chocolate, character and community

I love chocolate. Chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, chocolate pie, chocolate brownies, chocolate candy (especially with nuts). I can easily pass on most sweets… but not chocolate. Over the years, my tastes have drawn me to dark chocolate. That is now my unquestionable favorite.

yum webWhen I was recently in Birmingham in the UK, we had the opportunity to tour the Cadbury factory. What a treat! I have always enjoyed learning about how things are made, but chocolate… the best of all worlds! It was a chilly day for walking around… but so worth it! Our first stop included a sample of warm, melted chocolate over our choice of toppings. It was amazingly delicious – as you can tell!

better conditions webWe then moved on to displays that demonstrated a bit of the history and processes. A friend had encouraged us to look for the Human Resource connections in the company foundations, and we were not disappointed. George and Richard Cadbury were men of great character. They obviously cared for people as well as profit… and did not sacrifice quality or integrity to accomplish both goals. There were numerous testimonies and historical evidences of the Cadbury’s commitment to their employees and their families. The Cadbury brothers provided out-of-the-norm housing and education opportunities, dental and medical care, recreation and vacation possibilities for their workers. I have often sensed the tension between people and production, but these men have proven that both can flourish together.

greatest gift horizontal webGeorge and Richard took care of their people by providing community. In 1879, the Cadburys expanded their facilities… and their contributions to Birmingham. The factory, called Bournville, was known as a “factory in a garden” because of the stream, green areas, and gardens all throughout. It is still a very attractive place today. The brothers built homes, schools, hospitals, reading rooms, and gardens for what became known as Bournville village. George and Richard understood that as they invested in individuals, they ensured a society change ROI also. Their example was inspiring to me as I dream about the positive impact that my actions can have in a scope much larger than my own life.

I’ve included a few references below if you’d like to read more about the Cadbury legacy. I suggest that you accompany your study with a Cadbury Milk bar or a Cadbury Egg – for maximum educational benefit!


Have you experienced leaders who are able to combine care for their people and profit/success?