Kevin Stiner | November 03, 2022
The Candy Man
Troy Pearley ’92 joined the sweetest of company in the month of October as he was inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame by the National Confectioners Sales Association (NCSA).
His career has included positions with many of the best-known chocolatiers in the confectionary industry, which ultimately led to Pearley’s present role as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Divine Chocolate USA.
“The Candy Hall of Fame piece is unbelievable,” said Pearley, who also received the Outstanding Service Award from the SUNY Brockport Alumni Association in October. “It’s the highest honor you can get in the confection industry. That was really nice that my peers recognized the work that I’ve done over the years at Ghirardelli, Godiva, and now Divine.”
Inductees into the Candy Hall of Fame must have at least 20 years of experience in the confectionery industry, demonstrate loyalty to building and supporting the industry above normal job requirements, and have an unimpeachable record of integrity and respect.
“Troy’s induction exemplifies what the Candy Hall of Fame is all about — recognizing individuals who have spent their careers giving back to make the industry better. He is eager to share his knowledge and experience, mentoring young leaders making their way in the industry to ensure a strong future for the overall category.”
Teresa Tarantino, Executive Director, NCSA/Candy Hall of Fame
Pearley volunteers through the National Confectioners Association (NCA) mentorship program to help young professionals in the industry. Additionally, he serves on a variety of NCA boards, including the association’s board of trustees and the chocolate council.
“I was shocked when I first heard I was nominated. Once you start working, at least for me, your head is down trying to move the ball forward for lack of a better term and I’m just trying to amplify Divine Chocolate. I was actually with my team trying to get more distribution of the product (when he learned of the nomination),” said Pearley. “I want you to go into Wegmans and pick it up, I want you to go into Whole Foods to pick it up, I want you to go to Rite Aid and Walgreens. That was my focus, but apparently my peers were watching the progress of the company over the years.”
Pearley has held managerial roles with Pepperidge Farm, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, and Godiva Chocolatier, and even spent time with Nestle-Purina before Divine. His focus has always been on growing the companies that employ him. Over for the last decade he’s spent with Divine, that mission has an even greater emphasis because of the company’s impact.
Divine Chocolate is the world’s first and only Fairtrade and B-Corp certified premium chocolate company that is co-owned by cocoa farmers. B-Corp Certification is a designation that demonstrates that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency.
“From a work standpoint it made me more accountable for what I do on a daily basis in terms of managing Divine Chocolate,” shared Pearley. “Ultimately, I want to make a great impact where we’re improving the lives of farmers, so it’s not a tagline. Sincerely, I would like to help as many cocoa farmers as possible out of the regions where we source cocoa, in São Tomé, Ghana, and other parts of the world.”
Cocoa farmers in Ghana own 20-percent of Divine Chocolate through a co-operative program named Kuapa Kokoo, which means ‘good cocoa farmer’ in Twi – a Ghanaian language.
“Troy’s focus on sustainability in the farming and production of chocolate, along with empowering farmers and improving their lives is exemplary,” added Tarantino.
In addition to supporting the farmers that produce the cocoa used for Divine Chocolate, the company is also committed to sourcing outstanding ingredients. Its chocolate products are made with Fairtrade sugar, rich Fairtrade cocoa, and cocoa butter while excluding palm oil, soy, and GMOs. Even the packaging is environmentally friendly – using recyclable foil and paper.
During Pearley’s Candy Hall of Fame induction speech, he shared a quote, ‘To whom much is given, much is required,’ before sharing how these words resonated with his life.
“I was in fact given a lot, afforded opportunities that were probably not extended to most children in the community I was raised in, located in Crown Heights Brooklyn,” said Pearley. “My mother and grandmother sacrificed so much for me to have this moment. My uncles and aunts raised me as if I was theirs.
“They all held me accountable for my actions and supported me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. They believed in me when I had doubts. This recognition is truly a result of my family’s efforts to raise a responsible hard working productive black male. My mother and grandmother’s patience, love, and guidance while I navigated through my adolescent years and young adult years has manifested itself today. I cannot thank them enough.”