This time of year means many things to each of us, and to celebrate the cultures and traditions that make up L&P, we invited our employees from around the world to share season’s greetings—what we are looking forward to this season, hopes for colleagues, and a variety of traditions.
At Leggett & Platt, we are committed to building a culture of belonging and workplaces where everyone feels accepted for who they are and what they bring to L&P.
To help us accomplish this, we launched our People First learning series, designed to enhance our leadership skills and strengthen inclusion by putting people first—our first company value.
At the beginning of the year, we launched People First Local Conversations within our branches. The conversations are hosted by People First Champions — L&P leaders — and discuss how we can improve our workplaces by being a better team.
Participating in the local conversations was optional for each branch and initially started as six conversations over four months. The feedback was so positive that over half of the branches asked to continue.
Winchester Spring in Winchester, Kentucky, was one of the branches that participated in each local conversation. They finished the series this month, hosting eleven conversations on topics like belonging, community involvement, and gratitude. We spoke with Stephen Day, Richard Trent, and James Wells — the People First Champions at Winchester, about their experience.
Stephen Day, Human Resources Manager
“What initially struck my interest was the People First courses we took before the conversations started. The facilitator was very engaging, and the content intrigued me. I was determined to make a difference at our branch. Working with Richard, James, and Billy Wiggins (Branch Manager), I knew that we were all like-minded regarding our people. Our past successes were because of the great people we have on our team. Once we got started, we received feedback from our people, and there were some great ideas on how to be more inclusive. We have implemented many of those ideas and hope to receive more.”
Richard Trent, Operations Manager
“I’ve learned a lot about our team here at Branch 2. One of the most positive changes is that people are more open with each other and management. We have a lot of different departments, and having people willing to talk to each other is a huge plus. They all started hesitant, but after we had a few conversations, they began to open up and talk with each other. The local conversations have been an excellent experience for all of us.”
James Wells, Plant Superintendent
“I learned so much about the people I work with. I have led very few groups in meetings. So, coming out of my shell, getting to know people, and finding new ways to connect were great experiences. I found things in common with people I have worked with for years. After all our conversations, people are starting to interact more with management and each other. Overall, it was a great experience, and we all benefited from these conversations.”
Thank you to everyone at Winchester Spring for your commitment to inclusion and putting people first!
Our Automotive team in Chennai, India, recently celebrated Ayudha Pooja — “worship of instruments” — as part of the Hindu festival Navaratri.
Ayudha Pooja is a time to give thanks and ask for the blessing of a safe work environment. The meaningful custom of pooja (Hindu worship) gives participants an opportunity to appreciate the tools and machines used in their professions and to recognize the divine force behind these objects that provides prosperity. To celebrate, all vocational tools are cleaned, polished, and then covered with turmeric and sandalwood paste. To invite positive energy and protection, a priest performs Homam, which includes spraying holy water on the machines and throughout the branch.
We invited a few of our employees to share their thoughts on the celebration:
P. Gnanaprakasam, Manufacturing Coach, shared, “For the past 13 years, we have celebrated Ayudha Pooja. It is a unique opportunity for our company to boost employee motivation and morale, as it creates a positive work environment among us. On this day, we thank our machines and tools, and we seek blessing for a safer work environment. I participated in Homam, and the divinity gave me a positive vibe.”
D. Santha Lakshmi, Quality Technician, shared, “Ayudha Pooja celebrations provide a break from the monotony of an everyday routine. We can have a good time and return to work the next day with a fresh mind. During Navaratri (Nine Days), we worshipped, sang, and decorated Golu. This gave us great happiness because we participated as a team. After the celebration, sweets were given to us, and we celebrated Ayudha Pooja at home.”
S. Praveen Kumar, Manufacturing Technician, shared, “The Ayudha Pooja celebration at our branch is a happy event. We prayed as a team—all functions came together, and the celebration made us like one family. It motivated us all. We also celebrated Ayudha Pooja with our families, using the sweets, puffed rice, and fruits given to us at our branch. This made our families happy!”
Check out some of the photos from our branch’s celebration below!
At L&P, we are proud to be a global company, employing people from many backgrounds and cultures. Our company values — Put People First, Do the Right Thing, Do Great Work Together, and Take Ownership and Raise the Bar — tie us together and guide us to be more connected, collaborative, and innovative.
As we continue sharing about our global mindset, we invited Samantha Lewis-Horner, Vice President of Human Resources, to share how she leads an international L&P team.
“When I joined L&P a year ago, it was clear to me that this is a global organization that values people,” said Samantha. “A global team brings diversity of thought and personality. We may think and act differently across cultures, but these differences are ultimately strengths that can bring benefit to the whole company.”
