October 15 to November 10, annually
Celebrating all things chocolate. And all things that pair with chocolate, cooking with chocolate, thinking outside the chocolate box… and more

Advisory Board

Sandra Smith

Sandra comes to the Advisory Board of the Festival of Chocolate, bringing with her years of governance and board experience. Dedicated to improving not for profit board management, board and staff interaction and good goverance, Sandra's experience will greatly enhance the Festival of Chocolate, it's business development and strategic planning. Sandra is Vice President of the Canadian Parking Association, works in Bylaws for the City of Whistler, played an amazing role in the 2010 Olympics, and has active operational experience, not only in not for profits, but in the business world as well. Sandra's 30 years of experience will be a great fit for the festival board and management team. Her love of food, beverage, culinary tourism, her world travels experiencing different foods, chocolates, cultures and events, and her attention to detail guarantees a great future for the Festival of Chocolate.


Nicole Frontzek

Nicole Frontzek has a German university degree in Communication Sciences and English. After her studies she worked as a Project Manager marketing for four years. During this time she was in charge of many events such as trade fairs, international workshops and corporate summer festivals. Nicole is very experienced in project management, has valuable knowledge regarding marketing tools and loves to share her knowledge with youth. She lives in Germany and is visiting Canada to learn more about Canadian events. Therefore, she is happy to work as a marketing mentor within the 2011 Festival of Chocolate.


Chelsea Reeves

Chelsea Reeves has recently graduated from Simon Fraser University and has received a Bachelor of Business Administration Honours degree with a concentration in Human Resources Management and a minor in Philosophy. She was the Human Resources Manager in the 2010 Festival of Chocolate and looks forward to guiding this year’s interns with her knowledge and experience.


Siong Chan – Creative Director

Siong Chan is a Creative Director with over 9 years of design experience overseeing visual communication design and user experience design for various large and small businesses, as well as non-profit organizations. In 2010, he co-founded Kinjoe, a social network for finding new friends around where you live. From 2011 onwards, he will establish and manage visual branding for Festival of Chocolate. He is deeply obsessed about form and function, and believes that they are equally as important.


Maria Dowa

A University of British Columbia Graduate with a degree in Psychology and Family Science, Maria is currently transitioning into the Human Resources and Nutrition field. With experience as an employment counselor and HR Manager of the 2011 National Chef's Conference, Maria will be mentoring, advising and developing the volunteer program for the 2011 Festival of Chocolate.


Jaclyn Laic

Jaclyn Laic has been facilitating growth and collaboration within British Columbia’s agriculture, tourism and foodservice industries since 2004. Her passion to make a difference contributed to the development of initiatives such as Eat BC! and Chef Friendly Farmers Markets, programs that have led to new business opportunities and significant increases in local food sales since 2006. Always up for a new challenge, Jaclyn was thrilled to help coordinate local talent and outdoor entertainment for feature at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In 2011, she took flight with WestJet and now enjoys splitting her time between earth bound consulting and flying with her head in the clouds. With a constant appreciation for all things chocolate, Jaclyn is thankful for the opportunity to participate, support and contribute to British Columbia’s tastiest festival. Let there be chocolate!


Maria Schollen

Maria Schollen, owner of Niche Event Stylists, graduated from BCIT in event planning, and also holds a degree in fashion design, is an interior designer, floral designer and mother of three fabulous children. She is married to Tony Schollen for over 20 years.

Maria was the Executive Event Planner with Go Golf Events from 2006 to 2009, responsible for design development and production of all events, including the Chocolate Festival. In 2009, Maria supervised more than 65 festival events. Creating events and tournaments with President and CEO, Dawn Donahue, saw award winning nominations for events such as the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame Gala, CareCruiser dinner, Shriner’s Golf Tournaments, BC Hospitality Foundation of British Columbia and the Founders Dinners.

Maria's keen eye for color and detail of events always moves any event to the next level. Design and event planning are the cornerstones of Maria's company, fashion forward, inspirational, and always fresh. With a love of food, wine, cheese and chocolate, Maria was an ideal producer for the Festival of Chocolate, and is a welcome addition to the Advisory Board.


Go Golf Events Management offers career building and resume building meaningful work experience to volunteers. Please contact Dawn Donahue at for information.



Cocoa and Chocolate has an amazing history, lots of great stories and recipes - Discover Now, and link to the Chocolate and More page http://www.festivalofchocolate.ca/en/facts/