San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
The Association of Haitian Professionals (AHP) cordially invites you to another session of its
Learning & Transformation Series on:
Turning Haiti Cacao into a real business venture: the Askanya Experience
Synopsys: From being a winner of a USAID Business Plan Competition, Askanya – the first bean-to-bar organic startup chocolate maker in Haiti - has seen unprecedented growth within a year of operation. Cacao bean grown from Haiti is recognized worldwide as one of the premier varieties. And leading international chocolate confectionaries are fond of this high quality cacao. With this backdrop, Askanya’s ‘made in Haiti’ products are making their marks and progressively building a niche value chain in the high-end chocolate market.
How is this new player in the agribusiness sector continuing to increase business viability? Why can Askanya achieve economic impacts beyond the typical challenges of doing business in Haiti? What are the considerations for further expansion? Are there opportunities for investment? In this era of corporate social responsibility, how is Askanya making a difference in the local community? Can one visit or tour the chocolate manufacturing facilities on an upcoming trip to Haiti?
Answers to these and many more questions of interest will be offered during this session, including sampling and purchase of products on site. The history, vision, philosophy and path to success behind the Askanya brand will be discussed.
When: Friday December 2, 2016
Time: Doors open at 6:00 pm, event ends at 9:15 pm
Where: University of District of Columbia Clarke Law School
Contribution: To cover the event operational cost, Adult (above 18) contribution is $8.00, whereas Student and Youth (under 18) Contribution is $5.00. Webinar participation costs $10.00. Additional donation amounts are welcomed. Dues-paying members are exempt.
Please RSVP for planning purposes. For inquiries, contact Professional Development Dept at email@example.com .
Note: UDC is metro accessible and located walking distance from the Van Ness Metro station.
Corinne Joachim-Sanon Symietz
Mrs Joachim-Sanon Symietz is co-founder and CEO at Les Chocolateries Askanya S.A.
A prime motivator for starting the business was the goal of job creation in Haiti. Realizing that between 40-60 percent of the population works in agriculture, Corinne set out to make a difference back home after completing her MBA at Wharton, with an eye toward using local crops produced in Haiti. “When I did my research, I found that Haitian cacao is very well-evaluated on the international market—it’s in the top 50 in the world.
The idea came about November 2015 and by April 2016 she had a staff of seven full-time employees manufacturing chocolate bars to hit the high-end retail stores, organic shops and five-star hotels in time for Mother’s Day in Haiti. Within the next years, she hopes to make it into the likes of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and other specialty stores in the US. To that end, Corinne splits her time between Brooklyn Heights and the chocolate factory in Ouanaminthe, Haiti.
Corinne’s background encompasses tenure as an experienced professional in strategy, management and operations. She has lent her expertise in the public and private sector to: Government of Haiti (GOH) entities including the Ministry of Planning, the Office of the Prime Minister and Office of the President of Haiti; and Hormel Foods Inc. Her consultancy career includes engagements at renowned firms such as Accenture and RTX Technology Partners, LLC. Corinne holds a MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. And she earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Michigan
Mrs. Marisol Slater is one of the owners of The Chocolate House – formerly Biagio Fine Chocolate - a DC metro area retail point of sale for the Askanya products.
Marisol’s love for chocolate started when she began making chocolates as a stress reliever while completing her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Columbia College in Columbia, SC. She moved from eating chocolate to studying chocolate and completed her senior project on the history of the cacao industry in Latin America. After moving to Washington, DC, in 2010 for graduate school, Marisol was hired by Biagio Abbetiello at Biagio Fine Chocolate.
She combined her love of cacao and an interest in international development at American University in DC, where she continued research on the cultural, economic, and historical significance of cacao in Latin America. She completed a master’s degree in International Affairs with emphasis in social entrepreneurship and Latin America in 2012. In 2014, she and her colleagues Lu Liu and Alex Olivas took over ownership of Cocova. Marisol is focused on growing and strengthening connections between farmers, makers and consumers.
Alland ‘Al’ Léandre
Al Leandre immigrated to Washington D.C from Haiti as a boy and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C. Mr. Leandre earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University and worked as an engineer for several years. Later he earned a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Strategy in 2002.
After receiving his MBA, Mr. Leandre founded Vyalex Management Solutions, Inc., an engineering and program management consulting firm that uses cutting edge technology to help its Federal sector clients set goals and adopt strategies and tactics to information technology, systems engineering, acquisition management and workforce development.
As President/CEO, Al leads Vyalex in providing goods and services to the Department of Defense; other government agencies and industry. Al has won numerous awards over the years including the following: FIRN’s American Success Award in 2006; MD Top-100 MBE in 2007; the BEYA Entrepreneur Black Engineer of the Year in 2008. He served as a consumer member of the Maryland Board of Pharmacy, the public agency that licenses and monitors pharmacists and pharmacies in the state. He also served on the board of Alumni Governors at the Ross School of Business. He is currently on the board of advisors at the Syracuse University School of Information Science and the foundation board of the college of Southern Maryland.
When & Where
Association of Haitian Professionals - AHP
The Association of Haitian Professionals (AHP) is a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington DC that promotes and supports the professional development of Haitians and those of Haitian descent through education, mentoring, workshops, programs and networking.
Contact Us -
Mailing Address -
Association of Haitian Professionals (AHP)
PO Box 55001
Washington DC 20040