Samantha leads a team of HR leaders — Alan Ji, Clare Rees, Judith Kuhn, and Lori Kolodziej — located in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Alan works from China, and Lori works from the United States. Both Clare and Samantha are based in the United Kingdom, and Judith is based in Germany.
The team works closely with our specialized business units to provide global HR support that promotes growth through investing in our people, culture, and the processes that keep us competitive. Samantha Leads our specialized HR segment and is the strategic lead, along with Alan, Senior HR Director for Asia Pacific, for our Automotive business. Judith is the HR Director for Specialized Products in Europe and strategic HR lead for our Hydraulics business. Lori is the HR Director for Specialized Products in North America and strategic lead for our Aerospace business. Clare is a Senior HR Business Partner, driving Transformation and Capability improvements across our Specialized Products segment.
Every six weeks, Samantha hosts Listening at Leggett—an hour-long meeting without an agenda where the team can speak about any topic or issue.
“It’s important that we listen to our teams, no matter where they are in the world,” said Samantha. “We could all be better listeners, and we should be open to and listen to other people’s opinions. We only get the best ideas if everyone contributes.”
When asked how her team embraces a diversity of perspectives and ensures everyone stays engaged and connected, Samantha shared these key points with us:
Create clarity and foster transparency and trust, especially around future plans.
Be fair, consistent, and accountable.
Share and celebrate success.
Use available collaboration tools to check in.
Respect people’s time and time zones.
We’re really grateful to this team for putting people first, doing great work together, and enriching our global mindset!
At L&P, our employees around the world enrich our global mindset and inspire us every day with their leadership and initiative.
Today, we’d like to recognize Isabel Perez! Isabel is a geosynthetics and engineering professional who’s passionate about building sustainable communities and a champion for inclusion, diversity, and equity. We invited her to share about work, her recent accomplishments, and what’s ahead.
A Community Leader and Partner
Isabel began her career at Terrafix Geosynthetics, a Leggett & Platt company, in Canada five years ago as an Account Manager. She currently serves as a National Category Sales Manager for Subgrade Solutions and is a member of our Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) leadership team.
As a geosynthetics professional, she enjoys helping her customers and end users enjoy the benefits of sustainable, reliable, and cost-effective infrastructure.
“I contribute by being a community helper,” shared Isabel. “I love to see communities benefit from better infrastructure—whether that’s a road, school, parking lot, or other facility.”
Isabel is also passionate about increasing the visibility of women in industries like geosynthetics. She serves on the External Partnerships Committee within our Women’s ERG, which focuses on building networks and sponsoring partnerships that lift up women.
“Thanks to our Women’s ERG, I feel more connected and understand more about our business outside of Terrafix,” shared Isabel. “It has helped me understand how global we are and how important it is to align with organizations that help women become more visible in industries like geosynthetics.”
Outside of L&P, Isabel is involved in many professional societies that advance geosynthetics and promote diversity. She is an Executive Committee member for the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS), a founding member of Women in CGS, Vice Chair of the CGS’s Geosynthetics Division, a founding member of the International Geosynthetics Society’s (IGS) Diversity Task Force, and a member of Women in Transportation.
Advancing Opportunities in Global Geosynthetics
In late September, Isabel traveled to Rome, Italy, to participate in the IGS’s annual conference where attendees discuss best practices, regulations, and requirements related to the geosynthetics industry. During the conference, she gave a presentation on the IGS Diversity Task Force, which aims to create a welcoming space for members to advance their geosynthetics practice and improve access to and opportunities in the geosynthetics industry for everyone.
“If you look at the numbers in the geosynthetics industry, it’s clear that we’re missing voices of minority groups,” said Isabel. “We should care because our customers are global and focusing on how we can increase diversity will allow us to better understand them and increase our reach in the industry. My contribution is speaking up and doing what I can to help open doors.”
Next year in late April, Isabel will attend GeoAmericas 2024 in Toronto, Canada, and give a presentation on the topic of exploring solutions towards green infrastructure with reinforcement systems. Her presentation will cover an overview of geosynthetics and geogrids, as well as their benefits and best practices.
We are excited to see what’s next for Isabel and are proud of her for taking ownership and raising the bar!
October 10 is World Mental Health Day—a time to check in on our mental health.
We know it’s important to ask others how’re they’re doing, but we often forget to ask ourselves or we wait until a major life event to assess how we’re doing. It’s important to routinely reflect on our mental wellbeing so we can address any issues, feel our best, and be better equipped to help others.
For World Mental Health Day, we want to reshare some of our favorite mental health check-in tips:
Schedule timeto reflect. Scheduling some personal time can help minimize distractions and create space for us to be fully present with ourselves.
Assess physical health. Physical health and mental health are interconnected, so ensuring that we’re eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting quality sleep can promote good mental health.
