HI, MY NAME IS… Dana N. Dumas.
I’VE LIVED FOR 15 YEARS IN THE DESERT RIDGE COMMUNITY AND I LOVE IT BECAUSE… the area is its own city. My family and I have everything at our fingertips – from my kids’ school, friends, and fitness. We are also able to go out for entertainment including fun restaurants, bars, resorts, movies, and shopping. We really do not have to go far living in North Phoenix. We have been living in this area for over 15 years and have seen the super growth of the area after we moved from Scottsdale. I am the CEO and founder of SugarJam The Southern Kitchen, which is located in North Scottsdale. I have an extensive career in corporate America, but always fancied entrepreneurship. It wasn’t until I had my twin boys when I decided to take a leap of faith and start my own business. I started as SugarJam Cookies, LLC in the local farmers markets back in 2011 and have grown my business to my first brick n’ mortar, SugarJam Bakeshop & Bistro, in the North Scottsdale Airpark. In January 2021, I pivoted my business and expanded to a new concept which is now known as SugarJam The Southern Kitchen. I garnered a big following of customers from near and far for my weekend “Brunch N Vibes,” which features a live DJ every Friday through Sunday. I enjoy being a female restauranteur and hope to inspire other young woman to chase and conquer their dreams. It is enriching to mentor young minds to give guidance for success. My company has also partnered with Meal Connect so that no food is wasted but donated to the homeless. Along the way, SugarJam has also donated to cancer research programs, foster children programs, and Black Business incubator programs.
A TYPICAL DAY IN MY LIFE INCLUDES… hitting the gym at 7 a.m. I return home by 8:15 a.m. to ensure the boys are ready for school and have breakfast, before I drop them off at middle school. Next, I head back home to shower, have a healthy breakfast, and get ready for the balance of the day. Then, I take care of SugarJam The Southern Kitchen’s business operational needs, then go into the restaurant to make sure things are running smoothly, and to touch base with my leadership team. Afterwards, I pick up the kids from school, have a snack, help with homework, prepare dinner, and take them to basketball practice. I return home to complete more office work and watch about 30 minutes of TV before bedtime!
MY FAMILY IS… everything to me! My husband is an engineer in IT. We have 13-year-old twin boys, two dogs, and my parents and in-laws all live in the North Scottsdale area as well.
ONE THING I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IS… my family and friends. Sorry, I know that’s more than one, but good food plays a part too!
MY FAVORITE MOVIE I COULD NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING AND WHY… is a tough one, as I have a few favorites. “The Wiz” with Michael Jackson is a classic I watched as a child. Now that I have twin boys, we watch Marvel and DC movies a lot. There are a few that have become favorites which we have watched more than once.
WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WANTED TO BE… a model, make-up artist, and hairstylist.
THE SONG I WOULD SING AT KARAOKE NIGHT IS… Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love.”
THE ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES ME IS… my children motivate me to never give up and to keep achieving my dreams and create a path of positivity and opportunity for them, as well as anyone who views me as an example.
THE LAST THING THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD WAS… at a family and friends’ dinner where some funny jokes were told that had the entire table belly laughing. Good times!
THE PERFECT DAY IS… outside of my business doing well and being busy, it would be to have a non-interrupted personal day of relaxation at a spa for a reset.
MY FAVORITE LOCAL NONPROFIT IS… Arizona Helping Hands and Archwood Community Resource Empowerment Strategy (ACRES).
MY LIFE… has transcended several careers in different aspects of corporate America, which has led me to become an entrepreneur and now a restauranteur. My life is full of meaning, love, and passion.
THE BEST GIFT I’VE EVER RECEIVED WAS… the blessing of my twin boys. They have fulfilled my heart in unspeakable ways. To have the honor of being their mother and watching them grow, as well as have the ability to help shape who they are becoming is a testament of love and faith.
MY DREAM VACATION WOULD BE… with my family and close friends on a beautiful island. We would relax, explore the new place through water activities and trying new cuisines, as well as creating new memories.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED IS… having real passion leads to determination. You must have the ability to embrace change as being complacent breeds stagnation. Always know that it takes time to build a house brick by brick, but the foundation is the critical piece to ensure your house can stand the test of time. Don’t focus on the immediate gratification (this is greed), focus on each brick helping to build the overall value. The joy will be felt, and the deserved rewards will come from the tireless work of building your empire.