We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Dokes and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jennifer, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My goal when venturing into self-employment after 30 years in journalism was to do something that didn’t make me feel like I was starting over. I didn’t want to reinvent myself or abandon my passion. I developed a love for the written word in junior high school and it has served me well. Why should I stop doing what I do best? I decided to try to be me (editor, writer, thinker, doer) all by myself, not for another news organization or a PR/marketing agency. Words matter on any platform. Effective communication of deep thoughts and big ideas, the kind of writing and editing that I spent more than 20 years doing as an editorial board member at The Arizona Republic, holds value and power. The only question for me in 2014 was whether there was a market in Phoenix and beyond specifically for what I have to offer. The answer: Yes. I am comfortable sitting behind a keyboard and facing a blank screen, but so many other talented, gifted people are not. My clients, who span multiple sectors, have things they need help thinking through with questions that get to the heart of matters. They have opinions and stories to share, but they need help finding the right words. It’s been my pleasure for five years to provide my services as a freelance editor and writer.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m so pleased that words still have value, and that I can make a living stringing them together. I’ve worked with words my entire adult life and it has never felt like work. A lot of attention goes into answers of questions and rightfully so. We all want answers, right? But what I’ve learned is how valuable good, honest questions can be. They can change lives.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s August. No one wants to visit me right now! I’m quite comfortable in my central Phoenix bubble. Pretty proud of it, too. My favorite thing to do, especially when I’m not working on a project, is just chill. I’m an early riser and so I would force visitors out of bed for coffee and scones at The Refuge and then maybe a hike on the Quartz Ridge trail of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. I’d allow for a little relaxation in my backyard and then dinner at my favorite neighborhood restaurant – Oven + Vine. If they want more excitement than that, I would hand them off to my daughter, who would take them anywhere and everywhere that involved shopping!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Terry Benelli, executive director of LISC Phoenix, is a longtime champion of small businesses, particularly mom-and-pop shops. Before she became executive director of the Phoenix office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, she led efforts to help downtown Mesa small businesses survive the disruption of light-rail construction on Main Street. I’d hate to see what community development would like in the Valley without LISC Phoenix.

LISC Phoenix gave me my first contract when I started JDD Specialties.. I appreciate so much what it does, and I’m grateful so many nonprofits have allowed me to help them achieve their goals.

Website: www.jddspecialties.com
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferdokes/
Twitter: @JenniferDokes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jddspecialties/

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