Shelley Sykes Biography2019-02-14T20:05:57+00:00

Shelley Sykes Biography

Philanthropist, Television Producer, TV Show Host, Author, Speaker, Singer-Songwriter (1962–)

A photograph of Shelley Sykes taken by Paul Gregory

QUICK FACTS

NAME
Shelley Sykes

OCCUPATION
Philanthropist, Television Producer, Director & Host, Actress, Voice Artist, Author, Designer, Speaker

BIRTHDATE
July 29, 1962 (age 56)

DID YOU KNOW?
Shelley founded the Happy Charity in 2005 and was nominated 2009 Australian of the Year and received the US Susan B Anthony Award in 2012

DID YOU KNOW?
Shelley wrote and published 5 books in one year

DID YOU KNOW?
Shelley speaks several languages and was the United Nations Hostess for Tourism in Greece for 2 years

EDUCATION
Witwatersrand University, South Africa, Damelin Business Management MBA

PLACE OF BIRTH
West Yorkshire, England

ZODIAC SIGN
Leo

Multi-disciplinary creative media personality.  An author, inspirational speaker, designer & founder of the Happy Charity. She is currently producing, directing and hosting a series of Lifestyle TV Shows in the US.  

Who is Shelley Sykes?

Sykes was born in Yorkshire on 29 July 1962 and is now an Australian citizen. She is working in America in the music and Television industry. She’s an award-winning author of Lifestyle Books and a mother of a special needs child.  Shelley has produced and hosted several TV shows; in the UK and Australia.

She’s a creative communicator, a sought-after inspirational speaker, singer-songwriter, actress and voice artist. Shelley’s voice is being used in animation, for commercials and movies, and she runs several companies. These include Property and Personal Styling, Spas, Travel, and related Media & Entertainment.

Shelley’s Story: Early Life & Career

Bestselling Author, TV Host, Director, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, Actress, Singer-songwriter Shelley Sykes was born in Yorkshire, England. She was a gift on her mamas birthday July 29th1962.

Shelley studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology & Maths at Brighouse Girls Grammar School with the plan to become a Medical Doctor.

Fashion is a family passion. Shelley’s mum and Nana were amazing fashion couture designers and cooks too.  They were creative entrepreneurs and encouraged Shelley to learn to sew and design.  She started her first business at 10 years old, selling bags of Brandy-snap to classmates at School.  It afforded Shelley the opportunity to buy her first new sewing machine and later a motorbike. 

In that year 1972, she was adopted by her mother’s new husband. At 12 years old Sykes worked part-time in her grandmothers Haute Couture Fashion business.  At 16 Shelley was Brighouse Gala Queen.

Shelley also loves Languages, History, Art, Music, Drama, Dance, and Sport, playing Tennis, Netball, Hockey, Skiing, Scuba, and Sailing.  Travel became her next passion especially Ancient Sites, inspired by the book ‘Chariots of the Gods’ and her many trips; taken while working for Intasun Tour Operators. 

Living in South Africa

Whilst waiting for her exam results Shelley worked at Intersun Travel Tour Operators as a PR Travel Specialist, before working in their IT Department. Shelley traveled extensively throughout Europe, taking her Nana on trips since the rest of the family and friends were working. All this traveling gave Shelley the passion for people & cultures.  For her 18th Birthday, Shelley received a trip to South Africa!  Shelley fell in love with Africa and applied for a job while still on holiday with the Standard Bank.  

6 months later, Shelley emigrated to South Africa on her own. She got a place at Witwatersrand University in South Africa to study a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BS. IT). She secured a job working at the Standard Bank Rosebank in the IBM controlled IT Department to pay for her tuition.  The IBM management team, Johannesburg encouraged Shelley to take an MBA at Damelin Business Management School.  They put her on a Dale Carnegie Course to speak publicly since they saw her marketing potential.  

It was at this time that Shelley’s love for music and dance had her friends enter her into the South African Disco Dance Championship. She won the competition, donating her prize money to charity, lapping up the perks of modeling and TV commercial contracts. 

