’s critical for the success of companies large and small.

But forget about that. Yes, Susan is a fount of workplace knowledge, absolutely. But that only touches lightly on the benefits she brings to Leggett and everyone she works with.


Susan hasn’t stopped learning and adding skills during her long career. It just wouldn’t be her. She was atop the tech wave before most Leggett coworkers even saw the swell, and she’s stayed up there for more than a quarter century. But, change came slowly.

“When I started, I had a correcting typewriter and a Dictaphone,” Susan says, almost apologetically. “When I did mail merge, it was typing each letter on letterhead with carbon and onionskin paper.”

We’ll pause while you Google that. Soon, the typewriter turned into a desktop computer and the Dictaphone got the memo it was time to go.


In the mid-80s, Susan received the first Apple computer Leggett ever owned, working with graphic designers to create professional-grade design that didn’t require tedious hand sketches. (Macs have always been eons ahead of PCs in term of design capability.)

“I learned how to service and update each Apple computer we’ve had since that initial Mac,” she says, adding that she’d often pull the machines apart and reassemble them for upgrades, downloading those upgrades on her home “dial-up” since Leggett didn’t have internet access. “And still today, I continue to keep our Macs updated so we can better service our business units and their needs.”

Susan’s latest tech-related accomplishment is the creation of a digital content library to house Creative Services’ many assets, and it has led to a seamless sharing of content with Leggett business units. 

“I have always been excited by any challenge and fueled by the experience it takes to solve anything put before me,” she says. “I have never grown out of the ‘why’ stage from an early age and no one ever told me I couldn’t find the answers.”


Raised on a farm – not, perhaps, the natural starting point for a technophile – Susan developed her unswerving work ethic as well as important lessons from her father.

“My dad stressed that he wanted me to be an independent woman. I was exposed to mechanical work and by the time I graduated from high school I was more knowledgeable in mechanics than my male classmates – maybe that is why I gravitated to computer mechanics. My dad instilled in me I could do anything I wanted to do, and that is how I have always viewed the world.”