La-Z-Boy’s HR manager shares International Women’s Day story

In her role as HR manager for La-Z-Boy Manufacturing Ltd, Robyn Lee is determined to make sure everyone is treated fairly and given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

But she only discovered the career she is so passionate about when she was sacked from a previous job and believed the dismissal was not only unfair but could be classed as sex discrimination. For International Women’s Day, she decided to share her experience and why it made her determined to do her bit to make sure women are treated fairly in the workplace.

When Robyn first left university, she had no real idea what she wanted to do with her life. After spending time working in a number of different sectors, including optometry, purchasing and marketing, it took a negative experience for her to realise her true calling.

Robyn said: “In one job, I was sacked for a reason I didn’t feel was fair. I spent a week or two wallowing and then I hit the books. As I student, I had studied International Business Management and completed some HR modules. I felt that the way my employment had been terminated was illegal, so I started putting a case together.”

In the end, Robyn decided not to pursue legal action but the research she had carried out lit a fire within her and she realised she had found a career she could be passionate about. She initially thought she might study employment law but ended up getting a job in HR and completing her CIPD qualifications.

She said: “Rather than fighting my individual battle, I realised I wanted to focus on helping companies to be better employers. There are a lot of people who aren’t aware what their rights are and what the rules are. I love helping people progress their careers and become better versions of themselves. Often all they need is someone to believe in them.”

Robyn started working for La-Z-Boy Manufacturing Ltd, based in Colne, Lancashire, in July last year. The business manufactures British made collections for the La-Z-Boy brand, which is known worldwide for being the originator of the first ever recliner chair.

She added: “I love working for a global enterprise run by a woman – La-Z-Boy Incorporated’s CEO Melinda Whittington is such an inspiration. When I first started out, I did used to find I got talked over in boardrooms in a way I was sure wouldn’t have happened if I was a man. In my role, I make sure everyone is heard and I enjoy that.”

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