Tourism & Hospitality

After several years in IT, she transitioned into Tourism working as Directors Assistant, before being promoted to Uniworld Tours’ Cape Town Travel Manager. Shelley was offered PR Manager for Southern Seas Charter company after taking 110 Capetonian Travel Agents over a course of several weekends on a weekend getaway to Knysna. The place was idyllic and Shelley regularly wrote for the Knysna Press.   

Yacht Skipper

She received her Yacht Skippers certificate by sailing a 42 ft. Ketch yacht from Simons Town to Knysna around Africa’s Cape Horn. 

At aged 23 Shelley contracted spinal and cerebral Meningitis. After surviving 6 weeks in intensive care at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, Sykes decided life was too short and to follow her bliss. 

Before leaving Africa, she worked for 3 months as a scuba diving instructor for tourists on Lake Malawi.

Living in Greece

Shelley takes a 2-year contract as the Entertainment and PR Director at a 5-star Hotel, Mirabello, Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece. Loving the chance to utilize her languages, MC Skills, Entertainment Performance, and Public Relations finesse, Shelley was the bell of the ball.  She was invited to be the hostess at the United Nations Tourism Summits held annually at the hotel. 

Life was fun and fabulous working 9 months in the hotel and traveling throughout Europe for the other 3 months.    Many celebrities came to the hotel saying “Shelley should be in show business”  So after 2 wonderful years in Greece, Shelley moved back to the UK and took a course in Film and Television, at the London Regent Academy. 

100% Club

Living in Buckinghamshire, she started Shelley’s Sophisticated Tours and Fax Factor. Then began work again in IT with Bluebird Software – UK’s largest IBM Software Partner at the time.  She had just bought a house in Yorkshire before setting up offices for Bluebird in Newcastle.  Shelley worked hard and was thrilled to receive 100% club honors after only 18 months specializing in Just-in-Time Manufacturing and Contractor Scheduling Software. 

Marriage

In 1988 she met Mark L Sykes at one of the company houses and they married six months later in May 1989; flying to Las Brisas Hotel, Acapulco with 23 family and friends for the wedding officiated by the British Consul General.

Nicknamed Miss IBM – Shelley was headhunted by Cyberaid Software to manage their Loughborough Office.  The wedded couple lived in a hotel in their first year of marriage.  They spent only 21 nights in their newly built Yorkshire Home, designed and styled by Shelley and featured in the Limited Edition Magazine.  Mr. Sykes, a programmer urged Shelley to slow down to prepare to start a family.

Beautiful Shelley Sykes Spas 

Shelley decided to set up her own Spa – Beautiful of Bingley in 1989, opened by Bradford’s Mayor.  Her 16 staff needed guidance and so Shelley trained privately in Italy & Switzerland opening with 120 people a day frequenting the spa. Shelley was kept busy, eventually expanding the spas into 5-star hotels such as the busy Crown Plaza Hotel, Leeds and Department Stores Bradford’s Sunwin House.

Acting Yorkshire & Granada TV

She began her acting career working beside talent such as Katherine Zeta-Jones in ‘Darling Buds of May’, who frequented the Spa.  Shelley’s acting ranged from TV dramas, comedies to reading the news for Yorkshire TV’s Calendar News Team. 

She joined the board of Riding Media in1998 and created Kiddy Kapers Children’s Show, Beautiful Babes, Broadly Yorkshire and Feng Shui Lifestyle TV Show as writer, producer, and Host, which aired on Yorkshire Television.

Motherhood

Rory Callum Sykes was conceived in South Africa on a holiday visiting friends. Unfortunately, at 5 months pregnant, Shelley was involved in a serious car accident in Holland. Due to the injuries sustained, baby Sykes was born on his mama’s and grandmas birthday July 29th1992 suffering from respiratory distress syndrome at only 2kg.  Eventually, he was diagnosed blind and had severe spasticity due to brain damage, commonly known as Cerebral Palsy.  

