By Mary Duggan
(May 23, 2017 – ANNAPOLIS, Md.) From selling fresh lemonade with a spoonful of sugar to teaching private swim lessons that made a big splash, Jennifer Dodson was a natural entrepreneur. As founder and chief creative officer of Adashmore Creative, she capitalized on those early years in “business.”
“My childhood taught me all about supply and demand, cost of goods sold, revenue and profit well before I had any formal training in those areas,” Dodson reflected. “While the scale and pressure is higher with Adashmore Creative, the satisfaction is the same.”
With bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and graphic design from Towson University, a master’s degree from Maryland Institute College of Art, and six internships on her résumé, Dodson developed the necessary skills to give her entrepreneurial dream a go. But these past successes were not the only factors that motivated her to try.
“My mother has been wheelchair bound with multiple sclerosis since I was in middle school and my husband’s father passed away from cancer at 46,” Dodson said. “Both of them thought they would have time later—to travel, to get a project done, to live life.
“After a health scare myself, I became determined to change my career path to something more fulfilling.”
Thus, in 2010, Dodson launched Adashmore Creative, a strategic marketing firm that specializes in branding. Through research and evaluation, Adashmore Creative builds strategies that improve messaging, optimize budgets and simplify tactics.
“The name Adashmore Creative supports the philosophy of doing a little bit more to get better results and provide more value,” Dodson said. “I always want to take things a step further to understand the goals, evaluate alternative solutions and really understand the situation.”
Since becoming a business owner, Dodson has continued to make decisions that benefit her brand. Joining the Maryland Chamber of Commerce has provided valuable opportunities for business development, networking with like-minded members and understanding legislation.
“I’ve lived in Maryland my entire life and want to see the area thrive,” Dodson explained. “The Chamber is working on making Maryland more competitive nationally and easing the burden for existing businesses. This means bringing more potential clients to the area, making business easier to run and helping other people share my love of the greater Baltimore region.”
In addition to running her Baltimore-based business full-time, Dodson is an adjunct faculty member at both Towson and MICA. Her passion for mentoring young professionals is inspired by the meaningful and long-lasting connections she made in college. She hopes to bridge the gap between the college curriculum and the professional world of marketing by speaking publically, meeting with students one-on-one, and offering internship opportunities.
“I had multiple mentors that shaped who I am,” Dodson shared. “Each mentorship experience exposed different perspectives and possible career paths. Most importantly, it helped me figure out what was most important to me.”
It may have been an unpredictable journey, but the little girl who sold lemonade to her neighbors is now a successful businesswoman with a company of her own. Adashmore Creative is still evolving, and Dodson wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Given how much my vision for the company has changed over time and how much the marketing space has evolved with it, it’s hard to predict where the future will take us,” Dodson confessed. “My primary goal as an entrepreneur is to be happy. I don’t want to work my entire career just to get a paycheck. I need to be challenged, help people and regularly push myself to be satisfied.”