Barbara SHELTON bio

Barbara Shelton is an experienced Executive Coach who trained at the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara and recently recertified at the Center for Executive Coaching.   She has coached many C-suite clients, primarily women, and provided strategies to maximize skills and success.  Recently, she has expanded her coaching practice to include younger, high-potential leaders in an effort to fill the talent pipeline with gender and racially diverse candidates.  Strategies, including developing mentors and building professional networks, are added to the basics of career planning and leadership assessment and development.  She provides coaching services for clients who are considering a career transition and life transitions into retirement.


Before re-launching her consulting practice, Barbara served as CEO of Summit Academy Management, a non-profit company that provides highly effective educational services for children with diverse learning styles as a result of ADHD, ADD, Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Founded 18 years ago, the Summit Academy Schools provide K-12 learning environments in 24 schools and 17 Children’s Residential Centers throughout the State of Ohio. 

Prior to joining Summit Academy Management, Barbara was a Senior Vice President at Ratliff & Taylor, an executive search firm in Independence, Ohio. During her tenure there, she focused on executive talent acquisition. Additionally, Barbara presented professional development seminars, and coaching for executives, emerging leaders, and retirement life planning. 

Barbara has more than 20 years of executive and civic leadership experience in the non-profit and public sector markets. For 15 years, she served as President and CEO of the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, where she transformed a fragile agency into a vibrant organization that continues to serve women at all stages of their lives. Her commitment to gender equality and leadership excellence fueled the creation of the prestigious YWCA Women’s Leadership Academy designed to enhance the career progression of female leaders. Also under her leadership, the YWCA developed services and housing for girls aging out of the foster care system. 

Barbara’s early career journey includes the private and public sector practice of law as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Iowa and Chief Prosecutor for the City of Cleveland. She has held management positions in the insurance industry, specializing in medical malpractice. 

Barbara holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University. Her civic commitments have included Board positions with the City Club of Cleveland and In Counsel with Women. She is sought for her expertise in the area of diversity and inclusion strategies, and lectures nationally and internationally on leadership. Barbara has been recognized for her accomplishments throughout her career; she is the recipient of the YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award and  the Athena Award. She was recognized as one of “The Influentials – 50 People Changing Northeast Ohio” by Cleveland Magazine and one of three “Women Who Give Back” by Kaleidoscope Magazine. Smart Business Magazine named her a “Master Innovator” and Inside Business Magazine named her “One of the 100 Most Powerful People”.