Festival of Excellence Keynote Speaker Paula Marshall

Paula Marshall

March 30, 2022
The Great Hall

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As Bama's Chief Executive Officer, Paula provides strategic leadership and direction to the entire organization. Her vision stands as a beacon for Bama team members, inspiring the organization to achieve the Bama mission. This organization has an unyielding dedication to its employees and products.

Paula assumed responsibility as CEO of the Bama Companies in 1984, which now includes Bama Pie, Bama Foods, Bama Frozen Dough, Beijing Bama and Bama Europa. Under her leadership Bama has expanded to provide a wide variety of frozen desserts and baked goods to fast food chains and casual and family dining restaurants.


The last APEX event of the school year occurred on March 30, during SUU’s Festival of Excellence, and brought in BAMA CEO, Paula Marshall.

SUU's Provost, Jon Anderson, kicked off the event. Anderson said, "at SUU our goal is to carry out that scholarship is incredibly valuable, that we get the chance to participate in the creation of new knowledge. We also get the chance to use that knowledge to better the human experience — in and outside of the industry."

Marshall took over her family company, BAMA, back in the 80s. BAMA is a privately owned family business in Tulsa, OK. The company makes all the pies in the United States and over 80% of all pies globally. 

Having been mentored by W. Edwards Deming, Marshall explained that "the best things I ever learned from Dr. Deming was that the people are where it’s at. The other thing he told me, are we having joy here? Work should not be hard. Work should be joyful."

After BAMA had fallen off the quality wagon in the 90s, Marshall explained that "listening is something that helped me save the company. Everyone’s as important as you."

In order to have a successful company, Marshall said to "let go of preconceived ideas about what business is, what it should be, how it should work, and why it should work this way — and why all those ways don’t work. You have to teach people how to work with each other without competition."

Marshall explained that "everything starts with communication, walking around, learning from people what is not working. Everyone has to take accountability in everything that goes on."

Deming encouraged Marshall to create a company mission statement. BAMA's mission statement is "people helping people. Our mission statement doesn’t mention making money."

Marshall encouraged everyone in attendance to "write a personal mission statement." Her mission statement is "to love and honor every soul, every second."

Marshall explained that "You are not an accident. You are your own process. If you're just floating along, you aren’t your most productive self."

With some final advice for everyone in the audience, Marshall declared, "make yourself happy first."


Audio Transcript