Last Thursday I had the honor of being invited to attend the Leadership Saratoga Alumni Dinner. This was a special year as it marked the 25th anniversary of Leadership Saratoga. If you’re not familiar with LS, it’s a training program dedicated to the development of leaders who will serve their communities today and in the future. The guiding force behind the program is Linda Toohey, who developed the program and has been nurturing effective, community leaders for each of those 25 years. I can attest to the program’s impact. Not only am I grateful for the dedication and expertise of many of my board members who are Leadership graduates, but when I walked in the room I was in awe as was surrounded by so many of our community’s most influential, dedicated and inspiring leaders. Sixty LS graduates have been elected to local Boards of Education, Town Boards, City Councils, the County Board of Supervisors, the County Planning Board, and various political committees. Ten have been appointed to local government positions. That’s just the start though; their impact on our community is unquantifiable.
Graduates serve on the Boards of Directors of 135 non-profit organizations from Corinth to Clifton Park. They provide vision, technical assistance and guidance that help non-profit organizations to fulfill their mission more effectively. Rich Ferguson, of Saratoga National Bank, summed up the program quite succinctly, “We know how to work together, because Linda Toohey taught us we need to work together… then taught us how to work together.”
I’ve lived my whole life in the Capital Region and before my employment at DVRC I worked in Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer Counties. When I came to Saratoga County I was so immensely impressed (and continue to be so everyday) by how much generosity, volunteerism and true commitment the residents of our community have. There is literally not a day that someone does not contact me to find out how he/she can make a difference in our community. I’m humbled by the level of community service in Saratoga County…that so many busy professionals I know somehow find time to prioritize volunteerism in their lives. Leadership Saratoga instills this ethic of service to community as it develops leaders … and that value ripples out to everyone they connect with.
My thanks to all those Leadership Saratoga graduates who shine their light so brightly throughout our community.
Leadership is practiced not so much in words
as in attitude and in actions.
Harold Geneen, Chairman, ITT Corp