Notice feelings and behaviors. Changes in mood or behavior that last two weeks or longer could indicate a mental health issue. If you want help deciding whether or not you should speak to a health care professional about your mental health, check out the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) one-page guide: My Mental Health: Do I Need Help? For information on starting a conversation with a health care professional, take a look at the NIMH’s Tips for Talking with a Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health.
Know your support system. Whether it’s a single person or multiple people, knowing who we can count on when we need support can make reaching out for help a little easier.
Ensure there’s a source of joy. Doing something that makes us happy, whether that’s a hobby, watching a favorite show, spending time with friends and family, or just relaxing, can help maintain good mental health or improve it.
You can read more about World Mental Health Day and find additional resources here.
Dastagir, Alia E. “Am I OK? How to Do a Mental Health Check.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC, 2 May 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/health-wellness/2021/01/15/mental-health-check-what-ask-and-how-know-if-you-need-help/4134270001/.
“How to Check In On Your Mental Health: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day.” Health e-Living Blog, Chester County Hospital, 3 May 2021, https://www.chestercountyhospital.org/news/health-eliving-blog/2021/may/how-to-check-in-on-your-mental-health.
From September 15 through October 15, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month—a time dedicated tocelebratingthe cultures, heritages, and contributions of Americanswith roots in Spanish-speaking countries.
Honoring Hispanic heritage was first introduced in 1968 as a weeklong event. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a law that expanded the celebration to a month. Unlike other Heritage Months that start at the beginning of the month, Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15 to commemorate the day that many Latin American countries celebrate their independence from Spain.
We’re grateful to all of our employees who honor Hispanic Heritage Month and enrich our workplaces. To celebrate, we invited a few of our employees to share about their everyday Leggett life and their Hispanic heritage. During the next few weeks, we will spotlight them on our social media platforms.
Hispanic Heritage Month Resources
Interested in learning more about Hispanic heritage? We found a few resources that we would like to share:
August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. This day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, which allowed women the right to vote.
Women’s Equality Day celebrates the achievements of women’s rights activists and reminds us of the unique daily struggles that women face in their fight for equality. Here are a few notable milestones and influential advocates for the women’s movement:
July 19-20, 1848 | The First Women’s Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. Sixty-eight women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments, which sparked decades of activism and led to the passage of the 19th Amendment.
May 15, 1869 | Susan B. Anthonyand Elizabeth Cady Stanton established the National Woman Suffrage Association, which coordinated the national suffrage movement.
April 2, 1917 | Jeannette Rankin of Montana is the first woman elected to Congress as a member of the House of Representatives.
June 30, 1966 | Betty Friedan helps found the National Organization for Women (NOW).
July 7, 1981 | Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
January 20, 2021| Kamala Harris became the first woman and woman of color Vice President of the United States.
July is Disability Pride Month, and we’re spotlighting strategies for reducing disability stigma—negative attitudes or beliefs about people with disabilities.
People with disabilities are often stigmatized in many ways, including social avoidance, stereotyping, and condescension. If someone has a disability, they may be labeled as helpless or incapable of exercising autonomy, and people may pity them. They may be excluded from social events, and people may avoid eye contact and talking with them if they have a visible disability.
Together, we can help reduce disability stigma by:
Learning from others about disabilities. People with disabilities have a wide-range of experiences, and we can broaden our understanding when we listen to their stories.
Avoiding assumptions about what someone with a disability can or cannot do. People are affected by disabilities in different ways, and not every person’s experience with a disability is the same.
Using person-first language to emphasize that a person is not a disability (e.g., “person who is deaf”). However, some people may prefer identity-first language (e.g., “deaf person”). If you’re unsure, a good rule is to use people-first language.
Avoiding negative words — like “punishment”, “sad”, and “tragedy” — when discussing disability.
Using age-appropriate language and making eye contact when talking to people with visible disabilities, even if a companion or interpreter is present.
“Common Barriers to Participation Experienced by People With Disabilities.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/disability-barriers.html. Accessed 5 June 2023.
Fitzroy, Jenna. “The Stigma on People With Disabilities: What You Can Do to Reduce It.” Women’s Health Blog, Apr. 2019, www.womenshealthblog.org/the-stigma-on-people-with-disabilities-what-you-can-do-to-reduce-it.
“Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities.” ADA National Network, adata.org/factsheet/ADANN-writing. Accessed 5 June 2023.
NCALL Staff. “Destigmatizing Disability.” The National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, 19 July 2021, www.ncall.us/2021/07/19/destigmatizing-disability. Accessed 5 June 2023.
University of Washington. (2016). Disability Stigma and Your Patients [Factsheet]. Aging Well with a Physical Disability Factsheet Series. Healthy Aging & Physical Disability RRTC, http://agerrtc.washington.edu.