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Past Speakers

Eddie Opler

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of World's Finest Chocolate

Edmond F. Opler (Eddie) has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of World’s Finest® Chocolate, a Chicago-based family-owned business, since 2003. Prior to that, he worked in various roles in sales, marketing, operations and general management after joining the company in 1994.

Founded by Eddie’s grandfather in 1939, World’s Finest Chocolate is best known for its chocolate fundraising business and works with over 25,000 organizations annually. Since 1949, the company has helped youth-based charities raise over $4 billion dollars. In addition, World’s Finest Chocolate manufactures Queen Anne® cordial cherries and a delicious selection of chocolate gift products.

Before World’s Finest Chocolate, Eddie worked at Carle & Montanari (now CM-OPM), a machinery & equipment manufacturer for the chocolate industry. Eddie serves the industry as a Trustee of the National Confectioner’s Association and as a Trustee of the World Cocoa Foundation, focused on the long-term sustainability of the supply chain of cocoa in the world. Previously, he served as Vice Chairman of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. Eddie was one of three nominees in 2008 for the Kettle Award as Candy Manufacturer of the Year. 

Beyond World’s Finest Chocolate, Eddie is a co-owner of High Country Outfitters, the iconic outdoor sporting goods store based in Jackson Hole, WY, dedicated to apparel, sporting goods and services for skiing, fishing, hunting and camping. Eddie is currently serving on the Chicago Board of Directors for Junior Achievement (2005 – present) and is a Trustee of the Trout and Salmon Foundation (2006 – present). Eddie has served on the Board of Trustees of Chicago Zoological Society, better known as the Brookfield Zoo (2006 - 2009). An avid golfer, Eddie is a member of Chicago Golf Club and Hinsdale Golf Club. 

Eddie earned his undergraduate degree in History from Middlebury College in 1993 and received his MBA from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business in 2001.

He resides with his wife Sarah, three daughters and son in Hinsdale.

Event Takeaways

  • Your employees are savvier than you are in improving the operations of your business. Everybody is savvy; for us, it's the secret chocolate sauce that helps us continually improve.
  • We have a natural tendance to shield our employees when times are tough. Look them in the eye, tell the truth, and be transparent; they will respect you more for it.
  • Town Hall meetings and meetings with my staff in a smaller setting, like a lunch, leave me energized with pages of notes on how to improve the business. They also help me dispel rumors so we can focus on the business.