Photo: LaTrenda Sherrill interviewing Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatraat the 2015 One Young World Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
The story first appeared in NEXTpittsburgh, which publishes Kidsburgh.
Passionate about coalition-building, LaTrenda Leonard Sherrill founded Common Cause Consulting to help nonprofits, government agencies and companies address social concerns related to education, community outreach, policy and equity. Formerly Deputy Chief of Education for the City of Pittsburgh under Mayor Peduto, Sherrill grew up in Houston and lives in Brighton Heights.
What’s your big idea for Pittsburgh?
I want us to continue to invest in our young people. It matters to me that youth are introduced to careers in elementary school and middle school and that they have the opportunity to get job experience and internships (as a part of their school day) in high school, particularly careers in STEM. We have to set up every child for opportunities in this region, and there is no reason that we can’t get a job for every high schooler in Allegheny County.
What is the best part of your job?
As an organizational consultant, I love that I get to interact with different types of organizations that are working on a number of challenges of equity, particularly in education, workforce and the justice system. I can really see the “big picture” for many of the goals of the organizations because they connect with so many other things. In this region, nothing is far removed, so I enjoy connecting individual efforts, to greater systemic change.
Some of the great organizations that I’ve been able to work with include Remake Learning, the Heinz Endowments, Amachi Pittsburgh, United Way of Southwestern PA, YouthPlaces, the Allegheny Conference, and the Mentoring Partnership. I also love the flexibility. I can pick up my children in the middle of the day when I need to. For me, as a new mom, owning a business at this time in my life is ideal.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
I am super excited about the Bartko Foundation’s annual Irene’s Dream Ladies Luncheon. The Bartko Foundation gives out grants to single minority mothers in the region, and it is my favorite time of year because I get to help with the fundraising. And who can forget the Month of the Young Child events that take place in the region? Particularly the annual celebration dinner hosted by Trying Together, where the region gets an opportunity to thank and recognize the early childhood advocates and educators who care for our early learners. And of course Remake Learning Days, the nation’s largest open house for learning.
Your not-so-secret Pittsburgh spot?
The Union parties at Brillobox with DJ Big Phill, Selecta and Blakk Steel. Get to dance the night away jamming to hip hop from every decade.
What’s been bugging you lately?
Lack of social mobility for whole communities in our region. So many reports demonstrate that if you are of a certain demographic, particularly black or brown and are from certain neighborhoods, your quality of life outcomes are diminished. That’s just unacceptable in 2020.
What song in your playlist is on endless repeat?
“Tupac Back” by Meek Mill feat Rick Ross, and Beyonce’s entire “Homecoming” album.
Which Pittsburgh food truck do you want to be parked outside your house?
Where will we find you this Saturday night?
At home, loving on my 5-month-old, and my 3-year-old.
It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?
Freedom Fitness Facility in the Strip.
Fill in the blank: In Pittsburgh, I can’t live without my:
In-laws and my extended family and friends. The Sherrills/Nichols/Harris/Dupree family really holds my husband and me down.
What is the one thing that would surprise Pittsburghers most about you?
That I don’t like macaroni and cheese. Not a fan, at all.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to in the past year and why?
New Orleans for the International Stem Learning Ecosystems Convening. The conference was a great conference to learn about the trends and promising practices in STEM education. But also, beignets!