Let me introduce you to Ramona S. Thomas, the founder and Chief Sweets Officer of My Chocolate Soul, a Chicago-based sweets company that specializes in all-natural, artisan chocolates for business clients and high-profile events. My Chocolate Soul grew out of Ramona’s love of baking and sweets, especially chocolate. Although she had baked for many years, the initial idea for starting the business came after taking an introduction to French pastries course at the French Pastry School in Chicago. Ramona felt so at home in a commercial kitchen that she began thinking about how she could spend more time in one doing what she really loved. With an initial plan, a personal financial investment, some formal training, and support and encouragement from family and friends, the business was born. Ramona is a graduate (with honors) of Ecole Chocolat’s Professional School of Chocolate Arts Professional Chocolatier Program. She also completed Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy’s program for professional chocolatiers, and continuing education courses at the French Pastry School and Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago.
Before launching the business in January 2011, Dr. Thomas spent 18 years working in education. She has extensive experience in education, philanthropy, and non-profit management, and in developing and implementing new initiatives from the ground up. Her last position was Co-Founder and Vice President of Partners For Developing Futures, a nonprofit social venture investment fund created to provide startup funding to high-potential, early-stage minority-led charter schools and charter school networks that educate underserved students. She created and ran the day-to-day operations for three years, including developing the organization’s strategic focus, application and selection processes, financial investments, and leadership development activities for charter school leaders of color. Before that, Dr. Thomas was a partner with NewSchools Venture Fund in San Francisco, where she led various network activities for the firm and its portfolio of ventures. She was previously program director for knowledge management and evaluation at KnowledgeWorks Foundation in Ohio where she advanced and institutionalized the Foundation’s approach to evaluating its initiatives and developed the organization’s knowledge management infrastructure. She also initiated and led vital strategic planning activities to assess the Foundation’s performance and success.
Dr. Thomas began her career in philanthropy in 1997 as an evaluation consultant for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York. She was one of three researchers who evaluated the Foundation’s Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program, an initiative established to increase the pipeline of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups into doctoral degree programs nationwide. Dr. Thomas subsequently joined the Spencer Foundation in 1998 as an associate program officer where she administered the Foundation’s newly-established Conference Program and co-managed its prestigious Dissertation Fellowship Program. During her tenure at the Spencer Foundation, she also reviewed grant proposals and made funding recommendations; organized research conferences; and maintained relationships with staff, grantees, committee members, and the board.
Dr. Thomas has held management and consultant positions in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Brown University and a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received the Phi Delta Kappa Award for Outstanding Dissertation in the Graduate School of Education. Her doctoral training focused on higher education, quantitative research methods, and program evaluation. She has worked and volunteered with pre-college programs at the secondary level, and served on the Board of Directors of Alain Locke Charter Academy, a high-performing K-8 public charter school in Chicago from 2008-2012.
Please visit Ramona at “My Chocolate Soul” at 4442 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640. Phone: (773) 234-7141. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also order directly on her website at: www.mychocolatesoul.com