Meet Sonya Zilavec, the woman behind the scenes that is responsible for overseeing Wabi Sabi’s entire chocolate production process


What’s your role at Wabi Sabi Brands?
I am the Production Lead which means I am responsible for the entire production process of our products. This includes planning, organizing and recommending strategies in ensuring that our product are developed successfully and in accordance with all of Health Canada food standards.

What does a typical work day look like for you?
A typical work day starts off with chocolate!  As soon as I walk into the operations floor I go to our tempering machines to make sure the chocolate is melted for the day’s production run.  We use a Tuttuno machine to produce our chocolate that requires a daily inspection even before we start producing.  It is my responsibility to make sure that all of our equipment is set to the correct temperatures, and all our paperwork is filled correctly according to Health Canada standards. I am constantly in communication with other team members in the morning (especially our quality assurance team) to ensure our chocolate is correctly batched with cannabis for the production run.  Once I press the start button on our Tuttuno machine, the operations floor really comes alive.

Sonya Zilavec is Wabi Sabi’s Production Lead, which means she is responsible for the production of all Wabi Sabi’s chocolates from start to finish. Prior to working with Wabi Sabi, she worked in Alberta’s energy sector as well as construction.

What did you do prior to working for Wabi Sabi Brands?
Prior to Wabi Sabi I worked in the energy sector, as well as in construction. I built Cannabis retail stores for consumers.  This enabled me to understand and learn the importance of standards and regulations that are required in order for us to have our sales licence. Be bold and do it!

What have been some of the highlights working for a cannabis chocolate company so far?
Even though everyday may seem like a typical day, there is always something new to learn in cannabis and how it works with                chocolate.  I also enjoy working for a very small start-up company because we are all very supportive of one another. Nothing we do is ever wrong, we are always growing and improving. The more we do the more we learn. What we learn today will help future understanding and growth.  We are all in this together.

What is your favourite part about your job?
I love when people come to tour the facility because it gives me a tremendous amount of pride. When they are behind the scenes witnessing how we create our amazing products, they become a part of this great adventure.

What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the cannabis space?
Be bold and do it! The world is full of great women to support the growth of this industry. I have had the pleasure in meeting many amazing women currently involved in the Cannabis space… I strongly recommend you reach out and introduce yourself to cannabis companies and ask as many questions as you like.

What’s something someone would never guess about you?
I love horses but I will never ride one. I have tattoos because I love the art; all my tattoos were done by female tattooers because I love supporting women artists. I enjoy going to the gun range and shooting targets, the strength required for eye/hand coordination is amazing. This past year I was given an amazing opportunity to do something that I have never done… I became a bartender at The Backlot which is part of the LGBTQ community that I am so proud to be a part of.  At that time I was the only lesbian working in the bar and it was wonderful and empowering to see so many women come in and support each other.

Favourite “guilty pleasure”?
Binge watching shows and being able to sleep in. Doesn’t it feel good to not have to set your alarm? To wake up with the sun, fully energized and ready to start the day? I also love people.