I first met Amy Guittard of of Guittard Chocolate in the wee hours of the morning at the airport when we were both on a travel job together. I was immediately drawn in by her warm and approachable personality and as I have gotten to know her, I am even more impressed by her grounded nature. She and her Father are continuing the chocolate company that her Great Great Grandfather started here in San Francisco years ago. She has talked to the U.N. (more to follow), written a book and can often be found flying to Africa to make sure first hand that their cocoa is being grown and produced in a sustainable and supportive way.
There are many reasons to love Amy. Maybe I am biases, since when asked what her alternate career would be she answered, “Am I allowed to say own a flower shop?”. But, let’s be honest. Flowers and chocolate have always been a match made in heaven.
What was your best career moment or your first big break?
I hesitate to say “best” but it’s pretty high up there–speaking at the U.N. It was one of those things where I went in with a plan to talk about one thing and it took a completely different turn (and format!) as the hour unfolded. The idea was for me to talk about chocolate as a global commodity and address some of our efforts in combating the social issues around it; I ended up getting a barrage of questions from ambassadors who opened my eyes to the unfounded impact that cocoa itself can have in aiding socio political issues around the world–not just impacting. It was these questions and the conversations that ensued that continue to inspire me in the day to day of what we do to think outside the box. We’re not only making something that brings people joy but we’re also playing a crucial role in contributing to development work and empowering communities around the world.
What three words represent your work?
Relationships, Quality, Heritage.
What trend would you like to see end?
I think trends, however apawling they might be, always inspire new trends. You never know what will lead to what. It’s the dissenter who decides to take the trend in a different direction that brings new life and vision. So I say: embrace all trends and open your eyes to how they can be reinterpreted to inspire new ideas.
What is one thing about your current life that would surprise the younger version of you?
The younger Amy might still be baffled at the fact that being a woman in business never really gets easier per se; it’s that the perspective changes. The environment still presents challenges that others may not see and it’s how you face those challenges that will push for change.
What is one aspect of your job that people may be surprised to hear?
That I start eating chocolate around 9 in the morning. Maybe that’s not so much of a surprise…
Thank you, Amy!