10 Questions With Leslie Toldo After Saying Goodbye to Mid-Michigan TV
A couple of months after a major career change, we caught up with veteran broadcaster Leslie Toldo who said goodbye to life in front of the TV camera earlier this year.
After about nine years at Mid-Michigan Now, Toldo has joined the staff at Flint's McLaren Regional Medical Center. She previously spent the better part of a decade at Flint's ABC affiliate, WJRT-TV.
Toldo opened up about everything from life after local TV to being an ordained minister, and her large family of pets.
10 Questions With Leslie Toldo
1. What’s your new job title?
Marketing Specialist at McLaren Flint
2. Tell us about the new job.
First and foremost, I work normal hours. I go into the office at 8:30 am and leave at 5:00 pm. It is amazing. In between, I research and write a lot of stuff. I interview doctors and patients about medical subjects that I then write about for newsletters and other marketing pieces. I set up and attend media interviews. I change the posters in the elevators. I take pictures at fun staff events. I monitor and post on the hospital’s social media accounts. I write marketing reports. It is a lot of fun.
3. Do you miss being on TV?
I do miss it. I especially miss the crew I worked with. I really loved my co-workers and hated leaving them. We are staying in touch. I also miss my live 4:00 am social media hits. I started getting to know people who regularly participated. I guess I could always just get up at 4:00 and do them from home, although that is coffee time with my husband every morning.
4. You’ve been on radio and TV all of your adult life – was it a hard decision to leave?
Leaving was a hard decision. When you have done something for 30-odd years, it is easy to convince yourself you aren’t qualified to do anything else. I needed a new challenge. I also needed a schedule that allowed me to spend more time with my husband. Life is so short, and it goes by so fast, I really wanted to make that quality time a priority. He is probably getting sick of me, though. My pets seem to like the new schedule.
5. What inspired you to become a journalist as a young adult, and what has changed since then?
I have to be honest. I did not intend to become a journalist. I have loved writing since I was a child, really since I learned how to write.
The next thing I know, I am the main weather anchor and evening reporter on TV. I ended up loving it.
I fell into journalism quite by accident. I had just finished my communications degree at the University of Wyoming and was working an afternoon shift on a local radio station. I got that job when I attempted to get an advertising internship at the station. I was planning to work for a large firm, or for Nike or something like that. A man visited the radio station one day specifically to ask me to apply for a weather job in Casper, Wyoming. I decided to go for it to get some experience interviewing for jobs. The next thing I know, I am the main weather anchor and evening reporter on TV. I ended up loving it. I kept getting jobs and moving to larger markets. I have to say I have enjoyed storytelling the most over these last 33 years. The news business has changed a lot since I started. In some ways for the better, in some ways not so much. I just feel fortunate that I got a chance to do what I did for so long.
6. What do you miss most about your old job?
I miss going into the community and telling stories. I have met so many incredible people - and animals. I have such a special connection to this community. Mid-Michigan has embraced me for the last 19 years, and I feel so fortunate for that.
7. What’s on the horizon at McLaren?
I will tell you, I am extremely excited about our comprehensive stroke center. What really excites me is the Hospitality House - where out-of-town patients and their families can stay for a very low cost during treatment. What is really amazing though, is the McLaren Proton Therapy Center. I did not know much about proton therapy until I came here.
I also teach journaling classes to current and former cancer patients. I have done that for 9 years. It is truly rewarding.
It is such an important cancer treatment option. It is a form of radiation that targets tumors, but without the potential for damage to surrounding healthy organs and tissue.
8. Leslie, tell us about your side hustle.
Well, I am an ordained minister. Between TV gigs I did a lot of weddings and funerals. I still do the occasional wedding. I really love doing that - meeting couples and hearing their stories. I also teach journaling classes to current and former cancer patients. I have done that for 9 years. It is truly rewarding.
9. You’re a big dog lover. Our condolences on the loss of your dog Bear – Tell us about your fur babies and are there any plans to get another dog soon?
Thank you so much for that. Losing Bear was devastating. We were so lucky to have 14 years with him.
Gus is getting older. He and Lucy are best friends. We know we need to bring another sibling into the fray sooner, rather than later.
It has been difficult to watch Gus, our yellow lab, and Lucy, our golden retriever, grieve. I will say, they are a hoot. Gus is 9. He is our little angel. Lucy, who is 3, is a terror. We wouldn’t have her any other way. She did take out an entire leather sectional. Fortunately, she seems to have outgrown the need to eat furniture. Our cat Ellie - her age is a mystery - tolerates the dogs. She never hisses, but you can sense that she doesn’t care much for being greeted with Lucy kisses regularly. It’s funny you ask about getting another dog.
I have a great life. I have good friends, a really nice boss, and I get to do what I have always loved doing
We just talked about that. We know that we need to think about it. Gus is getting older. He and Lucy are best friends. We know we need to bring another sibling into the fray sooner, rather than later.
10. They say every day is a great day to learn something new. What have you learned today?
George, by answering these questions I have learned - or at least been reminded - that I have a great life. I have good friends, a really nice boss, and I get to do what I have always loved doing - sharing people’s stories. Yes. Life is good.
Bonus Question: What’s something surprising that we would be shocked to learn about Leslie Toldo?
I get just as nervous talking in front of crowds as everyone else seems to. Sure, I was on TV for a long time but, when you stop and think about it, I was really just in a room with an anchor and maybe a couple of other people when I did my thing. When I speak in front of a group, I overthink what I am saying and doing. I enjoy public speaking, but it makes me pretty nervous.