Category Archives: Career Advice

Perspective and Passion: Brandon Phothichack’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.

Brandon Phothichack started his career with Hanes Industries in Conover, North Carolina, nearly nine years ago as an Intra Winder/Machine Operator on the third shift. He worked in several roles over the three-and-a-half years he spent on the third shift before landing his first role on the day shift. Over the years, Brandon worked in Panel Cell and various other roles. He even cross-trained in other departments like shipping and receiving and offered assistance at Hanes Dye in Winston-Salem, NC.

This past year, Brandon took the position of Training Coordinator. In his new role, Brandon facilitates the job training process of new team members and transfers. He helps to ensure the transition to their new job is seamless with thorough training in the most current, accepted practices and quality. In addition, Brandon gets to conduct plant tours where he’s had the opportunity to meet many great people within L&P and the community.

“I still feel blessed and honored for this opportunity. Many people helped me along the way, including Leonard Ruggiero, Dee Sawyer, Steve Griffin, Steven Davis, and many long-time friends I’ve worked beside who told me to go for it.”

Brandon credits keeping perspective as a contributing factor to his success. When he can’t control what’s happening, he knows he can control his reaction to a situation. He offers the same advice to someone else facing decisions in their career or life.

“Go for it. It’s your time, and you will be great. Control your emotions, but allow yourself to show passion in your beliefs. Insert your beliefs, but always be kind. Show your worth. You got this.”

Outside work, Brandon enjoys golfing, playing paintball, and spending time with his friends and family, including his son, who recently enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife are getting used to being empty-nesters and catching up with their Airman through video chat.

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.”

Doors Celebrates a Successful Summer

This summer, 30 students from universities across the country participated in our Doors Internship program.

Doors allows students to gain real-life experience in their field of study through immersive leadership workshops. At L&P, we believe in putting people first, which starts with developing the best and brightest leaders!

Career Planning & Self-Development: Part 2

This article is the second in a two-part series on Career Planning & Self Development.

MushroomLast week, I invited you to ask yourself some foundational questions when planning your next career move. You need to know who you are and what you want, and you need to get curious about the opportunities around you.

But once you know those couple things about yourself, you’re ready to advance to the next level of your career planning!

Fill In the Gaps

Odds are, if you find a listing for your dream job, the required qualifications aren’t going to look like a photocopy of your own resumé. There are probably a few gaps along the path between you and occupational bliss. Whether it’s a certification you don’t have, a degree you never finished, or simply not enough years of related experience, it can be incredibly disheartening to realize you’re still far off from the thing you want.

But there’s good news: You can do something about it! Continue reading

Career Planning & Self-Development: Part 1

I love making plans. There’s something about figuring out what I want and how I’m going to get there that simply excites me. It’s a bit like a puzzle – if I want to get to point A, but I’m way over here at point Q, what’s the best way to close that gap?Video Game Guy 1

For me, it’s a little like playing a video game as a kid. I loved working my way through those old, pixilated games! As an adult, the sense of accomplishment when I put together a smart strategy is the grown-up version of clearing a difficult level in Super Mario Brothers.

It took me a while to realize that not everyone is wired this way.

Perhaps you’re like me and enjoy sitting down with a pen and paper and mapping out a strategy for achieving your future goals. Or, perhaps you’re not like me, and what I just described is your perfect recipe for a panic attack. Either way, when it comes to your career, a little bit of focus and planning can go a long way.

This article is the first in a two-part series where I’ll fill you in on the most important lessons I’ve learned about planning my next career move. In each article, I’ll touch on two major areas that, when all linked together, should help set you on the right path. Continue reading

Women in Leadership: Meet Griselda Ramos

“Take risks! Dive in! If you see a project of interest, volunteer for it. This marks you as a go-getter and someone who can be trusted with even more.”

Griselda Ramos has excellent insights for people early in their careers. She started her own career with Leggett 18 years ago as a Staff Accountant. “One of the things which really attracted me to Leggett straight out of school was handling several different kinds of accounting. There’s always a different flavor to what I’m doing!”

Griselda has worked in several roles during her tenure with Leggett. “I slowly moved my way up to Senior Accountant, Assistant Controller, and then Controller.” She currently serves as Regional Controller for our Fashion Bed Group (FBG).

Griselda and friends

Griselda Ramos (left) pictured with a few of her colleagues. From left to right are Wanda Bonilla (Customer Support Manager), Linda Hickey (Sr. VP of Operations for FBG), Debbie Choate (Customer Service Manager), and Julie Kee (HR Manager).

Her dedication and consistent performance are precisely why her manager nominated her for the Emerging Leader Academy, a Leggett program that provides training and development for our emerging leaders. “The Academy has been extremely beneficial,” she said. “It has really forced me to ask, ‘What can I do better in my role?’ and ‘What could I do differently for the company?’” Continue reading

Three Tips to Improve Your Creative Thinking

I’m not an artist. I don’t have the word “designer” in my title. I repeatedly fail to master those pesky Pinterest projects that haunt me at night. But I’m still creative – at least, I’m working on it.

There are two big misconceptions about creativity. The first is that creativity is solely artistry. Just because you can’t design a fancy graphic for a presentation or sketch your self-portrait, it doesn’t mean you’re not creative!

The second misconception is that creativity is a talent. Many believe that you are either born with a creative gene or you’re not. But creativity is a skill, and you can work to improve it over time.

If you’re trying to develop your creativity, keep these three tips in mind:

Get uncomfortable.

When was the last time you pushed past the easy ideas for that “aha” moment? As adults, leaving behind what we know can prove challenging or can really bother us. (Farewell, carefree nature.) Acting silly or being adventurous is often reserved for children – but it shouldn’t be. Continue reading

10 Customer-Relationship Commandments

Note: This material was pulled from our in-house class, Customer Focus, taught by Director of Learning & Development Alissa Owsley. For more learning content like this, check out our 2-part SlideShare series on The Art of Coaching Employees and 6 Truths about Persuasion.

At Leggett & Platt we equate good customer service with good relationship-building skills. The bond between you and your customer—whether within your company (say a peer or your boss) or external (the traditional “customer”)—is just that, a relationship that needs attention and takes work.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with 10 universal customer-relationship commandments. You don’t have to have “customer service representative” in your title to get something out of these. Continue reading

6 Quick Tips For Lasting Connections – Network Smarter Part 3

Networking Smarter 3 - Lasting Connections

Note: This is the final installment of a three-part series

By now I hope you’ve noticed an emerging theme: networking isn’t all about you. Like any other relationship, it’s a two-way street. If you take anything away from this mini-series, I hope you take this: giving is more important that receiving. You network smarter when you’re attentive to others’ wants and needs. It’s effective and it makes for lasting connections. Continue reading

6 Tips for a Great First Impression: Network Smarter Part 2

Networking Smarter 2 - First Impressions

Last week, in part one of the Network Smarter series, we talked about social media, personal brand, and your professional online presence. That may be the first step in networking but it’s certainly not the last. Here are six tips to help you make a great first impression:

1. Think about your appearance.

I agree with Oscar Wilde who said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Especially when it comes to first impressions. Initial reactions matter. Pay attention your appearance including accessories, clothes, etc., before your next meet-n-greet event. As unfair as it may seem, people will make assumptions about your personality based on what you’re wearing, your hygiene, and how you carry yourself. It’s just human nature.

Continue reading