I remember seeing LaShondra (or as I know her, Cherry) during my ESU orientation. She was one of the orientation leaders who stood out the most. I remember her big hair and big personality. Throughout my ESU career, I would see Cherry everywhere. We lived in the same dorm, I would join the Orientation Leaders, and we would see each other around mutual friends. The year I left ESU, she ended up being roommates with my best friend, Rose so I would see her occasionally when I visited Rose. During my time at ESU, Cherry intimidated me. Don’t get me wrong, she was awesome! But she was also very blunt and would speak her mind with no hesitation. After I left ESU, I remained friends with Cherry via social media. Throughout this time, I’ve seen her take part in so many projects, podcasts, and travel. Her Instagram posts will give anyone life envy! Between passion projects, three jobs, and light travel, she also found the time to complete her Master’s degree! Cherry is bright but I know her future is even brighter, and I can’t to see where she goes.
LaShondra R. Cherry (Cherry Poppins)
Degree(s): Bachelors in Communication Studies and Spanish
Masters of Education in Instructional Technology
Orgs/ Extra Curricular you are involved in/ Projects you’re working on: One of 3 hosts of The Officially Street Podcast
How and where do you find motivation?
I think I have always been a go-getter. From the day that I got my first job when I was 17, I never went without a job. It is rewarding to me to be able to do what I need to for myself and for others. Because I’ve had that mentality for so long it is kind of just second nature to me. I’m also motivated by others. When some random person comes up to me and tells me they listened to my podcast or they listened to my radio show and that it was so awesome, that feels amazing. On my second to last radio show I had at 90.3 WESS I had someone call me from the jail and tell me how I am the one thing that a lot of people looked forward to in there; I was their only source of information for the media world. To get that message was a blessing and that made me realize that I was doing what I was put on earth to do. Granted I am not doing a radio show now, but in due time I will be right back at it.
How do you maintain work/life/activities balance?
Just. Do. It. Literally I don’t think about it I just do it. If it’s going from one job to the next I try not to think about how tired I am going to be or how much time I am giving to these jobs. I know that it will pay off in the end and that is what matters the most. I also know that you have to make time for fun, whichever way you have fun. You can’t just be all work and no play. I don’t get to play often but when I do I go hard.
What values are you committed to?
Loyalty, trust, family, hard work. Sometimes I’m too loyal and that could be an issue. For example, I tried to quit one of my jobs and she told me she would work around whichever schedule that I wanted so now I just work one day a week opening because I don’t want to let her down.
Any time you took a risk that paid off?
Moving to Philadelphia with no place to live and no solid income was definitely a risk that paid off. In just three months of living here, I got an apartment and started my career. I thank god for my amazing friends who have supported me and have pushed me to get to where I am. They have helped me with anything that I have needed. It is truly a blessing to have such a support system in my life.
Any lessons you had to learn the hard way?
I have been pretty blessed thus far. I feel like God has never steered me wrong to the point that I haven’t really struggled or made bad life decisions, unless that includes men. Maybe one thing that I am still learning is to come out of my shell and talk to new people on my own. Sometimes just introducing yourself and being genuinely friendly can open so many doors and that is one thing I am still working on. It is not because I am mean or anything, it’s just more about being shy and not wanting to bother the person.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud of a bunch of different things. I’m proud of my relationship with my immediate family. We have grown so close recently and I’m very happy about that. I am proud of what I have done in radio and being able to make an impact on upcoming artists and listeners. I am proud of my work ethic. To go through school, straight through and get a masters degree is amazing to me. It took a lot of hard work and dedication. I’m proud of my current position with my company. I am the instructional designer for an international company. There are over 5000 employees for this company and my job is to develop and modify the training materials for all of the employees. It is a new position for the company and I am the only one with this position. I am very proud of that.
Who has influenced you the most?
I don’t think it is a who, I think it is a what. We live in a society where black women aren’t as valued as others. That makes me work harder. That influences my life decisions. That makes me come up with a game plan to be successful in whatever it is that I am doing. I am a 25 year old black woman with a Masters degree, an important position with my company, experiences that people would never believe, I’ve had opportunities that would make your jaw drop; I recognize that I am successful, that I am accomplished, that I am a boss. My skin color shouldn’t determine if others will identify these awesome qualities and treat me as such.
You’ve traveled to a quite a few places. Which has been your favorite and why?
This is such a hard questions because I swear I have left pieces of my heart in each place. The noteworthy places Ive been to are Dominican Republic, South Africa, Peru, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Spain. If I had to choose three it would be Maui first because that was the most humbling experience. I was there for 8 days and for 8 days I lived out of a 15 passenger van. We would sleep in the van then go to the beach then shower outside and go about our day. I felt pure when I was there, I felt like the only thing that could go wrong was it raining which wasn’t so bad because it was so hot most days. I was vegan at the time and it was amazing to me how their culture catered to peoples diets. I felt genuinely happy and I know the only way to get that exact happiness back is to go back to maui.
Spain because their culture is just amazing. I loved speaking with the people and seeing the architecture, and eating the food. That is definitely a place I would like to live or at the least take an extended vacation to.
Viequez with is an island on the coast of Puerto Rico. There is a bioluminescent bay and it’s the most amazing thing in the world. Its like the tree with the river in Pocahontas. It’s truly amazing; no picture will ever be able to capture its warmth and beauty.
What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?
Have more confidence in everything that you do. EVERYTHING. I’ve always been confident but there is always that self-doubt that comes in there. Just know that God is guiding you and you will be alright.
What’s next for you?
So I just started this new job and I am loving it so far. I want to dominate this position in the next two years. I want to quit my other jobs (after I stack my bread) and pursue my passion which is radio, and have my podcast blow up.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for being nice, genuine, and caring. I want people to remember me for being the culture and helping to educate people professionally and formally.