African American Leadership Forum

Dr. Sylvia Bartley

Dr. Sylvia Bartley- Medtronic, Inc. 

Sylvia Bartley, BSc (Hons), Pharmacology; PhD, Neurophysiology

Global Director, Medtronic Philanthropy

Dr. Sylvia Bartley is a lifelong seeker of spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. She strives to hold these values in all aspects of her life, both as global director at Medtronic and in her community-service work to help eliminate economic, health and education disparities in Minnesota. Dr. Bartley holds a doctorate in neurophysiology and leverages this knowledge to evolve her nontraditional mindfulness practices. She aims to live as a spiritual being having a human experience – always staying in alignment with her path and purpose.

Sylvia is known for connecting people and making things happen: in her last sixteen years with Medtronic, beginning in Medical Device sales and progressing to global marketing, she has convened cross-functional teams across the globe to develop, improve, and disseminate neurosurgical techniques and best practices, primarily for Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. A true globe trotter, living in three different countries and working in over 20, developing and exceeding strategic goals is a hallmark of her work at every position she has held; the strategies and training models she developed have proven beneficial for businesses, patients, and physicians alike. Sylvia is now a Global Director in Philanthropy, a position that lets her use her influential leadership style to advance an environment of compassion and humanity at work.

Sylvia is equally tenacious in her volunteer service.  Since moving to Minneapolis in 2010, Sylvia has devoted much of her free time to improving the health, education and economic status of underserved communities. She has assumed board leadership roles for six prominent non-profit organizations including the African American Leadership Forum, The Harvest Network of Schools, Achieve MPLS, and The Black Women’s Health Imperative. She is a recipient of a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellowship, awarded for extraordinary achievement and potential to lead change and strengthen the community. She received the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Diversity in Business Award in 2013 and their Women in Business Award in 2017 for her outstanding contribution to business and education reform in the Twins Cities.  In 2014, she was awarded the PM360 Trailblazer Initiative Award for her innovative ideas, outstanding leadership qualities and ability to deliver on results.   Sylvia was also awarded the Medtronic’s Star of Excellence Award for her contributions to Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and the DBS Excellence Award for her exceptional work and high level of expertise with Medtronic’s DBS.

In April 2017, Sylvia published her first book “Turning the Tide: Neuroscience, Spirituality and My Path Toward Emotional Health” (published by Balboa Press).  Equal parts personal memoir, science writing and spiritual exploration, the book lays out with lucid science the ways in which mindfulness and health are connected, and weaves this knowledge into an inspiring life story that spans laboratories and spiritual centers across the globe.  Turning the Tide makes the links between our brains and our souls clearer than ever before while inspiring readers to change the world with that knowledge.

Sylvia is the proud parent of Andrew, who resides and works in the UK, and Portia, a performing art graduate in Los Angeles.