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Lululemon exec: Mental health is the 'next major step in our journey'

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer

Lululemon (LULU) has become a leader in promoting a healthy workplace culture.

Celeste Burgoyne, the company’s EVP of Americas and Global Guest Innovation, made a pledge to promote and support mental wellness on Wednesday at the MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles.

MAKERS — an organization that promotes and accelerates women’s equality — encourages board members to get on stage at its annual conference and commit to a specific goal to support accountability. Burgoyne, who is on the board, reflected on her pledges over the last three years.

“We achieved 100% pay equity in 2018, a leading parenthood program offering up to six months paid leave [for both mothers and fathers] in 2019, and our senior leadership team is comprised of 60% women as of today. The next major step in our journey is leading the way in mental wellbeing because we know in order to be 100% authentically you, you need to be well. In 2020, we commit to offering our people leading mental health benefits, and providing training to all people managers so that they are equipped to support mental health conversations,” she said.

Amid a relatively tight labor market, these offerings are critical in attracting high caliber talent.

“This mental health pledge is really in our journey in... being the number one place that people come to work and develop as leaders,” she added.

Sign on facade at Lululemon athleisure clothing store on Santana Row in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, December 14, 2019. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Founded in 1998 as a women’s yoga pants retailer, Lululemon has morphed into a “dual gender” brand, catering to both male and female consumers. Still, of the company’s 20,000 global employees, 78% are women. And over 320 people, 200 of whom are store employees, have so far taken advantage of a gender neutral policy that gives up to three months of paid parental leave to employees who have been with the company for at least two years.

Lululemon’s internal focus on being gender neutral, providing both men and women equal opportunity and access to parental leave benefits, mirrors that of its business.

“One of our big goals is growing our men’s business. We do see doubling our men’s business in the next four years, and we’re really doing that by continuing to connect with communities and connect people. Men’s is a huge opportunity for us,” Burgoyne said.

In the third quarter, revenue from men’s apparel grew 38%. In 2018, the company told investors that 21% of Lululemon’s $3.3 billion in sales last year came from men’s products.

Disclaimer: MAKERS and Yahoo Finance are both part of Verizon Media.

Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s west coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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