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Shawn Askinosie

May 10, 2018

Growing with Purpose Podcast: "Can Chocolate Change the World?" with Shawn Askinosie

By many measures, Askinosie Chocolate is a small company — they work in small, artisan batches, they focus on developing their 17 employees, and they're not afraid to hit the breaks and decelerate in order to achieve goals other than growth for growth's sake. But the impact of Askinosie Chocolate is anything but small. 

Today on the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman talks with Askinosie Chocolate founder and CEO, Shawn Askinosie. Shawn started Askinosie Chocolate in 2006 after leaving a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer. Shawn is the only chocolate maker to work directly with cocoa farmers on four continents to source the beans used to make their chocolate. But it doesn't stop there — Shawn also extends the company's open-book management program to their partners; profit-sharing and translating company financials with each farmer.

Named one of Forbes' Small Giants: Best Small Companies in America in 2017, Askinosie Chocolate is sharing business ethics with the world through "Chocolate University," introducing students to the chocolate-making process and even taking a group to Tanzania every year. They also started a sustainability program that feeds 1,600 children a day in Tanzania and the Philippines, without ever collecting a single donation. In 2017, Shawn released a book with his daughter, Lawren Askinosie, about finding meaningful work that feeds your soul

From their factory and warehouse in Springfield, Missouri, Askinosie Chocolate is forging its own unique path to change the world through chocolate. In this episode, hear Shawn's ideas around reverse scale and deceleration, extending open-book management to company partners, and how entrepreneurship can help heal grief. Tune into Shawn's story here.


Show Notes 

Shawn Askinosie is Founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate.

[01:45] Criminal Defense Lawyer Turned Chocolate Maker

[06:17] Engaging Cocoa Farmers in Open-Book Management

[13:13] Reverse Scale and Celebrating Debt Reduction

[19:24] Coming to Terms with Grief at Age 13 (And Again 30 Years Later)

[25:43] The Impulse of Instability

[27:40] Living with Trappist Monks as a Family Brother

[35:41] Feeding 1,600 Children Per Day Without Donations


Books that Influenced Shawn's Leadership

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Becoming Human by Jean Vanier


Looking for more episodes of the Growing with Purpose Podcast? Tune in



About Shawn Askinosie

In 2006, Shawn Askinosie left a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer to start a bean to bar chocolate factory and never looked back. Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch, award winning chocolate factory located in Springfield, Missouri, sourcing 100% of their beans directly from farmers that they profit share with on three continents. This summer will mark Shawn's 40th origin trip. Recently named by Forbes "One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America", Askinosie Chocolate has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on Bloomberg, MSNBC and numerous other national and international media outlets. Shawn was named by O, The Oprah Magazine "One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World." He has been awarded honorary doctorates from University of Missouri-Columbia and Missouri State University. Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author, recently praised the company's model: "[Shawn] has built a practice of creating a worthwhile luxury good that directly benefits people. Not sort of. Not a little. But directly.” Shawn is a Family Brother at Assumption Abbey, a Trappist monastery near Ava, Missouri and the co-founder of Lost & Found, a grief center serving children and families in Southwest Missouri. His new book - Meaningful Work: The Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling And Feed Your Soul, co-written with his daughter Lawren Askinosie, published by Penguin Random House released in November and is already a #1 bestseller on Amazon.