Cerebral Palsy

Shelley knew instinctively there was something wrong with her baby, but it was an absolute shock to his father who had become distant and it was too much for him to handle. The marriage quickly disintegrated leaving Shelley to raise Rory on her own, doing all Rory’s daily physiotherapy routines, hospital visits, and care.  Despite all this, she takes him all over the world with her on her speaking trips.

Miracle Child

Rory and Shelley were in and out of hospital every week, with physio, speech therapy, eye patching, and surgery.  Dad Sykes left them both in a financial pickle, but friends rallied around.  All acting stopped, Shelley started Speaking Professionally, her Property Styling Business took off and running the spas with a baby with special needs kept Shelley super busy.  

Shelley expanded the business into 5 spas in 5-star hotel Crowne Plaza Leeds, Sunwin House Department store, Beautiful of Bingley & Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford. Shelley took a degree in Psychology and Journalism at Bradford University between physio sessions and working through the night on designs for Hotels, Spas, and Restaurants.  

She was determined to give Rory a fun and happy life. She just knew that he would see and walk if she had anything to do with it and she wanted him to travel the world, experiencing life’s joys. 

Callum Rory’s Successes

At 2 and a half, Rory started to see things after eye surgery.  

At nearly 5 years old he took his first step.  He wanted running shoes like Forest Gump and he was promised Lion King Sneakers if he could take a step. Two weeks later he did just that and Shelley took both Rory and his great Nana to Disney World to dine with Tiger and pick up his running shoes.  Rory was the little star of his mother’s TV Show – Kiddy Kapers.

At 6 years old Rory came out of nappies and entered a private small school, wearing calipers.  He ran his first school race at 6 with a lead start and coming in last!  Super proud that he could run like ‘Forest Gump’!  Mum cheering on wildly from the sidelines.  All the daily physiotherapy and eye patching were paying off.

Africa to Antarctica

At 7 years old Shelley took Rory to  Antarctica for the Millennium via Cape Town, Rio and Argentina on a cruise ship.  Rory was the youngest on the ship.  He was allowed to cook in the kitchen with the celebrity chefs for the Captain.  He also joined the officers gathering 50,000-year-old ice.  

On his return to the UK, he had major leg surgery to straighten up his legs.  He had to re-learn to walk with grueling physio daily, which took a year but was rewarded with a move to Australia!

At 8 he got the all clear on his eyes after Shelley patched them daily for 7 years following his eye surgery.

Rory’s 2 favorite trips were the millennium cruise from South Africa to Antarctica and at aged 9 a visit to Lapland to meet the real Santa Claus and his Reindeer.

Philanthropy

After so many hospital visits, Shelley realized there are thousands of families with sick kids. Having media contacts and the largest health spas in Yorkshire Shelley was in a position where she could host fundraising events at the glamorous hotels and raise money for the local Children’s hospitals in desperate need of incubators and special needs equipment and services. The hospital staff was very supportive and Shelley started her Beautiful Charity Balls to help fundraise money for the Hospital children’s ward.

Over the years Shelley has fundraised for Red Nose Day, Make A Wish Foundation, Airedale Hospital, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Magic Moments Foundation, The Spactic Center, Circle of Learning, Dubai Children’s Hospital, KL Children’s Hospital, Culver City Teens, Malibu Boys & Girls Club… 

Living in Australia

After several major legs and eye operations, Shelley realized that Rory really suffered from the cold weather. It was Rory’s dream to walk to school with other kids. Shelley was burning her self out working 5 jobs, 5 Spas, traveling with Speaking gigs and raising Rory on her own in cold old England.  She missed the sunny weather, life by the sea and felt that Rory’s health would benefit from Australia’s wonderful sunshine and give them both a happier new life together.  

Selling the house and spas, after Rory, now straight-legged, was able to see – the two of them landed in Sydney joined by the South African Cricket Team.  Their first Christmas was spent touring Australia on the same Cruise ship that took them to Antarctica!  Everything was working out!

