Her work as a journalist and co-host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show puts Sybil Wilkes in daily contact with high-profile newsmakers. Over the years, she’s interviewed hundreds of notables, including no less than Barack Obama.
But much as Sybil values opportunities to learn from national leaders, she claims a Chicago public school teacher as her greatest mentor. The teacher was her mother, who inherited a love of education from Sybil’s grandfather, the first African American to earn a PhD from the University of Kansas.
With her mother’s encouragement, Sybil continued the family tradition, earning a degree in political science and communications from Chicago’s prestigious Northwestern University.
Not long before graduation, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sybil stayed nearby, starting her career at a Chicago radio station. By the time opportunities lured Sybil to radio newsrooms in Florida and North Carolina, her mother had made a strong recovery.
Several years after the original diagnose, the cancer returned. Sybil came back to Chicago to pursue her career near her mother. The mother-daughter team served as Susan G. Komen for the Cure volunteers, driving women to treatment sessions.
Sybil continued supporting Komen after her mother’s death, eventually taking the message of breast cancer awareness and early detection to her nationwide radio audience. Recently, Sybil increased her commitment by becoming a Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise national ambassador. It’s one of the many ways she fulfills the biblical teaching often quoted by her parents: “To whom much is given, much is required.”