Our Team

IRA Leibtag

Founder and CEO

  • Loves chocolate so much that he created Cholaca because a pure liquid cacao didn’t exist.
  • Created a proprietary process to emulsify cacao in water and named it Cholaca.
  • Went to York University, then the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto (where he’s from) and was a concert pianist before a successful career in entertainment sound production.
  • Designed and produced television network signature sounds, feature film scores and commercial jingles, and led the Jurassic Park Lost World audio team for MCA/Universal’s theme park.
  • Built first web radio station called excite.fm
  • Is married to the love of his life Mary and they have two beautiful daughters.
  • Likes to drink his Cholaca with half and half.

Mike Ross

VP Operations

  • Originally from New York, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Boulder
  • Voted best all-around kid in kindergarten
  • Graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in finance
  • After a short stint living in New York City, moved to Kentucky and started a company sourcing reclaimed wood from old tobacco barns
  • Following the sale of his company made his way back to Boulder and eventually landed in the natural products / foods sector, met Ira, and the rest is history
  • Loves hanging out with his wife, Sara, and their long-haired miniature dachshund, “The Mongrel”
  • Likes his Cholaca with orange soda

Natalia Crofut

CFO

  • Graduated from the Institut D’Etudes Politiques, Paris, France with a Masters in International Business and Leeds School of Business, Boulder, CO with an MBA.
  • Was in finance internationally for over 25 years- it’s now her personal mission to mentor entrepreneurs of natural products start-ups.
  • Lived and cooked for her entourage in France for 23 years and is very inspired to be part of Boulder’s natural products community.
  • Married to Gilles, who goes to the local market every week to seek out seasonal produce and cooks delicious meals for friends and family.
  • Likes to drink her Cholaca in shots with colleagues at work or with friends at home in her kitchen. She is especially excited when she can grab samples of bulk chocolate to whip up a fudge recipe to pour over ice cream.

Kate Stahler Starrett

Marketing and Bulk Sales

  • Grew up on a farm in New Hampshire.
  • Got her English Degree with an Italian minor at the University of Utah- she also ski raced division 1 at UT.
  • Lived in Aspen CO and worked as a Class V Raft Guide for 6 summers.
  • Moved to Italy to work for Rollerblade and Nordica while learning to speak Italian.
  • Lived in Austria with her Pilot husband and two young children and learned to speak German.
  • Moved back to Boulder to raise their two active boys and jack russell named Hub.
  • Likes to drink her Cholaca in her morning latte- Cholaca Almond milk mocha.

Yoon Park

Sales and Marketing Intern

  • Is originally from South Korea, but spent most of his childhood in Colorado Springs.
  • Entering his fourth year as a finance and accounting major at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • When he’s not at school or in the office, you can find him playing music or playing volleyball outside.
  • Enjoys drinking Cholaca in his protein shakes after a hard workout or when he starts his day.