Women & Leadership: Breaking Barriers in Law, Science & Business

Syovata Edari

How do women break barriers in business?  What are the unique obstacles they encounter?  How do they forge opportunities?  Join us for the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy's colloquium series on women in leadership, where we highlight chief executive officers, executive directors, and business leaders changing the way we think about women and entrepreneurship.  This spring we will feature a discussion with Syovata Edari, an award-winning chocolatier, businesswoman, and lawyer who has taken the world of chocolate by storm.

This event continues as a part of a larger workshop series that focuses on bringing the career paths of entrepreneurs in science and business to the forefront. Last year we featured Kay Napier, the CEO of Arbonne International Cosmetics.  Please join us.

March 20, 2017
MPAA Executive Commons
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Light lunch will be served

Co-Sponsored by the UCI Paul Merage School of Business

About Syovata Edari

Syovata Edari (Vata) is a businesswoman, chocolatier and, and lawyer.  She has been recognized as a leading voice and advocate in the U.S. criminal justice system, both in the public and private sectors. Ms. Edari graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Law in 2001. After an appellate court clerkship, she began practicing in the State Public Defender Office in Milwaukee, WI, in 2003. Her career in public interest law included serving as an Assistant Federal Defender in the federal District of Kansas and the Eastern District of Washington.  In 2013, Ms. Edari was inspired to establish her own firm to handle high profile state and federal criminal cases. Her work has been praised for breaking new ground in sentencing advocacy, the use of technology in the courtroom, including sentencing videos.  Often her cases involve complex litigation, identifying and developing novel legal arguments, as well as defending against unusual prosecutions of rarely invoked statutes such as the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act. 

Ms. Edari is also the founder of CocoVaa Chocolatier, a boutique, artisanal chocolate company. Her company is known for unique flavor combinations that reflect Ms. Edari's own diverse background and experiences, including her travel in Kenya, Jamaica, France, Italy, and other nations throughout the world.  Although she’s been a chocolate “hobbyist” since she can remember, in 2014 she decided to pursue formal training through Ecole Chocolat where she developed a strong foundation in classic chocolate technique. In part to relieve the stress of trial practice, Ms. Edari continued to pursue knowledge in the world of the chocolate arts. Her fascination with chocolate took her to L’Hermitage, France in April 2016 where she was trained at Valrhona, further expanding her scope into the versatile world of chocolate. On her return from France, she founded CocoVaa Chocolatier and launched a small “microfactory” in a shared commercial kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin. She has been featured in numerous magazines and media outlets for her chocolates. In April 2017 she will travel to Italy to work with Italian master chocolatiers in their chocolate laboratory on the shores of Lake Como.

Syovata Edari and CocoVaa


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Michele Goodwin
(949) 824-3897

Nassim Alisobhani
(949) 824-5601 

Merima Tricic
Senior Fellow