Business with Purpose

EP 88: Steven Wallace, author of OBRONI AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and founder of Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company

May 9th, 2018

Episode description

Have you ever thought that you’re at a place in your life where it’s too late to start over? Sometimes I feel like we get to a certain age (an age that doesn’t actually really exist) and we think that we are stuck doing what we are doing forever. We think that if we aren’t successful doing something by age…. let’s day 28! Then we are STUCK. It’s never too late. I mean, Morgan Freeman was 52 when he got his first leading role in a movie… and now we see Morgan Freeman do everything! Vera Wang decided she wanted to be a designer… at age 40! Ray Kroc didn’t open his first McDonald’s until after he turned 50. This just goes to show it is NEVER too late to pursue something you believe in… 

My guest this week is Steven Wallace, author of OBRONI AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and founder of Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company, the first beyond fair trade, “single-origin” chocolate in Ghana. I LOVED chatting with Steven because, let’s be honest, I love chocolate, and also because this is an area that I honestly do not know a lot about and I was so eager and ready to learn from Steven’s experiences… You’re going to LOVE this one…

About Steven: Steven Wallace, Founder/President of The Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company. Omanhene is the first company to sustain exports of premium chocolate manufactured entirely in Africa. Omanhene is credited with producing the world’s first single-origin chocolate bar in 1994 and with creating an entirely new chocolate category (dark milk chocolate). Omanhene’s entrepreneurial accomplishments and path-breaking business model have been recognized by President Jimmy Carter, former ambassador Shirley Temple Black and the United Nations Global Compact. He was selected as one of the inaugural TED Fellows in 2007. He is a featured subject in the book, “Food Heroes” by Georgia Pellegrini and features prominently in the book “Chocolate Nations” by Orla Ryan. He is the author of “Obroni and the Chocolate Factory: An Unlikely Story of Globalization and Ghana’s First Gourmet Chocolate Bar” (2017, Skyhorse Publishing). Wallace first came to the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana as a high school foreign exchange student during the summer of 1978. (He lived with a traditional Ghanaian family, which consisted of a host father and his three wives and 21 children.) He founded Omanhene at the age of 29. Wallace often speaks on economic development, cross-cultural issues and the challenges of starting a gourmet food business in Africa. He delivered a TEDx talk in Accra and has served as a guest panelist at the US State Department sponsored African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum in Accra, Ghana. Wallace frequently speaks at public events and universities including Brown, Princeton, The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, The University of Michigan Graduate School of Business and Northwestern University. Wallace is a founding partner in NuMedika, a patient-centric telemedicine platform specifically designed for the African continent. Previously, Wallace worked in broadcasting in the newsroom of WMAL-AM 63, a networkowned radio station in Washington, DC and then as an attorney with the boutique tax law firm of Silverstein & Mullens in Washington, DC. He later served as the vice-president of Midstates Sportswear. He served as vice-chair of the board of directors of AFS-USA, Inc. and on the board of trustees of AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc. the largest volunteer student exchange organization in the world. AFS has been instrumental in the US State Department’s YES program bringing young people from countries with Muslim populations to the US to spend a year with a US family and attend a US high school. Wallace holds a bachelor’s degree in History magna cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa) from Brown University and a juris doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Wallace is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He lives in Whitefish Bay, WI. For more information, see www.omanhene.com.

Connect with Steven:

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