Linda Gayheart has worked in community and economic development in Eastern Kentucky for the past 35 years. Most of her career was spent working with the Kentucky River Area Development District where she held many positions, including Executive Director. She was involved in various planning activities, including aging services, community and economic development, transportation planning and health planning.
In 1996, Ms. Gayheart retired from Kentucky River ADD and began her own consulting business. She has worked with numerous organizations throughout the area, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Ford Foundation, UK’s Appalachian Center, the Appalachian Cancer Network, and East Kentucky Women In Leadership.
In 1998, Ms. Gayheart was asked by Leadership Kentucky to be the Regional Coordinator of the newly formed Leadership East Kentucky. After three years, Leadership Kentucky was no longer affiliated with Leadership East Kentucky so Ms. Gayheart continued the program independently. Leadership East Kentucky now has over 300 graduates and is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
The recipient of the 2007 Center for Rural Development Leadership Award and the 2008 Tony Turner Leadership Award, Linda holds a Master’s Degree in social work from UK. She serves on numerous committees at the Hindman United Methodist Church. In addition, she is District Lay Leader for the Prestonsburg District and chair of the Conference Connectional Ministries Team. She is a member of the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation Board, the Hazard ARH Local Advisory Committee, and the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation Board. She volunteers much of her time to various efforts in health care and community development and has become a strong advocate for improving trauma care in Kentucky. Ms. Gayheart worked with the statewide Trauma Advisory Committee, KY Hospital Association, UK and UL trauma staff and others for the successful passage of legislation to establish a trauma care system in Kentucky. She is an appointed member of the newly formed Kentucky Trauma Advisory Committee.