Category Archives: Employee Spotlight

Meet James Millsap — Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Director

At L&P, we’re on a journey to make meaningful change in our company through inclusion, diversity, and equity (ID&E), and we’re excited for you to meet our ID&E Director – James Millsap (Millsap)!


What brought you to L&P?

I’ve been an ID&E practitioner for many years, and I was in the manufacturing space before my time with Leggett & Platt. However, a desire to grow my career brought me to L&P, and I have received a very warm welcome.

Tell us about your role as ID&E Director. What are you looking forward to, and why is ID&E important to you?

Overall, I look at ID&E as a pretty big contributing factor to employee engagement and the employee experience. I want to work with everyone at L&P to create a company where we can all thrive, and I’m looking forward to helping our company continue this journey and decide what’s the next right move for us.

I am relentlessly optimistic about aiming for a top-tier employee experience for all. I believe we can do this when we live out our values – when we work together to take ownership and raise the bar for what’s possible.

What’s something interesting about you?

I can quote Disney’s Aladdin almost word for word.

Wellness Spotlight: Lance Gooder

Throughout May, we’re sharing tips for promoting wellbeing. This week, we’re spotlighting financial wellbeing with Lance Gooder, Senior Financial Analyst at L&P!

Lance joined L&P 11 years ago as an intern in the Internal Audit Department, working various roles there for four years before transitioning to the Treasury Department. We asked him to share about his role and some tips for staying financially healthy.

What do you do as a Senior Financial Analyst?


My primary responsibilities revolve around:

  • cash flow and consolidated financial statement forecasting
  • analyzing balance sheet currency exposures and developing a mitigation plan for the exposure risk
  • completing regular reviews of treasury-related company metrics and providing executive/board-level reporting on those metrics
  • calculating intercompany lending terms/rates

I also provide a supporting role in many back-office treasury functions, such as vendor approvals, payment set-up/approvals, derivative and currency trade settlements, and various bank account admin functions. I help with any ad-hoc projects or initiatives in the department with a specific focus on working capital or financial data analysis.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

With the size of our department, I have the opportunity to work on a variety of treasury-related tasks. In most large corporations, treasury personnel get pigeonholed into one or two related functions. The benefit of working for a company of L&P’s size is that I get to dabble in a little bit of everything – from something as complex as currency derivatives to as simple as approving payments.

While my role provides a general cadence, there’s always unique and challenging experiences. I had a passion for math, finance, and accounting early on, and a little bit of a creative side as well. I’m lucky in that I’ve found a career that calls for the right balance of “science” and “art” for me.   

Do you have some favorite financial tips to share with our colleagues?

I can think of a couple:

First, don’t underestimate the power of compounding or time value of money. This can apply both on the savings and debt side. It doesn’t require an astronomical return to generate a large amount of wealth over time. A lot of people are looking for a quick way to double or triple an investment, and the reality is that there are very few of those opportunities out there. Don’t let that discourage you though, because a steady cadence of contributions with just a slightly positive return will morph into a meaningful amount that will surprise you over time. Similarly on the debt side, regular usage of interest earning debt with little payment toward a principal balance can quickly turn into a difficult obstacle to overcome.

The second is one that I think is important for living a full life: think of money as the tool, not the goal. Set objectives for yourself or your business, and then figure out how to come up with capital needed to accomplish it. Whether it’s buying a house, expanding a new product line, paying for an education, or buying a toaster, determine what you want to accomplish and then identify how much you need to get there. If you’re constantly looking to just grow your cash balance, you’ll never have enough, and you’ll miss a lot of enjoyment along the way.

Do you have any advice for staying financially healthy throughout different life stages?

This may sound cliché, but the first and biggest step is just setting up and maintaining a budget. Understand what your inflows and outflows are and operate within them.

For those who are a little more advanced, don’t be afraid of debt or leverage – understand it. Leverage can be a useful tool for accomplishing your objectives, but it is critical to understand the risk and potential return of what you’re spending that leverage on.

