Nicole Patel: Finding Your Career Sweet Spot

August 16 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!


When I was a kid, nearly every one of my T-shirts was stained with chocolate milk. Yeah, I’ll admit it: I’m a chocoholic. When Lucille Ball was stuffing her mouth with chocolates coming down the assembly line in I Love Lucy, I thought that’s what heaven must be like.

We all have something we can’t resist. Maybe it’s glazed doughnuts or romantic comedies or disco music. Whatever it may be, today, ignore the so-called rules of adulthood and treat yourself to a much-deserved delight.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 18.7 Percent

Women are often seen as cooks rather than chefs. It’s still assumed they’ll make the family dinner but not much more than that. These kinds of assumptions are silly, of course. Many men are the primary cooks at home, after all.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a mere 18.7 percent of chefs and head cooks in the U.S. are women. That number has dropped since 2006, when it was 23.9 percent. When women do land those coveted chef positions, they earn just 83.5 percent of men’s salaries. That’s not exactly a sweet or savory deal.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Nicole Patel, Owner and Chocolatier of Delysia Chocolatier

Nicole Patel is the owner and chocolatier of Delysia Chocolatier. But she has an unexpected background for being one of the International Chocolate Salon and Taste TV’s Top 10 Chocolatiers in America.

Nicole worked at a Fortune 100 company as an industrial engineer before exploring her sweet side. While eight months pregnant during the holidays, she watched some cooking shows to learn how to make something especially tasty for holiday gifts. Nicole continued to whip up delectable chocolate truffles, tweaking recipes here and there. Friends would come over to visit her baby and try her chocolate, with rave reviews. Soon enough, her truffle hobby led her to start a homegrown business, one that was financed with no outside help.

Each chocolate is designed and handcrafted by Nicole. Delysia offers such delicacies as chocolate bark, molded chocolate, even drinking chocolate. And the truffles are to die for! Listen up, wine lovers: Nicole was the first chocolatier in Texas to use local wines in her chocolate recipes. My two favorite things combined!

It’s true that Nicole makes melt-in-your-mouth, crave-worthy chocolates, but she also uses her company to give back to her community. Every year, 10 to 15 percent of Delysia’s revenue is given to the community through financial gifts, volunteerism and donations.

Setting out on an engineering path but detouring toward an award-winning chocolate business was a winning decision for Nicole, and is proof that you never know just how sweet your life can be until you pursue your dreams.


I’ll leave you with this quote from Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho de Souza, who said:

“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Do it now.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

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