Jenny LeFlore, mom of two-year-old Obie and founder of Mama Fresh Chicago, is building the modern village. “A daughter of Chicago, born and raised,” Jenny’s passion for her city is infectious. She’s made it her mission to connect people with inclusive, family-friendly activities in her community and create opportunities for all moms to feel like they belong.
When her son was born, Jenny’s full-time job in the fashion industry had her traveling at least 12 days a month. “I traveled to ten cities and two countries while I was pregnant… I went back to work six weeks after Obie was born, crying in an Uber with my pump, the whole nine-yards,” she remembers.
“When you’re possibly the only woman in the conference room, you already feel like you want to bring your A-game. So now you’re a woman, you’re a mom, and you’re a woman of color? You want people to see that you have value—that you deserve to be here.”
“I would be in these other cities on business and spending my nights researching what to do with my kid that weekend when I got home… on Friday, I’d pick him up from daycare, put my baby carrier on and we would hit the streets!” From farmer’s markets to antique sales, this thoughtful planning is how Jenny prioritized active 1:1 time with her son in the midst of a very busy career.
One of her outings took them to a music class where Jenny was the only mom of color in the class. At a certain point, the teacher asked if Obie would rap the last verse. “It made me feel so insecure. I didn’t want anyone to feel like this.”
That music class and all her adventures around the city ultimately fueled the vision for what is now Mama Fresh Chicago, where Jenny has built a community celebrating families from diverse backgrounds. She maintains the same passion and determination to make Mama Fresh a space where every mom feels included and supported.
The community Jenny has built with fellow mothers has also been crucial on both a professional and a personal level, having suffered from postpartum anxiety after her son’s birth. “Anxiety and depression are the seeds,” she says, “and isolation is the water.” But even while working through her own challenges in the transitioning to motherhood, Jenny’s passion for lifting up new moms only grows stronger. “It’s so important that women can connect and know they’re not the only one feeling a certain way.”