My Top Women Owned Businesses Award Speech

Today is really exciting for me.  I’m attending a luncheon for the Grand Rapids Business Journal Top Women Owned Businesses Award (say that ten times fast).  My company, GreenCup, is a finalist.  Award recipients have four minutes to speak about their passion and motivation.  I’ve worked really hard on my speech, and would like to share it to inspire you and your work.

Hi Everyone!

Thank you to the Grand Rapids Business Journal for this award, and to the Frederick Meijer Gardens for hosting this amazing event.

What is an Anthropologist and Disaster Relief Worker doing running a website services company?  Life truly takes us in unexpected directions.

My name is Veronica Kirin, and I am the owner and founder of GreenCup.

I spent the first three years of my career doing disaster relief work for a government organization called the National Civilian Community Corps.  During that time I earned the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Congressional Medals for service work.  I was also honored to receive the Spirit of Service Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service, bestowed to me by former President George Bush Senior.  I found out, when we shook hands, he has very soft hands.

I loved what I did, but when a tsunami in American Samoa left me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I found the resulting depressing and anxiety I experienced with any relief work I attempted was unbearable.  My career was over, and I was forced to find another way to use my skills to serve others.

Back in Grand Rapids, a loving friend encouraged me to apply for Rising Women Leaders in support of my first venture, a nonprofit organization.  This was a program sponsored by Huntington Bank in support of female community leaders and their careers.  I was accepted into the 2010 program.  There, I rediscovered my empowerment, and met amazing colleagues, several of whom are here today.  Hello ladies!

As my confidence regrew, I realized I might start a business.  I was referred to Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, where I took classes on business and learned about the Grand Rapids business community.

I truly believe that nonprofits and small businesses are the backbone of our community.  These are the people who go to work every day to do what they love, whether it’s cutting hair, designing desserts, or innovating in the housing market for the homeless.

Today, for an organization to thrive, they must have a presence on the web.  It’s easy to put something online and say “good enough”, but that is a disservice to the work of an organization.  Done right, a website as simple as five pages can draw visitors in to your passion, not only converting them in sales but as evangelists for your work.  I found that my background in Anthropology and Aid Work perfectly suited this field.

This is what excites us at GreenCup.  The cup means we meet you where you are — tech savvy or no — and usually over a casual cup of coffee.  Green means we build a site that caters to your mission and customer base to draw in the growth you seek.

I’m also pleased to announce that the GreenCup family grew this week with the hiring of a female web developer!  In the male-dominated tech industry, this is an important gain.  I’m sure you all agree.

Our mission in 2017 is to leverage my background in the nonprofit world to grow our work with area nonprofits from 25% to 50% of our portfolio.  This award from the Grand Rapids Business Journal will help make that a reality.

Thank you again for this amazing honor.  It was totally unexpected and affirms that GreenCup is succeeding in its goal of holistically supporting others in a tech-driven world.