We appreciate Lance for sharing his personal tips for staying financially healthy. We encourage everyone to do their own research and consult a trusted financial advisor when making financial decisions.

Wellness Spotlight: Mollie Deskin

Throughout May, we’re sharing tips for promoting wellbeing. This week, we’re spotlighting a mix of emotional and physical wellbeing with Mollie Deskin, Marketing Project Manager!

Mollie joined L&P two years ago as a social media marketing intern. After a four-month internship, she transitioned to her current role. We asked her to share about work, preventing burnout, and her wellness journey.

Mollie and Kashi

What do you do as a Marketing Project Manager, and what do you enjoy most about your role?

I work closely with Creative Services and our business units to strategize for and execute tradeshows, as well as various marketing projects.

What I enjoy most is the creative problem solving! There’s no shortage of hurdles to jump over when pulling off a marketing campaign, and I feel fortunate that every day presents opportunities to strengthen my ability to remain solutions-oriented and push my projects forward.

Also, traveling to events is enjoyable because it allows me to see my colleagues, clients, and the final product in person. This helps reinforce the “why” around the work that I produce and always leaves me feeling recharged!

How do you prevent burnout at work?

I prevent burnout at work by adhering to a wellness routine! Having something that I’m passionate about and dedicated to outside of work prevents me from obsessing about my 9-5 job in an unhealthy way. My wellness routine involves movement, mindfulness, spending time in nature, and continuing to learn about things that interest me.

If I’m overwhelmed with work and feel I need a reset that goes beyond what my wellness routine can offer, there are three questions I contemplate that leave me feeling reenergized and realigned:

  1. What do I want?
  2. Why do I want it?
  3. How am I going to get there?  

What’s a piece of your wellness journey that has positively impacted your life?

The physical training that has impacted all aspects of my life, especially my work life, is posture training. To even call it posture training feels like a disservice because it encompasses so much more than training to “not slouch.”

Posture training involves releasing fascial tension, becoming aware of the relationship between the rib cage and pelvic bone, understanding how the diaphragm supports alignment, and, ultimately, creating a physical environment for your nervous system to be in a relaxed state. Without good posture, we don’t move well, breathe well, and therefore leave so much on the table in terms of supporting our overall health and wellbeing. Having this knowledge is liberating because it gives me tools to support the longevity of my mind and body and to continue showing up for family, friends, coworkers, and, of course, my dog, Kashi.

The Importance of Service: Suzanne Hall and United Way Spirit of Giving Award

Suzanne Hall, Assistant Treasurer, was recently honored by Carthage Area United Way (CAUW) with the Spirit of Giving Award. This award is given to someone who exemplifies the best that United Way has to offer, whose efforts have advanced the mission of CAUW, and, most importantly, made it possible to better serve the needs of the community.

Suzanne has served on the Board of Directors of CAUW for the past seven years and as the Leggett & Platt United Way Corporate representative for the past eight years.

“Suzanne’s commitment to the Spirit of Giving is truly inspiring,” said Barbara Wright, Executive Director of CAUW. “She selflessly dedicates countless hours to our organization. Her passion for ensuring the community understands the benefits of CAUW is unmatched. She is a force to be reckoned with, and her dedication is truly admirable.”

We asked Suzanne to share about the importance of volunteering and advice on how to begin volunteering.

Why is volunteering important, especially at the United Way? 

It’s not about the size of the contribution but the collective impact we can make. United Way offers a unique opportunity for individuals to give what they can, whether it’s a financial contribution, their time, or their talents. These contributions, no matter the size, can significantly benefit local non-profit agencies and the community.

God has blessed me tenfold, so I believe it is my duty to give back to my community. Being a volunteer, no matter in what capacity, gives me a sense of purpose. When you give to something you believe in, you receive many more blessings than you give. I think about those individuals served by local non-profits who have made choices that changed the trajectory of their lives. Knowing that people want to change makes me want to help them overcome their challenges. That is why I encourage others to find an opportunity to volunteer in their community.

For someone at L&P looking to get more involved in the community, where should they start? 

