Meet Bojangles’ Chief People Officer, Monica Sauls. This experienced human resources expert has built her career helping others realize their full potential and build meaningful careers of their own. As Chief People Officer, Monica helps to attract, nurture and develop the business’s brightest talent while ensuring we stay true to our people-first company culture.

Monica brings over two decades of experience to our executive team, offering unique insight from her background in diverse industries. Passionate about her role as a mentor, Monica values her ability to help others discover their talents and visualize the endless possibilities in their futures. We caught up with Monica to learn more about her approach to career development and company culture.

Chief People Officer is an impressive title! What’s your favorite part of your role?

Monica Sauls: Helping individuals craft their career journey is, hands down, my favorite part of my role as an HR expert and leader. Watching people discover their strengths and providing them tools to learn more and become leaders are what fuels me.

As Chief People Officer of Bojangles, I get the opportunity to impact the lives of hundreds of people each day through our People and Culture Team’s work. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling career choice.

Tell us about the Bojangles culture. What does it mean to you to be a part of the Bojangles team?

MS: The people that make up what we proudly call the “Bo Nation” are the magic behind “It’s Bo Time®.” This isn’t just a phrase. It’s a lifestyle. We know the value of a meal shared together and take pride cooking up authentic Southern food, providing warm, welcoming service, always doing things the right way, and caring about the well-being of our teams and our community.

Our organization prioritizes serving customers with a smile and genuine kindness. We embrace all ideas and perspectives, treat each other with honor, dignity and respect, act as leaders and role models, and take initiative. We stay true to our promise to grow and be better for one another. These principals are critical to how we work and are certainly important to me as an HR leader in our organization.

In your expert opinion, what does it take to build a strong company culture? How do these building blocks contribute to a company’s successes?

MS: One of the most important components in building a strong company culture is having a shared vision and a bias toward achieving it. Our business and the lives of our team members evolve—we need to be curious, ask questions and listen so we can learn how to better live our principles every day. At Bojangles, we have a team of people who consistently rally to make sure we deliver on our promise to customers to deliver a positive experience and to serve quality meals their families can enjoy.

What do you think makes Bojangles stand apart from other QSR and chicken franchises?

MS: The legacy of the founders and the leadership of both the company and our franchisees is what makes Bojangles stand out. But what really puts us over the top is the dedication of the team members who welcome our guests to our restaurants every day.

We became a Southern powerhouse and have developed an emotional connection with our customers because we consistently deliver our promise, we demonstrate care for one another’s well-being and we take pride in cooking up our signature recipes that deliver on bold, Southern flavors that you just can’t get anywhere else.

How does Bojangles help integrate franchisees into the company culture?

MS: At the forefront of the Bojangles organization is the partnership, collaboration, and communication with franchisees. Whether through regular franchisee calls, co-op meetings, our Franchisee Advisory Council, meetings to discuss the importance of people to our brand, or one-on-one get togethers at every level of the organization, we rely on our franchisees to provide input and help us craft the future of our business. We put the customer and restaurant team members’ needs at the center of our decision making and our franchisees are an integral part of knowing what is important to both groups.

What’s one piece of advice that has helped you throughout your career?

MS: Early on in my career, a colleague told me that twenty years of the same experience is not better than five years of different experiences. Some of the most meaningful pieces of advice I received early on were the importance of trying new things, staying curious and being willing to see failures as tools for learning. In adopting this way of being, I became resilient and found courage, as well as my voice. I have learned where I can use my experiences to continue to innovate and lead the way for myself and others.

I have also made it a priority to share what I have learned, the successes and the failures, with the people I mentor. I walk with them along their career journey as a coach so they too can feel empowered and supported in trying new things and staying ahead of the curve in their field of expertise.