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My Story Started at GRCC: Alyssa Veneklase has a rewarding career helping new mothers

Jan. 3, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

Alyssa Veneklase helps mothers give their babies the best start at life.

She got her professional start at GRCC.

Veneklase started at GRCC her senior year of high school, taking Advanced Placement classes. After graduating, she went to Grand Valley State University but was uncertain what she wanted to do.

“I then transferred to GRCC to earn my associate degree,” she said. “I found that it prepared me well for real life. I started my first business as a photographer when I was 18 and still taking classes at GRCC.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in management from Cornerstone University, Veneklase worked in offices and retail settings. Her career path shifted after she gave birth to her daughter in 2013.

“Having a child really opened my eyes to a need in the community to support mothers, and I decided I could help fill that gap,” she said.

She is now the co-owner of Gold Coast Doulas LLC, which offers birth doulas, day and overnight postpartum doulas, lactation support, and sleep consultations. The company also has a podcast, “Ask the Doulas.”

“We are 100% women-owned; all of our subcontractors are women, and we support women and their families throughout delivery and postpartum,” she said.

As rewarding as her career is, Veneklase sometimes wishes she could be a fulltime student and take classes at GRCC for the rest of her life.

“It’s a great starting point for students,” she said. “It’s small enough that it’s not overwhelming for a young adult. It’s easy to find your way around and feel at home. I think my education at GRCC was amazing!”

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