Dana Anderson, daughter of James A. Anderson and the late Jacqueline Y. Anderson, is a resident of Annapolis, Maryland who runs a home-based business called Classic Desserts by Dana, LLC.
“I’ve always baked. It’s just something I did as a child. When I was probably about eight, I would go over to my cousin’s house on Sundays after church to bake cakes and sometimes cookies,” Dana said. “I was always inspired by my paternal grandmother, Ethel Anderson who lived next door to me. She would always cook, host and bake. Hospitality was instilled in me.”
Over the years, people inquired about when Dana would open a bakery. The entrepreneur who launched her Maryland-based business of sweet treats in 2021 also happens to be a service-disabled veteran. Customers order traditional cakes, cookies and brownies to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Before Dana began baking, delivering treats and vending at festivals, she began her career in the United States Air Force, under the delayed enlistment program in January 1989, just before she graduated from Old Mill Senior High, located in Millersville, Maryland. In 1990, she headed to basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base located in San Antonio, Texas.
Dana served 23 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a Master Sergeant (MSgt), E-7 in 2013. Her career field (previously called Administrative Communication) in the Air Force is now called Knowledge Operations Management. Dana was required to perform a range of duties including managing organizational information, knowledge sharing systems and data assets. In addition, she managed all hardware/ software assets and provided information technology customer support to organizational users.
Dana felt inspired by family members to serve in the United States Air Force, including her father, James.
“I didn’t want to attend college full-time. I wanted to serve in the military and travel. So, that’s what I did!” Dana said joyfully.
The astute young woman knew that she could decide about college later. She earned an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems from Prince George’s Community College in 2005 and an Associate in Applied Science in Information Management from the Community College of the Air Force in 2006. Dana earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland University College in Computer Information Technology with a specialization in networking in 2012.
Dana began her military career at Bolling Air Force Base located in Washington, D.C. at the Headquarters Office of Special Investigations. However, she has served under other military organizations stateside and overseas.
Her overseas tours included Yongsan Air Force Base in Seoul Korea; deployments in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia during Operation Southern Watch and Vigilant Warrior; Irbil, Iraq during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. She completed her time in service to our country at the Pentagon Joint Staff, National Military Command Center.
Dana’s mother, Jacqueline, became terminally ill around the time of her retirement.
“I didn’t really have the time to do a lot of interviewing. Someone gave me a lead. They knew someone who needed to fill a position. I interviewed and got the position working at Fort McNair at the Joint Force Headquarters as a joint operation center specialist,” Dana said.
While she was employed as a contractor, Dana continued her studies in a master’s program. She eventually decided to resign from her position after four and half years and pursue her master’s program full-time through University of Maryland (now University of Maryland Global Campus). Dana earned a Master of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in Information Assurance in 2020.
Dana pursued a baking business during the pandemic. She completed an online Boots to Business class, which is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for service members and veterans. An SBA host provided information about how to register a small business during a follow up course.
“I remember that I had some questions about how to start a business,” Dana said. “I had considered working for myself, but I just never jumped out there.”
At the time, Dana was attending a women’s discipleship ministry. It gave her a boldness to take an entrepreneurial leap.
“I’m the sole baker,” Dana said. “As far as long-term goals, I’m looking to possibly get my products in a commercial retail store.”
Dana reflects on skills that she learned in the military, including her ability to multitask.
“It’s prepared me for such a time as this,” Dana said.
Visit https://www.classicdessertsbydana.com for more information about Classic Desserts by Dana, LLC.