Papa John's Success Story

A Custom Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program That Made Every Employee Feel Like They Belong


In 1984, Papa John's opened its doors with one goal in mind: Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Since then, they have grown to more than 5,000 locations in 44 countries and territories around the world. 

Recently, Papa John's worked with Eagle's Flight to develop and deliver a custom diversity, equity, and inclusion program that would address their most pressing business needs. As a long-term partner on their corporate events, leadership development, and more, the Eagle's Flight team had everything they needed to ensure the content that was developed in partnership with diversity, equity and inclusion experts, would be optimally relevant to lives of Papa John's employees. To date the program has been well received by employees, leaders, and stakeholders alike, and is already making a real difference in the lives of Papa John's employees and customers.

Watch the following video to hear what the Papa John's team, including their Chief People Officer, Marvin Boakye, had to say about the success of the program and its reception among their workforce.



Marvin Boakye: Hi, I'm Marvin Boakye, and I am the Chief People Officer at Papa John’s. 

Papa John's is a global company, we operate in approximately 45 countries around the world and we have over 120,000 team members — that includes and our franchisees and corporate stores. Diversity, equity, and inclusion has been an important subject for us for some time. There have been some recent developments that took place for [Papa John's] over the last eighteen months that made it even more critical that we took a step back and understood who we are; how both the world sees us, and what we want to be as an organization. So, we have been engaging in conversations to talk about, how do we make this a place where everyone feels like they belong? And with that we started to look at organizations we can engage with to help us tell that story, or at least help us better understand what that means to us. 

Dr. Dawn Wade: Nimbus started working on Papa John's diversity and inclusion strategy back in 2018.  During that time Eagle’s Flight was developing diversity and inclusion training. Nimbus and Eagle’s Flight worked together to develop comprehensive training that would be applicable to all levels of the organization.  

Marvin Boakye: Whenever you talk about a subject like diversity, equity, and inclusion, people have many different perspectives of whether they think — or not — that it impacts them.  What's your own awareness and your own biases? So, we started down that path and Eagles Flight helped us put together a discussion, and I'm not even going to call it training, but a discussion that helped to start to have that kind of conversation.

Dr. Dawn Wade: Whenever you're trying to change culture there is always going to be resistance. Everyone may not agree with the next person. So, instead of saying that you have to agree with that person, we came up with the concept that you can acknowledge what a person is wanting to do versus agreeing with them, and that was one of the best principles that Eagle’s Flight instilled. 

Victoria Russell: I think Eagle’s Flight did an amazing job of working collaboratively with Papa John's. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a very personal experience for everyone that goes through it, and I think the team members of Papa John's, and our leadership, we needed something tailored for us — and I love that [Eagle's Flight] did not pull something off the shelf or give us a canned or boxed experience. 

Marvin Boakye: What I really like about the power of this is that we are now taking this and having check-ins. We are talking about what you have learned, what are you applying, and what you are reflecting on, and we're doing that 30 days out, 60 days out, and 90 days out. In fact, we have been taking this work here and we are now preparing for the next phase of our work, where we have sessions with our people that are facilitated by leaders having those tough conversations. So, for us, it was an absolute win.

Victoria Russell: The feedback has been phenomenal. I think team members felt like, "Wow I got to explore a lot of other things that, maybe, I never considered." I began to acknowledge the people around me whether I disagreed with their thoughts and feelings, but I could allow and create space for others to bring their whole selves to work, just like I want to.  

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"Eagle’s Flight did an amazing job of working collaboratively with Papa John's. The diversity, equity, and inclusion program is a very personal experience for everyone that goes through it and I think the team members of Papa John's and our leadership, knew we needed something tailored for us. For that reason, I love that they did not pull something off the shelf or give us a canned experience. The feedback has been phenomenal."

Victoria Russell

Chief, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Papa John's

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