Alyssa is the 2019 runner-up for the Leukemia Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year. In ten-weeks she raised an incredible $417,000 - the highest amount any runner-up has raised in Houston, or the nation - for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The LLS Man & Woman of the Year is philanthropic competition to support blood cancer research among a group of motivated and dedicated individuals in communities across the United States. The 2019 Houston candidate class raised a record-breaking $1,875,848. Alyssa says, “This was so much more than titles and winning; it was about giving cancer the boot!”
Annie owns Cacao & Cardamom Chocolatier, which made the 2018 Entrepreneur 360™ List! Entrepreneur Magazine identifies 360 small businesses each year that are mastering the art and science of growing a business. Companies apply and are evaluated based on five metrics: impact, innovation, growth, leadership and business valuation.
Annie opened Cacao & Cardamom in 2012. She studied anthropology and religion at Boston University and abroad in London and Amman. During her travels, she gained a special appreciation for food and began her love affair with the culinary arts. Coming from a South Asian background, the smell of cardamom, cumin, coriander, fennel, and fenugreek were spices that flowed through her house, but were rarely appreciated until she began to see food in a different light. After she graduated from Boston University, she began studying for the law school admissions exam and took breaks by reading books about chocolatiering. This led to ordering 30 lbs. of coverture chocolate, a mini-tempering machine, and a very messy kitchen. Three days after the test date, Annie made her way to Pakistan where she spent six months working on Early Childhood Development projects. There, she found a pastry school in Malaysia and attended a week of chocolatiering courses. Once back in Houston, what was just a week-long break from the LSATs turned into a passion for the art of chocolate. What followed was the infusion of flavors from her upbringing and travels, which is now Cacao & Cardamom Chocolatiers.