LifeWorks in Mysterious Ways

Shelley managed to pay for Rory’s first of many leg operations with voice over and modeling jobs for Kimberly Clarke incontinence and Condom Ads, which paid the most.   Callum’s Cure reveals the full story.

Shelley was invited on the FOXTEL TV Show ‘Beauty & the Beast’ and phones went manic when she spoke of her Din y San Allergy testing machine.  No-one in Sydney had these machines. They didn’t need a blood sample and so Shelley ended up being persuaded to open 3 more Shelley Sykes Spas in the Stamford Plaza Hotel Double Bay, North Ryde Medical center and Mosman.

Foxtel featured Shelley as herself on the long-running ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Talk Show with Doug Mulray and the other expert ladies such as Lisa Wilkinson, Ita Buttrosse and Susie Elelman.

Destiny

The Australian Company Onetel went bankrupt after only a couple of months in Sydney. Shelley lost her investment. To help him walk, son Rory also needed another leg operation, which cost $54,000 plus.   To top that, Shelley had her hair burnt off her head and Shelley’s TV Job as a Beauty Expert on Channel 7 was canceled. Shelley continued to give to others and stay optimistic. 

Happy Charity

Shelley had arranged to connect 6 children’s charities together so that they could join forces and host one big charity event for a 1000 people, instead of the charities competing with one another. Shelley & her bevy of beautiful friends raised thousands for all the charities concerned. The annual charity balls, which Shelley produced and hosted were successful.  The bigger charities were getting greedy.   In 2005 Shelley decided to found the Happy Charity.  It was set up to ensure that 100% of the money raised would go to help kids and families in need of health, hope and happiness and not the running costs of the charity.  

Global Happiness Day

The first Global Happiness Day Event was held at the Chinese Gardens in Sydney on 05/05/05 and by the year after Global Happiness Day was being celebrated in 210 countries and Islands thanks to Happiness Ambassadors helping Shelley & Rory Spread the Happiness Bug.

The charity continues to give 100% of funds raised to kids in the country that the money is raised in.  

Writing

 Shelley decided to write her book ‘Callum’s Cure‘ which was published by Simon & Schuster Australia with testimonials from Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York, Tony Robbins, New York Times and Edward de Bono.   The book was republished by Beautiful Unlimited Publishing. It won the National Book award – ‘the Indie Book of Excellence for Parenting’ and Callum’s Cure has been updated 5 times and translated into 3 languages. Shelley wrote 4 more books that year and everyone won a USA Book Award.  Sexy Single & Ready to Mingle, Hats to Heels, Words of Inspiration and the Happiness Bug.

Speaking

Shelley joined NSA Speakers in Australia.  From 2001 to present Shelley speaks for Fortune 100 and 500 companies.  In Australia, she keynotes at conferences and for the Sydney Fashion Weeks. Speaking around the globe she is asked to Syke Up the audience to be more productive or more compassionate and caring in the Hospitality & Tourism industries. Shelley speaks in America, Singapore, Holland, South Africa, and Malaysia. She is often asked to MC at Celebrity Fashion Week Events in Sydney and hosts Fashion Events in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Dubai, Paris, and Italy.  Shelley keeps the audience Syked Up and entertained with her related fashion humor.  Shelley was a judge and a keynote at the annual Miss Earth Competition for several years and presents at her own Get Syked Seminars.

In 2005 Shelley received her CSP certification for speaking professionally to over 250 Fortune 500 companies.  She shares the stage globally with the likes of Edward de Bono, Patch Adams, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, Marlee Matlin, John Demartini, and Bob Proctor – Syking people up for happier, more productive lives.

In 20017 she was the keynote speaker at FISU’s World Netball Championships in Florida and in 2018 the opening keynote for the Best of You Expo, America.

Opening Keynote Dubai

Shelley was the opening keynote for the Professional Speakers inaugural Conference in Dubai and each year 600+ people party and donate funds raised for the Dubai Children’s Hospital, UAE through her Happy Charity.  Shelley is a regular speaker in the UAE.

