Deskside With Jaleh Benner, Editor of The Scout Guide Orlando
Photography by Rooted Love.
Soon after Jaleh Benner and her husband relocated from Columbus, Ohio, to Orlando, Florida, in 2019, the Midwest native looked for The Scout Guide to help her discover local businesses in her new city. When she found out there wasn’t a guide in her area yet, she started investigating how to bring TSG to her part of the Sunshine State, and in April 2021, she became editor/owner of The Scout Guide Orlando. With a corporate retail background that centered on marketing and production and a passion for sales and meeting new people, the role was a natural fit, and Jaleh launched her first volume in January 2022. The busy editor and mother to two-year-old Emmi (aka Tiny Scout) will launch the second volume of The Scout Guide Orlando, Volume 2 in early 2023.
Jaleh’s desk. Photography by Rooted Love.
The Scout Guide: Tell us about your background.
Jaleh Benner: I grew up in Normal, Illinois. After college, where I majored in marketing, I started my career in corporate retail in Columbus. Many of the 10-plus years I spent in the industry were focused on print and photo shoot production.
TSG Orlando launch party. Photography by Jessie Roffer Photography.
TSG: How did you discover The Scout Guide?
JB: I first saw The Scout Guide around town in Columbus, Ohio, where we lived. I was impressed by how beautiful it was and how it represented local businesses.
When we moved to Orlando, I looked for TSG. I knew there was a guide in Tampa, as I had traveled there for work frequently. When I found out there wasn’t one in Orlando, I started asking questions and eventually looked into how to start The Scout Guide there, since I felt like it was a miss not to have TSG in our community. There are a lot of new residents here from all over the country, and my marketing side thought TSG was a great way to promote our local businesses all around Orlando.
What I love most about being an editor is getting to meet amazing local business owners, entrepreneurs, and artisans that I never would have otherwise had the pleasure of knowing—many that I can now call friends. I also love sales and the creative direction aspect of the job.
Jaleh setting up for a local event.
TSG: Can you describe a typical day?
JB: Every day is so different! I have a two-year-old, so having the flexibility to mom and run my business is incredible. I am so lucky to also have great members who know what it’s like to be a parent and small business owner. Just a few weeks back, Emmi and I arrived at a coffee meetup with a member with nothing but a diaper on her tiny body. The member laughed and said she understood. It’s the little things!
Orlando is very event-heavy right now, so Monday through Wednesday I typically have a few meetings with current and potential businesses, I spend time researching potential businesses, I schedule social media posts, and answer emails. We have had events every week on Thursdays and Fridays recently, and often I am representing TSG. We have really been trying to sponsor as much as we can to get the word out about TSG Orlando and get our first volume into as many hands as possible.
TSG: Tell us a little bit about your work/life balance.
JB: This was super hard for me for Volume 1. Going from working full-time to being a stay-at-home mom with an infant had its own challenges. But going from being a stay-at-home mom to a business owner in a new market with a one-and-a half-year old was an even bigger challenge. I’ve learned in the last few months that sometimes I need to say “no.” But it’s fun—I love seeing the world through the eyes of my little girl.
Jaleh with her husband and daughter. Photography by Jessie Roffer Photography.
The Hit List: Jaleh’s Favorites
Thing to do with kids around town: Leu Gardens! I love visiting this beautiful and iconic Orlando location.
Activity with friends: Shopping on Park Avenue at some of our favorite spots, including Be on Park, John Craig, and Tugboat and the Bird, followed by lunch or dinner at Prato. Also visiting the new exhibits at Orlando Museum of Art.
Way to unwind: A walk or bike ride and a glass of wine!
Music genre: Classical
Meal/cuisine: A charcuterie board
Drink: Iced almond milk latte or Champagne
Movie: Pretty Woman
TV series: I’m not much of a TV person, but like much of the world I did binge Emily in Paris and Bridgerton
Vacation spot: Sea Island, Georgia
Accessory: Tiny Scout (Emmi)
Piece of clothing: An older Ganni leopard print dress
Time of day: Early morning, when it is still dark, the house is quiet, and the coffee is hot
Real-life heroes: My grandmothers! I am lucky to have been so close to both my mother’s mother and father’s mother. Both went through so much as young women, and I feel like their guidance and mentorship helped shape who I am.
To learn more about Jaleh and The Scout Guide in her area, follow The Scout Guide Orlando on Instagram and visit The Scout Guide Orlando website. Learn about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.