Sylvia Smythe has over 30 years of experience as a church lay leader. In the wider community she has served as President of the Interchurch Samaritan Counseling Center in Whittier, California, Vice President of the Canterbury Board at the University of Southern California, and President of the Fine Arts Club, Pasadena, California. Throughout her professional life as a college and university educator, as a church leader, and with 501(C)(3) boards, she has brought diverse groups together to seek common ground.
As Director of College Success and Grants Projects Director at Citrus College, Sylvia initiated brainstorming meetings across departments to envision three federal grant projects which subsequently established successful STEM and College Success programs. Equipping people to work together across campus departments, she led vibrant initiatives which increased student retention, graduation and transfer rates for underserved students. While Project Director, she supervised over 50 grant-appointed positions and managed budgets totaling ten million dollars. At USC she stepped into a sudden vacancy due to the death of a long-time Program Lead, and as the new Program Lead steered the TESOL/TEFL Master’s program to hire faculty, build curricula and expand the program’s international student presence.
In Episcopal churches Sylvia has led diverse groups to envision and create programs, including a tutoring program for local elementary schools; she has created and led music and book groups and chaired hiring committees for parish staff. She’s been involved with capital campaigns and led various church committees, including the Vestry at St. Edmund’s, San Marino, where she served as Senior Warden.
Sylvia and her husband (an Episcopal priest) moved to Arizona three years ago and are engaged in the Episcopal Church community. Since recently completing and appreciating Best Skills/Best Churches, Sylvia looks forward to sharing best practices as the Faith Responder for Effective Communication & Handling Conflict.