Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: LaShinda John – LegalShield Independent Consultant
Name: LaShinda C.
IL (South Side)
Current Residence: Chicago, IL (The Island Community)
All About LaShinda: Before I began my current career, I was a professional photojournalist for 10 years that allowed me to travel. I’ve had the opportunity as a photojournalist to live in Columbus, Georgia and Philadelphia, PA. Plus, I have traveled through most of the United States, visited Halifax and St. John in Canada; Kolkata and the Andaman Islands in India; Uganda in Africa; and Jerusalem in Israel. I do have an upcoming trip to Paris, France with my awesome husband for our 5th anniversary! I would say that traveling is my current hobby and hope to do more of it. I worked 10 years professionally as a photojournalist and transitioned into sales for the past 7 yrs. Although I do not live in Berwyn per-say, I enjoy being a business member of the community and supporting the great things this community has to offer. I’ve enjoyed meeting new businesses and participating in the Women in Business Meetings. I enjoy being a contributor of the business community.
The Business Side: I worked 10 years professionally as a photojournalist and transitioned into sales where I’ve been for over 7 years now. Over 10 years ago, I was introduced to the company Pre-Paid Legal, which is now LegalShield. I was at a financial seminar and a representative told me that I could talk to a law firm about any problem for less than $1 a day. Also, if I had a business I could use the plan for less than a cup of coffee per day. I signed up that, day but I was skeptical. My skepticism disappeared after my first use of LegalShield. I had a dispute with a company that refused to give me a refund. A LegalShield attorney wrote a letter to the company on my behalf. Because of that letter, the company gave me a refund and an apology. I became a Believer and also became a part-time Independent Associate for the LegalShield for Life! My LegalShield membership has paid for itself several times over. I even met my husband through Legal Shield! Legal Shield is a great tool for individuals and businesses. One never knows when they may need legal support. From help with landlord dispute to help reviewing a new business lease agreement, I enjoy offering people a cost-effective opportunity.
Describe yourself using 3 words.
Respectful, Considerate, Caring. My parents taught me at an early age to be respectful, considerate and caring of others. As a young child, most of my neighbors were senior citizens and I respectfully called them Mr. or Mrs. When I cleaned the street in front of my home and saw my next-door neighbors had trash in front of their home, I would clean theirs as well. In a diverse world, people will not agree on every issue, but there is a way to disagree respectfully and come to a solution.
What inspires you?
People who give of themselves to improve the community, region and world. There are people who stay in the same community for years and help the youth through learning programs, people who travel to other regions and countries to make communities better by sharing their knowledge and skills, and so much more. The list of people who have done this and who currently do this is too long to name—they all inspire me!
Tell us something that people might not know about you.
For the past several years I have been committed to helping orphans in Uganda, Africa. I began working with Windows of Hope Uganda and have been blessed to watch my sponsored child and his siblings grow over the past years. Their handwritten letters always express how happy they are to have an Auntie and Uncle that support them emotionally and financially.
I currently reside in The Island community of Chicago, which is less than 5 minutes from Berwyn. The community of Berwyn was the perfect choice for me because of its diversity and its willingness to market and bring in more urban professionals. My husband and I had an opportunity to participate in Berwyn’s historic homes tour last year and we felt a small-town atmosphere as we toured that truly enjoyed.
What’s one of the most interesting places you’ve been?
Even though I have traveled out of the country and have seen many awesome and interesting places, one place that still brings a smile to my face is my experience at the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. I knew I was moving from Georgia to Pennsylvania in a couple of months and wanted to photograph a race at the Superspeedway. On a bright sunny day, I signed my life away and got my wish. After 3 hours of standing in the grassy area just below Turn 1 to photograph the professional racers going over 180mph past me, I am still alive with that lasting memory. The winner that day was Dale Earnhardt Sr. As I photographed him in the Winner’s Circle, I knew I was also a winner because I had one of the best days of my life!
What job would you be terrible at?
I would be a terrible firefighter, because that job brings lots of surprises. When firefighters arrive at the scene of a fire, they have no idea what they’ll find. They don’t know how many people are stuck in a burning building, whether it was arson or an accident, whether there are children or disabled people in the building, etc. That’s too much uncertainty for me. I don’t like surprises—they stress me out; Even good surprises can stress me out. For example, last year I thought my husband was going to take me to a nice bed and breakfast in a small town in southern Indiana. A week before our scheduled trip to Indiana, he tells me—SURPRISE—we are really going to Israel. On the one hand, I was thrilled because visiting Israel was on my bucket list, but on the other hand, I was stressed until I learned all the details of the trip. This year, he has done it again. I thought we were going to Galena, Illinois, but nope—SURPRISE—we’re going to Paris, France for our 5th anniversary! Yes, I’m stressed, but I will get over it in about a week. I am NO GOOD at surprises.
If you could collaborate with any person, who would that be and why?
One of the most gifted photographers of all-time would be Ansel Adams. The natural landscape scenes he captures give me unexplained peace. From the mountains of Utah to Montana, the textures and tones bring depth and surealness to his photographs. I stare at them and feel like I’m there, from the coolness of the snow to the warmth of the sun. Just to accompany him on photographing ALL natural landscapes/parks around the world to bring people joy and peace would be an amazing experience. One of my favorites of his is “Heaven’s Peak” Glacier National Park, Montana.
Would you rather meet your ancestors or your descendants?
My ancestors would be the people I would like to meet to thank them for their hard work and sacrifices they made for the next generations. For example, both my step-great-grandfathers were instrumental in purchasing land that has stayed in the family for years. I would love to have a conversation with them to learn how they did this with very little education because their families needed them on the farm to work and they could not constantly attend school. I would love to ask them what else I could do to help the next generation that I may not have thought about.
What was cool when you were younger, but isn’t now?
Rollerblading. I used to rollerblade 20 years ago and would take my dog along with me along a nice Riverwalk path next to the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. My dog learned to stay on my right side and never to cross in front of me while we exercised. Less than a year later, I upgraded to newer rollerblades because I had worn out the used ones. Once I moved from this area, getting to another smooth path to rollerblade was not as convenient. I let 20 years lapse and decided to dust off the rollerblades for old times’ sake. I went to a park and fell because I was so unbalanced; I got back up and tried again, and down to the ground I went. I decided I don’t like falling. I will stick to bike riding where I am more balanced!