Think about what you are passionate about. I feel a pull toward helping any organization serving abused and neglected children or helping men or women through development opportunities. Look online for those organizations that you believe in. You could start by ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, helping with a coat drive for your local school, or even forming a group within your branch to help serve a local food shelter with a canned goods drive. Donate your time at the Boys and Girls Club by being a tutor or teaching a dance class. Look for the needs in your community, and that will help you find your passion to give back. Remember, even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference.

In her spare time, Suzanne also volunteers for other organizations and programs in her community and at work. She’s the Board President of Jasper County CASA, a local non-profit that finds court-appointed advocates for foster children. One a month, she helps at her church’s local food program for low-income families. She’s a part of the Women’s Employee Resource Group Leadership team at L&P and contributes to her local Chamber of Commerce by helping with monthly Women’s events.

Thank you, Suzanne, for your generous service to our community and living out our value of putting people first!

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.”

Women and Innovation: Claire Jarvis

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.

Meet Claire Jarvis! Claire has been with us for seven months and is a Quality Manager at our Aerospace branch in the United Kingdom. We asked her some questions about work and how she approaches problem solving.

What is a day at work like for you?

A typical day in my role consists of managing my branch’s workload and supporting business processes to achieve customer satisfaction.

How have you improved L&P processes and products?

I’ve updated some of our core operating procedures, led our business through a BSI AS9100 audit, and supported special process owners through a NADCAP (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) audit. We also recently changed our approach to non-conforming products, introducing a triage process to effectively determine the root cause.

AS9100 – for the Quality Management System – enables us to continue shipping products with a AS9100-certified certificate of conformance. We hold NADCAP approval for welding and NDT (nondestructive testing). Both of these audits are beneficial because they ensure we’re working within stringent requirements, and these standards are recognized by our customers and industry as being at the height of best practice. 

How do you approach problem solving?

I ensure the problem is clearly identified. It can be easy to assume what the problem is, which could lead to ineffective solutions. Also, I work as part of a team! We all have different strengths, and by working collaboratively, we can pull on each other’s strengths and find robust solutions.

Colleagues at our branch in Dunstable, England

Women and Innovation: Alexandra Drewniak

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.

Meet Alexandra Drewniak! Alexandra has been with us for 21 years and is currently a Continuous Improvement Manager for our Automotive branch in Austria.

Alexandra (pictured far left) and teammates at our Automotive branch in Austria

“My role requires a deep understanding of our products and processes, being open minded, and serving as a contact person for all departments,” says Alexandra. “It also involves a lot of reporting, giving friendly reminders, performing project management, and asking questions like, ‘Why not? When? and Why, why, why?'”

Alexandra knows how to encourage a group to work towards a common goal, and a couple of those goals have been to increase branch profitability and keep a green mindset. Looking for ways to minimize waste and reduce energy consumption, Alexandra helped her branch cut its gas consumption in half. She’s also found opportunities to save money by organizing continuous improvement workshops and brainstorming sessions. During her time as a Branch Controller, she improved our financial processes by implementing Sarbanes–Oxley Act procedures, streamlining internal processes, and focusing on a lean approach in administrative processes.

“I am surrounded by brilliant coworkers who all strive to make our products and processes better every day,” says Alexandra. “Innovation is not a one-person task – we all need to pull in the same direction to make things happen.”

When asked what challenges she’s faced, Alexandra shared that she overcomes budget and personnel resource constraints by making things work with less, going for the smaller options, and looking for workarounds.

“I am an optimist, and there’s always a way. I believe in maintaining a positive mindset,” she says. “When solving issues, I take a structured approach, looking at the pros and cons. I’m never afraid to ask questions, and I keep all relevant people and departments involved in the process.”

We are very proud of and grateful for Alexandra’s leadership!

Women and Innovation: Claudia Ortega

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.

Meet Claudia Ortega. Claudia has been with L&P for 17 years. She started as the Quality System Manager at Mary Ann Industries in Villa Rica, GA. She is now part of the Leggett Business Systems Office (LBSO) Quality Management Systems (QMS) team as a Senior Quality System Continuous Improvement (QS/CI) Coordinator.

