About Our Executive Director, Jenelle Marie Pierce
In 2012, Jenelle quit her career as an Analyst for Stryker Corporation’s Healthcare Division and founded The STI Project: Breaking the Stigma® and its child sites. She is now The STI Project’s Executive Director; the Founder of the herpes activists network, HANDS; and the Spokesperson for Positive Singles. As an STI+ Sexual Health Educator and content creator, Jenelle is dismantling stigma by reclaiming STI narratives® through awareness, education, and acceptance.
Jenelle is also a Tri-Chair of the Communications Action Group at the National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) and a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (IUASTD), the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA), the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), and the Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition.
Previously, Jenelle was the STD Expert for Answers.com and an adjunct professor for Grand Rapids Community College.
Freelance Writer – The Washington Post, SELF, Planned Parenthood, Allure, Kinkly.com, and others – Present
Professional Speaker – AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Red Project, and others – Present
STD Expert – Answers.com – 2013-2017
Adjunct Professor – Grand Rapids Community College – 2012-2016
National Coalition for Sexual Health (NCSH) – Tri-Chair of the Communications Action Group
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists – AASECT
The International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI)
American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association (ASTDA)
National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD)
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
The Intermountain West HPV Vaccination Coalition
Women in Sex Tech
American Sexual Health Association – Ambassador
For Women Who Roar
AASECT Certified Sexual Health Educator – Modern Sex Therapy Institutes – Summer 2020
MBA – Graduated with high honors from the Honors Program – Davenport University
BBA – Graduated with honors from the Honors Program – Davenport University
Noteable Awards & Recognition**
50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan 2016
40 Under 40 Business Leader 2015
Advocates Unite! Caring Ambassadors Fellow 2015
A Note from Jenelle
Hi, ya’ll! My name’s Jenelle Marie Pierce (she/her/hers), and I am STI+. Since I was 16 years old, I’ve lived with genital herpes – otherwise known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV) or simply, herpes (I’ve also had other STIs). Who admits to that? *raises hand* Want to know more about my experience with an STI or STD? Read my STI Interview.
More importantly, having an STI has not hindered my love life, dampened my ambition, or limited my relationships. I’ve been married, auditioned for American Idol, gone skydiving 3 times, been an auditor for a Big 4 accounting firm, ran a 25k, started successful businesses, worked as a ‘carny’ on a fried veggie wagon (seriously), completed 2 honors degrees, etc., etc.. An STI, in short, has not stopped me from achieving anything or enjoying my life.
I am here to tell you, having an STI or STD does not have to stop you either.
Sure, no one wants an infection – I don’t want a cold or the flu – but, as humans, our bodies are not infallible. They are resilient, yes, but certainly not infallible, and maladies are part of the human experience.
Most importantly, I understand what it’s like to feel stereotyped, misunderstood, and alone with something considered taboo. As a result, I work to encourage education and facilitate thoughtful discussion about sexual health and STIs, specifically. I can also be a vessel for your STI stories through the STI Interviews. In time, I won’t need to be this vessel because we will have broken the stigma and opened the minds of others, but until then, I am here to serve you.