Thank you so much to Tallahassee Community College for honoring me, on behalf of Tallahassee Foodies, for Women’s History Month. This year’s theme, Essential Women.
Today we celebrate Jennifer Leale! Jennifer Leale was raised in Georgia and moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University where she earned her master’s degree in information technology management. During this time she fell in love with the area and decided to stay. While she currently works for FSU Information Technology Services as a custom web applications developer, Jennifer is probably best known in this area for her work with Tallahassee Foodies.
Jennifer created the Facebook group a little over two years ago with the hope she might stay in contact with some of her lunch friends after she changed jobs and would learn a little more about what Tallahassee had to offer. Since that time the group membership has grown to 26,000 members with a team of 6 admins and 2 interns, all working to educate community members about what Tallahassee has to offer. Jennifer’s positivity, leadership and love of community have sparked economic boosts for many restaurants, thus helping many local businesses stay afloat through the pandemic.
Jennifer and her staff quickly realized the pandemic was going to be tough on many local places and worked hard to find ways to help, including starting the weekly Tallahassee Restaurant Blitz highlighting six different restaurants every week with customer incentives like discounts or meal deals. Several businesses credit the group for keeping them in business in 2020.
Additionally, Jennifer and Tallahassee Foodies help to support Pride Months and Black-owned businesses. The group made the front page of the Tallahassee Democrat on Juneteenth for a member-generated list of Black-owned restaurants that went viral, sending a huge boost of business to these food establishments. These efforts even gained national attention from the Today Show, who flew a crew to Tallahassee to feature Tallahassee Foodies for their support of Black-owned businesses, highlighting the group’s story on Gurlies Sweets and Treats.
Her dedication to her community and its people make Jennifer worthy of the title “essential woman.”
Thank you so much to the entire TCC Women’s History Month team, including Tallahassee Foodies members Jarrett Phipps and Heather Mitchell, for not only honoring us, but spoiling us with a beautiful award, and some tasty treats from Say Cheese Tally and Au Peche Mignon. Feel free to watch all 10 honorees at this years TCC Women’s History Month virtual ceremony.