How To Be An Aspiring Baker, Letter Writer & Aspiring Community Health & Wellness Expert: Meet Barbara D. Sykes

I’ve had challenges knowing what my true purpose was.  I thought it was only one thing growing up and if that’s the case my core purpose is to be of service to those who need it….”

Welcome back babes! So happy you’re here with me again this week. Today, we are recognizing a woman who has many talents, and is a product of hard work, determination, and persistence. I love her! I met this gem while working for the Peace Corps, and she and I were immediately connected to one another. I look up to her for her wisdom, and love her for her continued strength she shows everyday! I wanted her to share her story, and learn about how she plans on starting her new business next month! All of the yes to that! Also, her bucket list is absolutely epic. Don’t miss her favorites at the end. Grab a cup, sit back, and enjoy your Friday read! Get to know….


Current City/State: Seattle, Washington

Hometown:  Harvey, Illinois

Full-time job(s): Business Office Credit Balance Analyst @ Swedish Medical Center

Fall 2018 Graduate – Master of Public Health (Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University)

Hi Barbara! Welcome to The Boss Diary! So glad you’re here. Let’s start with your experience as a volunteer. Why did you decide to join the Peace Corps, and what did you learn about yourself while serving abroad?

I joined Peace Corps because of a desire to gain experience of the continent of Africa.  I had wanted to join when I lived in Atlanta, GA and my daughter was 5 years old. I wanted her to have a life exposure living in another country – something I didn’t see many African American citizens experience.  I learned many things: I care a lot about people’s wellbeing; my unrecognized privilege as a US citizen; the strength I have to accomplish things; I’ve not been living my full potential and sharing my gifts; I felt appreciated for the work I do.

Tell us about your life post Peace Corps. Was it easy or difficult coming back to the states after living abroad for 2 years?

The first year back was quite difficult; the adjustment period was quite long (over 15 months).  I hid/stayed in the house for the first three months. I slept a lot. I felt out of sorts, out of place.  I longed to go back to Ghana. People and places were different – a bit unrecognizable. I was more assertive and unforgiving toward people about their complaining and “1st world problems”

I know that you love to meditate and write. Can you tell us more about how these help you in your day-to-day life?

I journaled and meditated every day while in Peace Corps.  It was my way of staying calm and centered. I gained direction on what to do each day and for the week, what was needed for and with the children and adolescents.  I wrote sensual prose to soothe my loneliness. I wrote letters to family and friends to keep them abreast of my activities and share a small piece of Ghana with them.

Everyone has a purpose, and it’s so refreshing to find women who are truly living out their dreams.. How would you define your own purpose?

I’ve had challenges knowing what my true purpose was.  I thought it was only one thing growing up and if that’s the case my core purpose is to be of service to those who need it; yet I realize I have many purposes: to connect with people – know that they are seen and that they matter; to bake southern deserts – to share the goodness and memories of my grandmothers who both baked; to help people get healthier – a strong community

Who are some of your favorite business women or entrepreneurs that you look up to?

Natalie of TheTinyCloset, Dr. Kristian H of BLK+GRN, Paolo Mathé of Fanm Djanm, Chef Kristi Brown of That Brown Girl Cooks

Tell me one thing that most people may not know about you.

I’m shy

Are there any projects you are working on, and/or upcoming events that we should know about?

Working on getting my small baking business launched (by the end of October)

Name one thing that your hometown city is known for that some people may not know.

The Dells (R&B vocal group) from Harvey

What would the “21-year old you,” say to you today?

You’ve accomplished so much. Though you doubt you were strong enough to do many things, you’ve never stopped striving for better, for yourself and your daughter.  You’ve had some detour, some heart aches and disappointments but you continued on. Give yourself some credit and keep going.

Before you go, what is one piece of advice you would give to women out there who are looking to change their lifestyle through fitness?

Know what you want to do, write it down and start off slow – your lifestyle is not a race, it is what you want to embody and evolve over time

Fave 7:

  1. Summer Activity: Sitting on a bench in the park soaking up the sun
  2. Restaurant in my neighborhood: Tulio (my favorite – not in my neighborhood),
  3. Podcast: Clever Girl Finance, The Burchard Show
  4. Lipstick: None – need to find a good one
  5. Color: Bronze yellow, Orange
  6. Social Media App: Instagram
  7. Disney movie: Fantasia (1940)

Random 7:

  1. If you won $20 Million in the lottery, what would you do with that money?: Invest $2.5 Million in 401k, $3.5 Million set up scholarship foundation for students (here & abroad), $2.5 Million pay off debts (mine, hubby & my family – parents, brother, sister, daughter), $4.5 Million set up trust funds (daughter, nieces)
  2. How would you describe your best friend in 3 words? Snarky, poignant, objective
  3. What is the last good book that you’ve read? The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  4. What is the best concert that you’ve been to? Sade
  5. Number one travel destination in the world that you would like to visit? Kyoto, Japan
  6. Who is your current celebrity crush? Drew Barrymore
  7. 3 things on your bucket list? own a villa in Portugal, dress up in Carnival (Trinidad), visit the Giraffe Manor in Kenya

Thank you so much Barbara for joining us today, and sharing your story in my diary! So much gratitude. Ladies – be sure to follow Barbara on social media – links below. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next Friday for our next feature!



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