Shelley’s Clients include Fashion Weeks Worldwide,  Race Events, ABN Ambro Netherlands, Ministry of Education Singapore, IBM Worldwide, real estate Franchises, IHG Hospitality, Reed Events Home & Gardens, ESPN…

Music

In 2003 Shelley raised enough money to pay for 69 kids from Youth off the Streets & Father Chris Riley plus 5 teachers to fly to San Diego, for Tony Robbins Discovery Camp.  Shelley and Rory were the keynote speakers.  Shelley rapped her message to the 800 kids. who nicknamed her ‘Rappin Mama’ & ‘Rory Rockin Rory’.  They inspired Shelley to create a music single from her rap.  She did and it aired on Australian Idol in 2009.

Shelley was asked to keynote at Tony Robbins Foundation’s Annual Discovery Camp in San Diego with son Rory in 2003.  What they really needed to know and hear, was that they were ok, no matter who they were and where they came from. That we all have our own stories to tell.  She changed out of her outfit, into some oversized NBA shorts, shirt, and Snapback to rap. Rapping her newly made up keynote, in honor of top Rap Artist Eminem… ‘I’m the Rappin Mama’.  

Shelley promised the kids she would produce a music single.  It went on to air as the promo music video for the Australian Idol 2007 My mum Rocks Competition.  In 2010 Shelley’s second song Sexy Single & Ready to Mingle debuted on Australia’s Got Talent.  

Get Syked Music Mix 1

Singer-songwriter Shelley Sykes works with Grammy Award-winning music producers and creates Pop and R&B music for the up and coming TV shows, along with the remixed popular songs.  Today Shelley’s ‘Get Syked Mix 1′ Album features 13 songs and is available on Apple Music.  The 13 music videos are on YouTube.  Shelley is currently working on ‘Get Sykes Music Mix 2’ Album.

Awards

Shelley is lucky enough to have the confidence and integrity to try out new exciting adventures. 

Dance Award

In 1983 Shelley won the South African Disco Championships.  This gave her the opportunity to get into commercial and modeling work.

Work Awards

1989 IBM 100% Club Award – Shelley exceeded all her targets as an IBM Consultant Software Specialist for AS400 IBM Systems

Spa Awards & Credits

1999 UK Best Health Spas Award.  Shelley’s Spas received the UK Best Health Spa Awards for 2 consecutive years. Shelley received the Swiss CIBTAC Creditation as a Spa Owner. Running spas for 10 years aligned with European Standards is quite an honor.

Speaker Awards & Credits

2005 CSP Accreditation from the National Speakers Association.   Shelley received her Certified Speaking Professional Accreditation, for 250 paid speaking event references from her Fortune 100 clients.

Book Awards

2007 American Book Fest – Best Book Awards for:

            Hats to Heels – Winner Fashion & Beauty Category

            Words of Inspiration – Inspiration

            The Happiness Bug – Mental Health & Happiness

            Sexy Single & Ready to Mingle – Relationships

2008 Indie Book of Excellence for Callum’s Cure Book – Parenting/Auto-Biography

Philanthropic Awards

2009 Nominated Australian of the Year – Shelley was recognized for her charity work in Australia. Global Happiness Day started in one City Sydney on 05/05/05 and is now supported in 210 countries and Islands.

2012 Honored with the Susan B Anthony Award for Shelley’s Philanthropy in the USA. ‘Failure is impossible’ and persistence to continue on; reflects both Susan and Shelley wills to help others.

Honorary Doctorate

2009 Honorary Doctorate Psychology for Mental Health, Happiness & Productivity.   Sharjah University, UAE honored Shelley with a Doctorate for working with Dr. Edward De Bono and her books researching happiness.

TV Production

In Australia Shelley wrote, produced & hosted ‘Health Wealth and Happiness’ with co-host Kieran Revell and the Apple Productions Team.  For fun, they created a few comedy skits for a pilot show.

Shelley now interviews celebrities and talented people, who are Syked Up about what they are doing in life. The Get Syked Series of Travel & Lifestyle TV Shows are being produced in the US. They are to be announced.