On Thursday, John Sykes, the Chicago social figure and highly sought after therapist; trained in Trauma Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Methods, specializing in Clinical Social Work, was the man of honor at an intimate gathering of about sixty of Chicago’s finest for the launching of his website, According to Sykes. Hosted by his partner, Ed Shepard and held at the uber chic Zhou B Art Center, these gentlemen effectively set a new standard for intimate entertaining. Catered by Chef David Brandt of Natural Catering by David, guests were treated to modern and sophisticated hor dourves such as seasonal fruit kabobs, glazed in a honey lemon sauce garnished with fresh mint. As the live musician filled the space with soft music, guest sipped specialty cocktails, conversed and browsed the strategically placed displays of modern art. The paintings and sculpture left guest in awe. Not by the asking prices (with a median price range of about two months of my meager salary), but by the intriguing beauty they each possessed. John’s special guest was Jackie Rhinehart, former Sr. Director of Publicity at Arista Records and Sr. Vice-President of Marketing at Universal Records. Jackie is the president and founder of Organic Soul Multicultural Marketing Inc. We were delighted to have a special performance by Tovi Khali whose musical style was reminiscent of Nina Simone. I later discovered she’s noted by the Chicago Tribune as an “Artist You Need to Know”. The evening concluded with a lucky guest winning a free three page website, donated by web designer Rachel Henry of Sun Rai Consulting Group.
John is one of those few individuals that I’m lucky to call a mentor and simply adore. Not because of his secular success, degrees or multiple letters behind his name but because of his warmth, unmitigated standard of excellence and ability to embrace and understand the plight of the young, urban sophisticate. John challenges us to live a life of upward mobility yet he’s sensitive to our reality. The highlight of the night for me was when his partner, Ed, introduced him. In less than two minutes, while looking in his eyes, Ed explained how honored and proud he was of John. He spoke of when they first met and John was beginning his assent as a social worker. The only thing John had was a meager desk in an over-crowded office. Together, with due-diligence, love and support; John is now the owner of a successful and highly acclaimed private practice. Now that’s personified love… Not a dry eye was in the building.
As John and I conversed earlier in the day, we shared a laugh that only he and I could understand. When I inquired what he’d be wearing, he politely responded “head to toe Prada. I was told Gucci was too ostentatious…hmph”….lol…How could I not just adore this man!!!! My glass is raised gentlemen on a job well done! I wish you continued success and you have indeed left a mark…Deo
By DeoVonte D. Means