Our Story: Chocolate, A platform for personal and professional growth


Join me on a journey that was sparked by anger over injustices in an industry that only represented comfort to me. Oddly, I learned over time that this journey was really triggered by personal pain and would become a platform for processing, healing, forgiveness and connection for myself and others.   


My journey started with the awareness that my actions weren’t linked to my true values. I discovered that one of my favorite comfort foods, chocolate, was associated with so many injustices, including child slave labor, poverty, land grabs, endangered species, deforestation and green house gas emissions. I spent more money on chocolate that was labeled with various certifications believing the extra amount paid would elevate lives. I thought that this money must go back to the farmer and their community. Right? Wrong.

I worked with cacao farmers and their families. They shared stories about their personal and professional lives. The good and the not so good. Everything from land that had been in their families for generations and now being taken away, to the pride they felt regarding the increased quality of the cacao they are growing and harvesting, along with the dreams they have for themselves and future generations.

These interactions, left me mindful. I felt sad that what I thought to be truths were not. One could pay more with the hopes of more economic equality and nothing changed. You could be a good person, care about people and also treat them poorly. I also felt happy.

Despite the personal and profession differences between myself and those I was work with, there was a common link. We all wanted to feel valued. We all wanted to be heard. We all craved lives full of good health, safety, happiness and independence.

We were all also the product of generations before us. As children, we were witness to words and actions within our homes and throughout our communities. We were expected to respect and follow the rules within our homes and live within the lines of cultural and community norms. We wanted our parent’s approval, our parent’s wanted their parent’s approval. If one didn’t receive consistent approval and felt put down frequently, self worth would often not form and/or deteriorate. This often led to closing down and engaging in behaviors that were self destructive and had a negative impact on family, friends, community and the broader world.

As a thinker and problem solver, I have always challenged the status quo. My passion has always been pioneering non-traditional products within companies that served a myriad of unmet needs. Hence, I was inspired to start a company that was aligned with personal pain close to home and within cacao growing regions, the impact of multi-generational trauma that impacts all our personal and professional relationship

Simply, this journey and our goals have been huge and perhaps daunting, but also inspiring and invigorating. Many
people tilt their heads when hearing about our big picture plan for the  first time. that’s okay, because most pioneers know that they are stretching beyond the current point of comfort for the purpose of improving something dear to the hearts
of many.

We do breathe a little easier knowing that the research facts we have uncovered are aligned with all we believe to needed by people near and far, social impact-minded businesses, academic institutions and investors. Each find value in CocoaCompassion, ThePOD and MyPodGrows, creative expression, values-based self-care and leadership offerings.

If you share in our dream for more people to feel valued, to find their voice, live their values, and stay balanced in a fast-paced world, join us on this journey. We will bring you inside the story. You can hear about why we are developing new products, introducing thought provoking experiences, debating hot topics and listening to new ideas.


Onward ho!


Ready? Let’s go. Perhaps chocolate can be a tool for you, too.

– Joy Batashoff Thaler


Founder, CocoaCompassion®


CocoaCompassion® envisions a world where no one is locked into a cycle of poverty; where all have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives, complete with passion, purpose, and economic independence.


We focus on inspiring people to achieve better lives. We accomplish this by providing opportunities and training through the use of chocolate and tapping of local resources.


Our leadership team is interdisciplinary. We come out of manufacturing, film, marketing, academia, finance, climate smart farming, applied science, engineering, foraging, coaching, culinary design, intellectual property law,  ecoagriculture, design thinking, sales,rural development, environmental justice, machine learning,consulting,and more.