On a chocolate mission: A socially conscious entrepreneur

Shawn Askinosie is the founder and owner of Askinosie Choco­late, a socially and environmentally conscious business in Springfield, Missouri. Askinosie works closely with farmers in four global regions. While producing award-winning chocolate, he seeks to create a business in which everyone in­volved—from farmer to factory worker to buyer—thrives.

How did you get into the chocolate business?
I was a criminal defense lawyer for 20 years and was ready for a career change. I thought about the food business be­cause I had taken up the hobby of grilling, which turned into baking, which turned into making chocolate desserts. Especially cupcakes.

I spent about five years in prayer that God would give me something else to do. I was on my way to a memorial service for a relative in 2005 when the idea came to me to make chocolate from scratch. I had been making chocolate desserts, but at that time I didn't know what "from scratch" meant. I didn't even know that chocolate came from a bean.