Company: Choicolate – Artisan Chocolates
What do you do? I craft specialty chocolates with natural ingredients and premium European chocolate. I also do recipe development and testing for new products as well as production management for the boutique menu.
Length of time at this job: One year, seven months.
What is it that you like best about your job? Making customers smile. Creating an authentic treasure that always brings joy.
Education/Major: Music; I am classically trained in Bulgarian folk music.
What career path led you to where you are today? I am a professional Bulgarian folk singer and voice trainer. I have traveled the world as a member of the Bulgarian Voices Angelite from Sofia, Bulgaria. Following music studies at New Bulgarian University in Sofia and touring with the choir, I moved to South Korea, where I worked with a band briefly before teaching and tutoring English in Korean schools and privately. While in Korea for just over nine years, I met my husband, Leroy, and gave birth to our first son. God’s providence led us to San Antonio following my husband’s U.S. Army retirement. I wanted to continue in my profession as a voice trainer here in the U.S.; however, I was given the opportunity to become a chocolatier and owner of Choicolate – Artisan Chocolates. The business was established in 2010 by a Korean couple, who decided to leave the business for personal reasons. Leroy and I intended to start a small European- styled café here in San Antonio; however, we discovered Choicolate and loved everything about the business. We bought the business in early 2014 and have continued the tradition of handcrafted, all-natural ingredients with premium European chocolates.
When did you know that you were in the right place in your career? The moment I recognized Choicolate as our means to show God’s love to others and to see others experience the joy of simple pleasures.
Would you encourage your children to go into the same field? I’d encourage our sons to find purpose for their lives, to decide what brings joy; their spiritual gift. And, “yes,” especially if it is their God-given gift.
Who were your mentors? Life. I’ve been exposed to lots of people, including family and professional colleagues. No one particular person is a mentor when you’ve been exposed to lots of gifted people.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? I’ve always wanted to teach, especially children and particularly music.
What do you enjoy doing on a day off? Spending time with my family and traveling whenever time permits.
What is your favorite thing to do in San Antonio? San Antonio is very family- oriented, so I wouldn’t call one thing in particular my “favorite.” It’s so rich in history and child-friendly. Pools, parks and the children’s museum.
How would you describe your personal style? Casual stylishness and elegance.
How would you describe your leadership style? Authoritarian, but slightly mothering (which is probably the same thing).
What is your favorite vacation? Mountains with snow.
What is your all-time favorite movie? Chocolat (2000) with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.
What is your favorite cell phone app? Holy Bible.
What type of music do you like? Contemporary Christian and contemporary music.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life personally and professionally?
I put my faith in God first above all things. My grandmother is the biggest influence in my life personally and professionally. She always believed in my ability to learn and encouraged me to study and develop my talents as well as common skills. She instilled in me the work ethic that guides my efforts at home with my family as well as our business operation.
What community or not-for-profit groups are you involved with as a volunteer? Church choir. My time is limited for volunteerism. However, my husband and I contribute to charitable children’s events and organizations
What do you like most about San Antonio? It’s so friendly to families with children. We have two young sons, and there’s always somewhere to be or something to see.
Do you have a favorite restaurant? Korean Restaurant, Sushi Express.
Do you have a favorite dish? Bolgogi.
How do you find balance in your life – career, community and home life? Praying and reading the Bible
What is your favorite relaxation strategy? Getting my husband to massage my feet. Singing.
What are your goals? Personally, to be Godly as well as the best wife and mother. Professionally, to be an industry leader in touch with customers.
What is the best advice that you have ever received? Enjoy life. Don’t take it too seriously. Laugh.