On paper, a usual day for Veronica Kirin, ’09, is probably what you would imagine for most white collar employees. She answers emails, posts on social media, and goes to meetings. However, Kirin’s life is anything but usual considering she has started two nonprofits and four businesses in only a few short years.
Her journey of innovation and leadership began at Grand Valley where she was an active board member of several clubs and lead her own Alternative Breaks team to New Orleans twice. Kirin graduated with an Anthropology major and uses that knowledge on a daily basis to understand her clients and the needs of their target audiences.
After college, Kirin accepted a position of Field Team Leader for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (an organization she was also involved in during college) and oversaw a team of ten men and women to complete Disaster Relief and nonprofit support work across the United States. She was even deployed to help with tsunami relief in America Samoa in 2009.
Armed with the knowledge that she was a natural born leader with the gift of organization, Kirin returned to Grand Rapids and received a job with a search engine optimization firm called Sky Vision Enterprises. In less than six months she was promoted from executive assistant to the CEO to Director of Content Development.
The company was eventually bought out and Kirin knew she had to act fast before the layoffs came her way. Having already started her first nonprofit, she was taking classes at GROW (Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women) to glean advice and direction from women leaders in West Michigan.
“I looked at the women around me and realized I was no different from them,” said Kirin.
That was when she decided to start designing websites as a profession. When the layoff came in 2012, she was ready. She used knowledge she had gained from her previous job as well as her natural computer skills to face this new opportunity head on. In December 2014, Kirin rebranded her freelance company into Green Cup Design.
As if being and entrepreneur wasn’t enough, Kirin spends a substantial amount of time volunteering with various community organizations. She was even rewarded the Gold Congressional Medal and the Presidential Award for volunteerism. Kirin has submitted pieces in two ArtPrizes, is working on a Kickstarter (untoldstories.life) and beginning a course for entrepreneurs at The Factory.
Kirin has always been different. In grade school she was set apart because of her differences. In the business world however, her differences set her apart. She believes people should try everything and once the passion is found, work as hard as possible to make it happen. Kirin never plans to retire. She finds her work too enjoyable.
“Starting a business gives a sense of empowerment that nothing else can. It’s addicting. The excitement of not knowing what is around the next bend is what gets me up in the morning – the opportunity to innovate is what makes me forget to stop working in the evening,” says Kirin.
Kirin enjoys living in Midtown Grand Rapids during fair weather and heads down to New Orleans when winter strikes.