Name: Joanne Sundell
Company: Dark Forest Chocolate Makers, Inc.
Why did you join NYSW: I joined after attending a meeting as a guest of a friend mine, Laurie Lonie, who is a NYSW member. As a first-time entrepreneur, I appreciated how welcoming and encouraging everyone was. Our members, who are extraordinary women, are willing to share what they've learned and are eager to see each other succeed.
Another reason I joined is to add my voice to the many. NYSW's political advocacy actions influence policy making that I care about as a woman and a citizen of New York State.
Interesting Facts: I love to grow veggies and flowers, and have a nice-sized surburban garden. My favorite (and most successful) crop is Japanese hull-less popcorn! Fresh organic popcorn tastes great.
Bio: I've been an adjunct professor of History at Erie Community College in Buffalo since 2003. In that time my husband, Dan, and I have raised two great boys named Will and Jack who are 12 and 10 years old.
In August 2014, we started Dark Forest Chocolate Makers, Inc.--the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the Western New York. What's unique about our chocolate is that it's make with premium cacao beans--roasted and ground right in our shop--and sugar. That's it! The flavor comes from the cacao beans themselves, not from additives. And a bean's flavor depends on many things, like its area of origin, and how it has been fermented, roasted, and ground.
Starting a chocolate-making business is interesting and challenging journey, and it's pretty fun!