This March marks Dragonfly’s 10th anniversary. Yup, it’s been 10 years of editing proposals, writing white papers, designing brochures, and everything in between.
We’ve visited clients in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DC, New York, San Diego, St. Louis…even Saudi Arabia.
We’ve grown from one woman with a computer to 30 editors, writers, designers, and project managers working in more than 15 states.
It’s time for me to step back and thank everyone who’s made Dragonfly what it is today. Today, I’m starting with 10 people who gave a young editor a chance—and started me on the path to creating Dragonfly.
- C. Douglas Elliott of Elliott & Clark Publishing. You could say that everything started with Doug. He plucked me out of the Jolt & Bolt Coffee Shop north of DuPont Circle in DC. He let me spend the afternoons (after my 6:00 am to 2:00 pm barista shift) at his publishing house, mailing out books, looking over page proofs, and making my very first forays into proofreading.
- Linda Jorgensen at EEI Press. Linda taught the first editing class I ever took. Her words, “Grammar and punctuation are only part of editing. Everything else is style,” rocked my world and never left my mind. Linda later hired me as a writer for EEI’s flagship journal, The Editorial Eye, helping me make my first forays into editorial thought leadership and write some of my first feature stories.
- Rose Reisig and Pam Wingfield at Editech Staffing. Rose and Pam gave me my first official freelance editing job. They told me I had the highest score on their editing test that they’d ever seen. They introduced me to the world of proposal editing and placed me at many companies around the DC beltway — one of which, CSC, hired me into my first full-time editorial positon. I remember getting my first paycheck from Editech—for $900—and thinking, “I’m going to be rich.” That hasn’t happened yet, but the money represented a big step up from coffee shop wages.
- Pat Marzola and Rhonda Wright at CSC. Pat and Rhonda saw past my protestations that “I was only interested in working for a year and then wanted to go back to grad school” and hired me as a full-time editor at CSC. I was raw—I had one pair of dress pants, a horrible haircut, and shoes that used to be my mom’s. But they didn’t care. They let me come as I was, grow up, and grow into my career. My role at CSC eventually grew into a management position, where I led a department of full-time and freelance editors and writers, developed editorial style for the entire firm, and helped countless proposal managers get their props edited on time and to spec.
- Javy Awan at TRB. Javy enabled everything that came after this. While I was still at CSC, he awarded me a position as a freelance editor for the Transportation Research Record, the journal of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. Then, he let me take that position virtual (at a time when virtual work was rare) when I wanted to move myself and my family back to Ohio. Javy’s kindness allowed me to make this move, and allowed me to leave CSC and start Dragonfly. I couldn’t have done it without him.
- Margo Goldman and Carolyn Quinn at Booz Allen Hamilton. Margo and Carolyn hired me through an agency to edit for their team at Booz Allen. Somehow, they saw potential, and invited me to make Dragonfly a direct subcontractor to the firm. This contract allowed me to bring new editors into the Dragonfly team, staff multiple projects for Booz Allen simultaneously, and start moving Dragonfly from “freelancer and friends” into a thriving, full-bore business.
- Carol Meyers at CSC. Carol hired me to write my first feature story at Dragonfly—a piece on CSC’s recruitment and retention system. Carol opened my eyes and helped me see the balanced agency that Dragonfly could become—offering both editing and writing, depending on a customer’s needs. Getting a first real paycheck for copywriting meant the world to me. Before that, I had seen myself as “just a copyeditor.” Carol believed that I could do more and simply hired me to do it.
So many other people have helped build Dragonfly into what it is today. But these 10 were there at the beginning. And their willingness to give an untested woman a chance has made all the difference.
Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial.
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