Toohey was executive vice president of the chamber from 1980 until she semi-retired in June 2005, becoming vice president of its Leadership Saratoga program, which she founded in 1985. The model leadership training program graduated its 25th class in 2011 and now counts more than 600 local volunteers among its alumni association.
“During Linda’s 30 year career with the chamber, she’s been a tireless advocate for our county and our members,” said Todd Shimkus, president of the chamber, in a press statement.
“She initiated and created many of the programs our members still enjoy today from our tourism promotional campaign, to our Job Zone, Leadership Saratoga, our networking mixer program, the Ambassadors Committee, to our efforts to assist families relocating to Saratoga with State Farm 20 years ago and GlobalFoundries most recently,” he said.
“Beyond this legacy, she has always found time to volunteer in leadership roles for many of this county’s charitable, educational and nonprofit organizations extending her creativity, professionalism and dedication to make so many positive contributions to our community.”
Prior to joining the chamber, Toohey came to Saratoga Springs in 1977 as president and publisher of The Saratogian. She was the youngest female publisher in the country. The Saratogian was owned at the time by Gannett Co. Inc., a company she had previously worked for in other communities in a variety of capacities.
Toohey is a vice-chairwoman of the Skidmore College Board of Trustees, and is a board member and Membership and Development Committee chairwoman for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. She will be one of the co-chairs of Saratoga Hospital’s Capital Campaign for a Community Health Resource Center this coming year.
She was on the Board of Trustees of Saratoga Hospital until December of 2009, serving nine years, two as chairwoman. She co-chaired the Saratoga YMCA Capital Campaign, was a vice chairwoman of the recently completed $12 million Saratoga Hospital Capital Campaign, and was a member of Emma Willard School’s $75 million Capital Campaign Executive Committee.
She will be one of the co-chairs of Saratoga Hospital’s Capital Campaign for a Community Health Resource Center this coming year.
She served as a member of the Steering Committees of the Workforce Housing Partnership of Saratoga County. She also served as a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Racing for 15 years.
She was a patient/family volunteer for Community Hospice for 12 years, chaired the Saratoga Friends of Hospice and served on the Community Hospice Foundation Board for a number of years. She served as president of the Board of Trustees of Emma Willard School in Troy for six of the twelve years she was on their Board. She also chaired their Alumni Association and their Annual Fund, and is currently an Honorary Trustee. She has also been active in fund raising efforts for the Saratoga Hospital Foundation, SPAC, Skidmore and a number of other community organizations over the past 30-plus years she has lived in Saratoga.
Toohey was the founder of the Capital-Saratoga Film Commission and vice chair of the Saratoga County 21st Century Commission. She is past president of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s Action Council, past president of the Saratoga Springs Urban Cultural Park Commission (now called the Urban Heritage Area Board), a founder and past president of Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, past president of the Hawley Foundation for Children, and served a six-year term on the Saratoga Hospital Foundation Board.
She is a lecturer on leadership, governance and time management. Toohey, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the University of Iowa in 1979. In 1978, Toohey was selected as one of 11 of the Nation’s Outstanding Young Working Women by Glamour Magazine.
In 1991, she and her husband Michael received the Outstanding Fund Raiser Award from the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter of the National Association of Fund Raising Executives.
She was honored as Soroptimist of Saratoga County Woman of Distinction in 1992, and in 1995 was inducted into the Saratoga Springs Pillar Society for her community service work. The Rotary Club of Saratoga Springs honored Linda in 2003, and Business & Professional Women Tech Valley honored her as Woman of the Year in 2004. In 2006, then Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno named her one of New York State’s Women of Distinction, and in the same year, the YMCA of Saratoga named Linda and Michael as two of their Volunteers of the Year. Saratoga Today Magazine selected her as one of ten Women of Influence in their inaugural year of presenting the award. In 2009, the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council honored her as their person of the year.
Linda and Michael reside in Saratoga Springs. They have two adult daughters, Megan and Elizabeth, who live in Denver.
Kathleen Lucey, the chamber’s vice president of Community Development and a 2009 graduate of Leadership Saratoga, will manage the Leadership Saratoga and Leadership Alumni programs upon Toohey’s departure.