Barbara Sykes

Barbara Sykes is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ohio United Way ― the state association for United Ways in Ohio.

Barbara has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of all Ohioans. She is a strong advocate for working families and for the rights of women and others who are often overlooked and underserved.

Barbara is a former 3-term State Representative, former Deputy Auditor in Summit County, Past President of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, and is the first African-American woman to have served on Akron’s City Council.

Barbara has been recognized for her community service through various awards such as the C. William Keck, M.D., M.P.H. Community Medicine Award, presented by Akron Community Health Resources, Inc., and has been named as Legislator of the Year by the Ohio Association of Children Hospitals, Second Harvest for Hunger and Voices for Children of Greater Cleveland.

Barbara earned both her undergraduate degree in social work and her master's degree in public administration from the University of Akron. She and her husband, Vernon Sykes, have two daughters, Stancy and Emilia; and two grandchildren, Hugh, and Hope.