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VIP: A conversation with Dagoba Chocolate's CEO

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"I DON’T REMEMBER MY DREAMS, but I think that’s because I spend my whole day dreaming and fantasizing about what I’ll create. To me, the company is a “she.” A lot of people say chocolate is masculine, because it’s bitter and acidic. But chocolate has a feminine energy. Maybe I’ve created that persona since I’m single and I need some company.

"Life is about doing the right thing. Life is short, why do it half-assed?  My mantra is to stay true to myself; don’t compromise. I’m tested every day. But if you compromise once, you’re going to do it again, and then you’ve wandered off the road and it is difficult to get back on course. The hardest thing right now is the daily management and growth of the company, not being able to keep up with demand for our chocolate, and making sure I’m taking enough time for myself.

"I had no idea that having employees meant becoming a therapist/counselor. It’s one large marriage and communication is crucial, especially when growth is knocking down the doors. And when growth is knocking down the doors, it becomes increasingly diffi cult to make time to check in with employees. They may start to feel that there is no leadership because everyone is running around in a reactive mode. It’s very important to have an open door policy to allow everyone to tell me what’s on their mind. I listen. I may agree or disagree and I’m frank about it. Yet we’re communicating, which keeps everyone on the same page.

"I studied music at school and was a professional musician for many years. But one day I was playing music, and the next day chocolate tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You’re working for me now.” Chocolate is a small little nugget of romance. It’s sensual and soft and silky and satisfying. I stick with the super dark chocolate; I eat only about an ounce a day. I love chocolate so much. She feeds me on so many levels."


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