Sylvia Whitlock was born in New York City but educated in Kingston, Jamaica. Returned to New York City to earned a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College. Sylvia worked for the United Nations, as a Statistical Clerk, at the Secretariat Building in New York, before moving to California to start a career in Education. In California she went on to earn a Masters Degree, cum laude, in Education from Cal Poly, Pomona, and a Ph.D., cum laude, in Education, from Claremont Graduate School. Subsequently, she earned another Masters Degree, in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Azusa Pacific University, and began a second career as a therapist. She is licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California. 
In 1982, at the invitation of one of the women, Mary Lou Elliott an elementary school principal, whose admission had caused the ouster of the Rotary Club of Duarte, Sylvia joined the Ex-Rotary Club of Duarte. 

Sylvia became President of that club in 1987, the year the United States Supreme Court ruled that the club be reinstated, thus making her the first woman in the Rotary World to head a club as President. She has served as President twice, Secretary, Treasurer, and Foundation Representative. At district level, she chaired the Four Way Test Speech committee for six years, the Ambassadorial Scholarship Committee for six years and Simplified Grants for two years. She has been an assistant governor, presenter in Governors Institutes, and speaker in Rotary Clubs, conventions and meetings, in the USA and overseas. In 1988 Sylvia attended her first International Convention.  
Other community activities: Girl Scout Council, volunteer at Pomona Valley Hospital, Recorder for the Blind and Dyslexic, and Commissioner at TriCity Mental Health Agency. In 2000 she was named Woman of the Year by NAACP and in 1998 she was named Distinguished Alumna by Cal Poly, Pomona. She also chairs Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation teams and has been, for eight years, a member of the Committee on Credentialing for California State Department of Education. She attends Trinity United Methodist Church where she is often a lay reader.

Sylvia considers Rotary to be the best vehicle she knows for humanitarian ventures in service to mankind. Some favorite club projects have included sinking water wells in Nigeria, setting up an AIDS Center in Jamaica and supporting an orphanage in Mexico.

Sylvia is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and benefactor. She has three adult children - Meredith - a Paul Harris Fellow, BG is a deputy county counsel in San Mateo County, and Arlan. She considers raising her children the most satisfying and enjoyable job she has ever had.

WOMEN ALSO SERVE, PDG Sylvia Whitlock, USA. 9 March 2015 - a compelling history of the Duarte Rotary Club 
The Rotary Club of Duarte, California, was chartered in District 530 in 1952. But just before its twenty-fifth birthday in 1976, the Duarte club violated Rotary's bylaws by inviting women to join, ultimately causing its charter to be unceremoniously revoked by Rotary International. Undeterred, the club renamed itself the Ex-Rotary Club of Duarte and its members continued on their quest not to be outcasts of one of the greatest humanitarian organizations in the world.