Shawn Askinosie is CEO and Founder of Askinosie Chocolate as well as author of the book Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul. Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch, award-winning chocolate factory located in Springfield, Missouri, sourcing 100% of their beans directly from farmers in regions all over the world and sharing the profits with them. The Askinosie Chocolate mission is to serve farmers, their neighborhoods, their customers, and each other by leaving the world a better place than they found it. So far the company has provided over a million school lunches to malnourished children in Tanzania and the Philippines, without any donations. Askinosie Chocolate was named by Forbes as “One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America” and Shawn was also named by O, The Oprah Magazine, as “One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World.”
In this episode, Stew and Shawn discuss Shawn’s remarkable personal journey from being a phenomenally successful criminal lawyer, who never lost a case, to a life-changing moment that caused him to realize he needed to leave the law. Shawn speaks candidly about the imperative to explore one’s grief, one’s “pain point,” helping others to help oneself. He co-founded a The Lost and Found Grief Center and worked in a palliative care unit, “searching, searching, searching” for five years before finding his way to chocolate making and working intimately, and directly without delegating, with indigenous cocoa bean farmers in the Amazon and Tanzania. Shawn’s story is honest, sometimes wrenching, and inspirational.