40 Under 40

Machelle Syx, CFRE

Akron Children’s Hospital
Akron, Ohio

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  • Under her leadership, the program over the last four years have grown from $7.6 million (2017), $17.1 million (2018), $23.8 million (2019), to $20.5 million (2020)
  • Machelle was also instrumental in creating a comprehensive corporate sponsorship program through the Akron Marathon Race Series, which raised an additional $2.06 million from 2016-2020
  • Machelle has volunteered her time by serving on the Board for the Women's Leadership Conference of Northeast Ohio as well as the committee for the Women's Endowment Fund's annual events: For Women, Forever

Q & A

1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?

I originally got into philanthropy through wanting to make a difference in missions that I am passionate about. Previous roles allowed me to work on fundraisers that were in collaboration with healthcare systems, one of them being Akron Children's Hospital. Seeing Akron Children's mission and their culture pulled me into the healthcare side of philanthropy.

2. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

Once I found fundraising, I was sure that the only thing I wanted to do in life was to plan events. That quickly changed though when I had the opportunity to learn about corporate social responsibility. While I still truly enjoy fundraising events and event planning, there is something about being able to help a corporation fulfill their philanthropic mission through time, talent, and treasure that calls to me. Working on true partnerships that are moving missions and communities forward is very rewarding, and I am so thankful that I get to do that every day. 

3. What piece of advice would you give aspiring 40 Under 40 recipients?

You always hear "dress for the job you want," which I agree with. However, I would take that a step further and say "do the job you want" (to an extent obviously). Do not wait for a project, opportunity, or assignment to be handed to you. For example, if your dream job is to be a major gift officer, create a strategy of prospects you already have and how you can get them to major giving and share those thoughts with your manager. Likewise, if you want to be in a leadership role, talk to your manager about potentially creating and overseeing an internship program or mentoring a newer employee. Always be proactive and show your commitment, professionalism, and leadership.

Fun Fact:

I am a first-generation college graduate. My bachelors in Organizational Communications is from Kent State University and my masters in Organizational Leadership is from Ashford University.