CHANTELLE BOURDEAUX: FROM STRESSED OUT TO SUSTAINABILITY

Some people follow their dreams to change their lives. Some do it for their families. And some do it to prove the world wrong. But for one Small Business Owner, following her dream meant more than changing her life for herself.

For Chantelle Bourdeaux, following her dream means changing her community. It means positively impacting the lives of 200 thousand people. And it means creating a community, a culture, and a world that values the impact of food. This is Chantelle Bourdeaux. And this is her Difference Maker Story.

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The Footprint of Food

For Bourdeaux, the love of food runs deep. With a family steeped in Creole heritage and tradition, food has always been a huge part of Chantelle’s life.

"Being Creole, food has always been a huge center for our family."

And, when it came to starting her own business, she drew on her familial connection with food. Today, Chantelle is the proud owner of The Creole Juniper, a sustainable food advocacy company that helps support food producers and food-based businesses.

But, before setting out on her own, or joining the food scene, Chantelle was pursuing a very different corporate path. “I was working in insurance and making six figures, but I left those material things and that comfortable life style, because I wanted to better myself as a human being, and even humanity itself.”

Driven to make a difference for herself, and for others around her, Chantelle left corporate America, and joined Slow Food USA®, an organization determined to change the world through food that is, “good, clean, and fair to all.”

After working with several food organizations, Chantelle decided it was time to step out on her own and make a direct impact on her community by improving the quality of life available to her, and her fellow citizens, by improving access to good, clean, whole foods.

Preserving Tradition

For Chantelle, food is truly a community affair. But, in order to involve the community, you have to educate. Not just about what food is good to eat, or good for you. But where food comes from, and how food is made.

“When I was younger, and starting my business, I realized that people my age weren’t connecting with food or realizing where their food was coming from. I knew that if this next generation of people, and the generation after, wanted access to real, whole foods, there would have to be some kind of sustainability push, to protect food traditions in our community.”

But what’s a food tradition, and why does it matter? Food matters not only because it sustains us, but because it connects us. To our past. To our ancestors. To our cultures. And, perhaps even more importantly, to our futures. And for Chantelle, preserving the past and protecting the future was an essential mission, and one that The Creole Juniper was ready to tackle head on.

By preserving food tradition, for example the way Italian cheese is made and produced, or the way a tortilla is created and pressed, we can stay connected to the heritage, history, and quality of our food, preserving it for generations. And this type of sustainable preservation work is exactly what drives Chantelle and her business.

“For us, we want to make sure that these traditional recipes and products are being sold within our communities, so people are able to understand where food is coming from and that food goes beyond the grocery store. We want to help people stay connected to their cultures, and that can be done through food.”

Changing Food, Minds, and Hearts

But, how does one person, one business, create a lasting impact on a community? By changing minds one day, one step, one item at a time.

“We are a smaller company, so we get to do what we want. We can help set the tone for the restaurants we serve by putting products in front of them and on their menus that are quality, and that are sustainable. And, by one restaurant doing that, we can change the mind of chefs. And changing their mind means changing the mind of customers. And from there, you can create a kind of ripple effect, causing people to ask for more of these foods, and not just in the restaurants in their communities, but to have these foods in their grocery stores and markets. And from there, customers can take these foods home and educate their families and the cycle of educated consumers can only grow.”

Changing anyone’s mind is never easy. And for Chantelle and The Creole Juniper, it’s taken a lot of work, but the impact has been huge. Today, Chantelle is proud to have helped create a city that not only supports local, traditional, and sustainable food practices, but both her and her company have helped their city to create one of the biggest most thriving farmer’s markets in the country, which in turn helps the local economy to grow and sustain itself.

And, for Chantelle, that sustainability is a huge focus. Because when it comes to our food, sustainability goes far and beyond recycling and waste. Sustainable food means good, safe, fair products with clean ingredients, ingredients that are recognizable to the consumer. And for Chantelle, a big part of her business is identifying food producers, and promoting food producers, who participate in these ethical practices.

“We promote and sell products from food producers that are focused on sustainability. We make sure that our producers provide fair wages, opportunity, and equality, and we make sure that the food we buy and help bring into our community is truly good for the people consuming it, and good for the community as a whole. By striking a balance between local farmers and outside sustainable producers, we can create a thriving local economy that is focused on food that improves our lives overall.”

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From Corporate to Community

Driven to make a difference for her community, Chantelle’s business began putting a lot of stress on her life. From traveling across the country and the globe to source products, understand food, and educate herself on best practices, to running every aspect of her business, even while away.

Caught between the stress of being a Small Business Owner and a community advocate, Chantelle needed an easier way to manage her business, her clients, and her life. Chantelle needed a solution that was as reliable as the products she sourced. And, with a little help from technology, she was able to double down on her business without missing a beat.

“The progression of technology has been an amazing experience for me. Now, I can work from anywhere in the world, while managing my business efficiently. Whether I’m processing sales orders, or working on a new menu for a restaurant, I’m now able to feel confident and improve my business.”

With a business that requires tons of travel time, extreme flexibility, and maximum mobility, Chantelle not only needed a device that could keep up with her workstyle, but services that could keep her business safe.

“Lenovo makes a difference for me because they offer products that allow me to work in any environment that I may find myself. And, there’s also great comfort in knowing that my information is backed up to the cloud in case I lose my laptop while traveling.”

With the right tech on her side, Chantelle was able to mitigate her stressors, while focusing on the sustainability of her business, and her community. Because, for Chantelle when businesses win—the community wins too.

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