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Meet Jennifer Dokes of JDD Specialties in Midtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Dokes.

Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
JDD Specialties begins where a long career in journalism ended. In 2014, I left The Arizona Republic where I was a member of the editorial board for 22 years. Prior to that, I spent eight years a reporter and copy editor for the Phoenix Gazette. In 1985, the managing editor at the Gazette lured me to Arizona from The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, W.Va. My plan was to stay in Phoenix for three years and move back to my native Ohio. It’s been 33 years.

My interest in writing began in junior high when my English teacher handed out scenic pictures of old calendars and instructed me and my classmates to write what we saw. I have never stopped writing what I see, what I think, what I feel. It’s a privilege to get paid for it.

The way journalism is produced and practiced changed a lot during my career. The system didn’t work well for me at the end, but I didn’t want to stop writing and editing. I left The Republic with a business plan to be me all by myself, to be of value beyond a newsroom. I believed there were great organizations and people who needed my skills and would want my informed opinions. I was right.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been remarkably smooth. I was fortunate to start with clients who sought me out after hearing that I was leaving the newspaper. That was personally and professionally gratifying.

My main struggle in managing my business was more of a personal challenge. I moved my mother from Ohio to live with me about the same time I left The Republic to start JDD Specialties. It had reached a point where she needed 24/7 care. My home in Phoenix was a better option than a nursing home in Ohio.

Self-employment gave me the freedom to do what needed to be done for Mom. She died in April. I’ve spent four months trying to figure out how to fill the time once devoted to being a caregiver. JDD Specialties likely will have a growth spurt during the next year or so.

Please tell us about JDD Specialties.
JDD Specialties is a writing, editing and consulting service. I use experience, perspective and deep connections developed during a distinguished journalism career to help nonprofits, businesses and policymakers articulate and achieve goals.

I can write anything from 250-word breezy, personality profiles to case statements and policy papers that need thousands of words to achieve objectives. I can edit documents to ensure the message hits the mark.

What sets me apart from others? There’s only one Jennifer Dokes.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I don’t have one particular favorite memory. It’s the entire experience of being the youngest daughter of Fred and Julia Mae and growing up in a small town in rural Ohio. It’s all the layers of life and love that come with having deep family roots in one place.

If I had to choose one memory, it would be the time the Little League coach tried to add me to his roster. It was during the time when girls were banned from Little League. He knew I could play. The boys knew I could play. (Our summer days were spent playing sandlot baseball. I was never the last player picked for a team!) League officials wouldn’t bend the rules. Coach allowed me to practice with the team, but on game days, my role was “batgirl,” not batboy. The first. There would be more until a few years later when the ban was lifted.

Being “the first” would be a theme in my work life. When I joined The Republic editorial board, I was the youngest member to be added and also the first woman and first person of color.

Contact Info:

  • Website: jddspecialties.com
  • Phone: 602-696-1638
  • Email: jdd@jddspecialties.com
  • Facebook: JDD Specialties LLC
  • Twitter: @JenniferDokes

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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