The LBSO department provides Quality Management System audits and training for several of our Leggett branches. As a result of the pandemic, the LBSO team had to develop ways to perform audits and training remotely.

“Claudia was instrumental in helping develop the remote training materials and process for delivering this training,” says Jeff Howery, Director of Quality Management Systems. “She has continued to expand the program with new offerings and materials to meet our branch’s quality system needs.”

We talked to Claudia about this project, the challenges the LBSO team faced, and how the new training has improved our business.

Can you tell us about the audits and your goals for making these trainings remote?

The main objective of audits is to verify that our branches conform to a series of requirements to guide processes and that they implement them in a way that helps improve operations. A management system audit consists of three main activities: Process observations, interviews with plant personnel, and review of evidence and documentation. These three activities needed to be conducted using remote methods of communication because it was important to perform a complete evaluation of those systems. The goal was to ensure the audits provided valuable and useful information to the branch concerning their process’s effectiveness and management system.

How did you work through the obstacles of doing remote audits?

First, we revisited how we planned the audits. It was necessary to be flexible and have more work done before the audit date to confirm logistics and infrastructure needs with the facility. For example, we inquired whether the branch could do video or voice calls.

We developed a document explaining how the remote audit process would work and a pre-audit checklist for the branches to complete and submit to plan the audit agenda. This document helped us understand the capabilities and constraints the branches may have and plan the audit accordingly. The branches have been very receptive, and although it has been challenging, the process has been effective and helpful in assessing conformity and effectiveness as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.

What were your challenges with taking training remotely, and how did you work through it?

The challenge related to training was adapting a program developed to be performed on-site to a remote format that was both manageable and helpful for the branches and the participants. The duration and content of the training were two of the main things that needed to be adjusted.

We restructured the content to flow better in the time allocated to complete the training. We also developed activities to assess the participants’ understanding and provide opportunities for participation and interaction. Although it has its limitations, it has provided the opportunity to bring branches from different locations together. It has also become more accessible because participants can enroll and attend training without leaving their branch.

We also developed tools such as templates, tables, and flowcharts to provide branches with examples and guides. We distribute a quarterly training calendar, and the branches enroll participants in their selected topics. The response has been great! They have been very receptive and interested in improving their systems, which is the focus of these webinars – to create content that would help the branches enhance their management system and, as a result, the effectiveness of their operations.

Thank you, Claudia, for exhibiting our value of taking ownership and raising the bar!

Women and Innovation: HRIS Configuration Team

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 you to meet three members of our Human Resources Information System (HRIS) Configuration Team – Ashley Woods, Krystal Baker, and Lyn Eivers.

Ashley Woods is based in Jefferson City, MO, and has been with L&P for two and a half years. Krystal Baker lives in Joplin, MO, and has been with L&P for five years, and Lyn Eivers is based in Meath, Ireland, and has been with L&P for one and a half years. These women have an average of 15 years of experience implementing various Human Resources (HR) systems and have been instrumental in the successful launch of our HRIS system, LP CORE.

Being on different continents, the team only has a few hours daily to focus, collaborate, and train. In July 2022, the team had the opportunity to meet in person at the project kick-off. This time together helped them bond and foster a sense of trust and camaraderie.

Each of the women has a strong HR foundation built on practical experience, which helped them navigate the global complexities of our business with skill and efficiency and helped make the launch of LP CORE a success. We asked the team some questions about this project, the challenges they faced, and how LP CORE has improved our business.

What challenges did your team face while building LP CORE, and how did you overcome them?

We had a lot of listening to do at the start of this process. Early stakeholder engagement in the implementation phase identified a communication barrier. We were able to lean on L&P’s Translation Services team, including Liliana Cano-Montoya and Freda Ge from our Asia Pacific (APAC) region, for invaluable support throughout the process. The HRIS team translated the system into six languages for go-live to assist every level of HR employee.

Our team offered different learning solutions for every learning style, utilizing Teams training and written guides in all languages, and built online learning courses in the Learning Management System (LMS).

