there was a little girl named Jaye who possessed an affinity for language and precocious communication skills. One day, Jaye discovered her knack for storytelling when she realized her ability to concoct elaborate explanations to avoid trouble. Pensive yet morally conscious even at a young age, Jaye acknowledged storywriting as a more appropriate outlet for her gift. The payoff? At the tender age of nine, she was commissioned to write, direct and have a cameo appearance in a school-wide Thanksgiving stageplay.
Throughout the years, Jaye grew and continued her academic and creative writing. At 18, while earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, she became a staff writer and co-editor of Umoja, the African-American newsmagazine of the University of California, Irvine. As a result of these early writing experiences, creators and editors of various trade magazines with subjects ranging from music to healthcare took note of her work and invited Jaye to design and edit their magazines.
As with most writers, Jaye’s career naturally evolved into that of public speaker. She conducted her first workshop and training session at 19 years old. When she completed her undergraduate education, she was asked to speak at the University of California Irvine’s Black Baccalaureate Ceremony. She continued writing as a hobby, but needed to make a decision on the next steps of her professional journey. Things were going well for Jaye until she felt a nagging dissension between furthering her education or pursuing a career in writing fiction. She began to question why she had studied Psychology in the first place. Then one day a pivotal moment happened as she was pouring out her doubts and uncertainties to a friend who was a Hollywood screenwriter. Jaye’s friend encouraged her by saying, “What better way to create moving and believable characters than to have a working knowledge of the human psyche?!” A light bulb turned on in Jaye’s mind and she knew she was on the right path.
As much as the inner author tugged on her heart strings, Jaye decided to work as an elementary school teacher shortly after her college graduation and chose to attend the University of LaVerne where she received a Master of Science degree in Counseling at the age of 23. Still a writer at the core of her being, Jaye took the Career Development Thesis she wrote for her Master’s Program and adapted it into a workbook entitled, The Process of Success. This commenced her role as a Human Services Consultant and Jaye became a leading edge life coach years before the profession was a widespread phenomenon. During this time, she built an extensive clientele list of businesses ranging from entertainment production companies to employment staffing agencies. She developed, mentored and promoted individuals ranging from aspiring artist to established entrepreneur. She wrote curriculum, workbooks, training manuals, accreditation documents, treatments for music videos and television sitcoms as well as screenplays for short films. She also increased her presence as a public speaker. Jaye’s countless speaking engagements as a keynote, mistress of ceremonies, conference speaker, workshop facilitator and in-service presenter reached both the young and the mature from 5 to 85 in multiple states across the nation. She even made presentations to international groups from over six different countries. All of this was accomplished and she had yet to reach 30 years old.
A few months prior to her 28th birthday, Jaye had a remarkable spiritual experience. At that time, she dedicated her life to Jesus Christ and entered fulltime ministry. She gave up all her desires to be a writer to walk the path the Holy Spirit laid out for her. This led her to serve as a youth pastor, liturgy coordinator, parish minister, revivalist, guest preacher, prayer, praise and worship leader and retreat master. She generously gave twelve years of summer service to a Youth Gang and Drug Prevention Program in Los Angeles, California. She tirelessly procured $15,000 to coordinate, participate in and donate to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also founded Journey into the Kingdom: A Prayer, Praise and Worship Service and Ecumenical Charismatic Ministry. Understandably, she was cited in the 2008 book, Blazing an African-American Trail, as one of the most active Black Catholics in America.
By the time Jaye turned 35, the second decade of the new millennium was approaching and she took a much needed sabbatical. For a year, she rested and did some soul searching. Her heart’s desire was to marry her career and ministry experiences. She hadn’t forsaken her love for writing, but she realized she was living in a different world. In an effort to reignite the flames of relevance, she turned her name into the nom de plume, J.A.Y.E.— an acronym for Journey Above Your Expectations, an expression she coined to describe her wholistic approach to success in work, life and play. She then launched her online presence, returned to the speaking circuit and expanded her consulting services to include business endorsements. She provided cross-promotions for some of today’s most nationally recognized brands such as Beauty 360, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Chick-fil-A, The Veggie Grill, Johnny Rockets, Guitar Center, Red Robin and Franklin Covey. Jaye’s diverse background has not only allowed her to address a universal audience, but also made it possible for her to instruct, train and educate those in private and public institutions from elementary schools to universities and from churches to government agencies. She appeared as a special guest on a Christian radio program and as a co-host on a Hip Hop radio show. Things were coming together for Jaye. She was determined this would be the season of her life when she would completely immerse herself in her writing and that’s exactly what happened.
In what seemed to be an unfortunate turn of events, Jaye’s wish to be a fulltime writer was fulfilled. During a routine oral surgery, Jaye’s jaw was accidentally broken and her mouth was wired for five months to the date. She could no longer talk much less work as a speaker. She had no other choice but to write. Jaye was inspired to take previous speaking engagements as well as those she had to turn down during her injury and transform them into written articles. She saw her recovery time as an opportunity to return to her roots in publishing by compiling the articles and creating an online magazine she affectionately calls the JAYEzine. Because Jaye believes one cannot truly be successful unless they are whole in every part of their life (what she dubs “Wholistic Success”), she formatted each column of the JAYEzine to address an integral part of everyday life– from finances to health to travel and many more.
Jaye’s jaw healed and the experience prepared her to be a better speaker than she was before, but more importantly it motivated her to finally introduce her fictional writing to the public. Through one of the many columns in the JAYEzine entitled “ViFi Available Here”, subscribers get a glimpse into her creation of ViFi Characters. ViFi is a play on the Visionary Fiction genre in which Jaye classifies her writing and the term WiFi which has become synonymous with everything digital in the Information Age. Jaye hopes and prays that at the end of the day God is honored and people are blessed by the words she carefully places on each page of her work. She wants readers and audiences worldwide to see the Authorship that has permeated her entire life. She believes wholeheartedly in that possibility because the definition of the word author is not limited to just a person who publishes books. It includes “one who creates, causes, or originates something; the person responsible for the final form.”
For well over 20 years, Joanne “Jaye” Dunn has contributed to the Wholistic Success of thousands by embodying the complete essence of the word author. From her pioneering ideas, creative writing and innovative projects to her thought provoking productions, inciting leadership and philanthropic proprietorship, Jaye has offered individuals and organizations products, services and charitable contributions that stir the heart, stretch the soul and move the whole person toward virtuous action. She remains committed to impacting and influencing the lives of others by authoring visionary fiction and producing multimedia to encourage, educate, enlighten and entertain.
That was a lot of story to tell, but it’s only the beginning…