Linda Paresky is an entrepreneur, educator and leader of women’s initiatives. A pioneer in the travel industry, Linda Paresky has profoundly impacted the business of travel. In 1965 she co-founded Crimson Travel in Cambridge, MA and, through internal growth and mergers, became co-chairman and owner of Thomas Cook Travel, USA, the third largest travel agency in the country. When American Express acquired Thomas Cook in 1994, she became a Senior Vice President of American Express.
Understanding the value of a skilled industry workforce, in 1975 she founded the Travel Education Center, a nationally accredited travel school that launched the careers of thousands of travel professionals. She also created the first accredited travel training program on the internet.
A noted industry columnist and advocate, Ms. Paresky served on many travel boards including the Research Issues Task Force of the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, the Academy of Travel and Tourism and the Travel Business Roundtable. Working Woman Magazine and the National Foundation of Women Business Owners named her one of the “Top 50 Women Business Owners.”
From her roots as a graduate of a women’s college, she has been deeply committed to the notion of women helping other women. She is past chair of the board of trustees of Simmons College (a women’s college with graduate programs in education, business, social work, library and information science and health studies), and chair emerita of the Committee of 200 Foundation (an organization devoted to mentoring and supporting the next generation of women business leaders). She is a founding director of the Commonwealth Institute (which helps women entrepreneurs grow their businesses); a past chapter president of the International Women’s Forum; a director of the Thyroid Foundation of America; and former member of the Investment and Services Policy Advisory Committee (INSPAC) to the US Trade Commissioner.
She was a keynote speaker and national judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and has received numerous awards for leadership and service.
Ms. Paresky holds a bachelor’s degree from Simmons College, a master’s degree from Harvard University, a PhD from Boston College. She is also the recipient of two honorary degrees.