One of our core values is to be easy to work with and provide excellent customer service. Our team covers multiple time zones, so there is always one of us online to help the global HR community. Another way we overcame any challenges is by keeping a sense of humor – we all had great fun working together on the implementation.  

How did you approach building the HRIS and problem-solving as issues arose?

We are passionate about data and finding solutions. We spent hours building and testing configurations before presenting a solution to the L&P stakeholders. We also stayed agile; requirements changed daily, so new technical solutions had to be created to meet the latest needs. Our knowledge and experience with our previous organizations encouraged L&P to be open-minded and receptive to new and improved processes. 

How has LP CORE improved our business?                          

We delivered an HR solution that is now the recognized system of record for employee data globally. Data Security was always at the forefront of our minds as we configured and developed the system, ensuring authorized access was granted and approved prior to Go-Live. In addition, workflow approvals in the system have now reduced the number of paper/digital forms within the business and are fully auditable. Real-time reporting now allows data to be extracted and analyzed centrally. Going Live with LP CORE is only the start of the team’s journey – we are now busy preparing for new modules and continuous improvements.

Thank you to Ashley, Krystal, and Lyn for your dedication to our business and for showing what it looks like to do great work together!

Women and Innovation: Linda Parker

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.

Meet Linda Parker, Controller for U.S. Operations within Home Furniture! Throughout her 25 years with us, Linda has enhanced our businesses by improving efficiency and introducing new forms of standardization. We asked her some questions about work, mentorship, and how she overcomes challenges.

What is a day at work like for you?

Every day is different. At the start of a new financial period, I might field questions related to the previous period and start preparing forecast material. That morphs into the Finance and Accounting team preparing forecasts that I review and consolidate. After the forecasts are consolidated, I provide financial explanations to our Home Furniture group’s management.

Sometimes, I work on different analyses for Home Furniture’s management team so they have the financial information they need to drive our business forward. I also work with branch management on accounting and internal control issues.

How have you enhanced our businesses?

There are two enhancements that I am most proud of. The first relates to my tenure in overseeing the compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We had an issue where we needed to revise our physical inventory procedures, and I visited branches to see what the pain points were. I assembled a team across L&P to help solve the issues, and our process changes resulted in annual savings of approximately $1M+ for the company.  

The second enhancement relates to standardizing accounting processes for Home Furniture. Standardization allows team members to easily cover for each other when there is a personal emergency, makes process changes easier because the team is executing the task the same way, and helps reviewers find the information they need to perform a good review. This work was already in process when I joined the Home Furniture team, but I found additional areas where we could improve our efficiency and accuracy in financial reporting.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Implementing procedures to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act were challenging because compliance guidance kept changing and there was no roadmap on how to comply. There was also stakeholder resistance to these changes, and it was difficult to ensure that we had minimal impact to our operating locations. I found that the best way to tackle these types of large-scale projects is to break them down into pieces, use the best information available, and overcommunicate.

Process changes cannot be completed in a vacuum. I try to involve subject matter experts whenever possible. I learned very early in my career that, when converting locations to L&P systems, you need to involve representatives from all areas of the process so that you do not have unintended consequences. A change that makes sense for one area may cause problems in another. 

You’ve served as a mentor at L&P to plant accountants. What has your mentoring experience been like, and why do you think it’s important to be a mentor?

Each plant accountant on my team wants different things out of their career. As a mentor, my job is to listen to what their career goals are and help them achieve those goals – whether that’s progressing to a more advanced role or learning more advanced accounting processes. It’s very rewarding to see individuals achieve a career milestone or grasp a complicated accounting concept that they thought they couldn’t grasp.

I’ve benefited from some outstanding mentors – like Bill Weil, Joe Franklin, Megan Dawson, and Mike Carter – who have helped shape my career at L&P and enhanced my understanding of the manufacturing environment. I think it’s important to be a mentor so that there is someone who can be a sounding board for problem solving, help with identifying career opportunities, and be a source of technical knowledge. I also learn from our plant accountants!