My name is Gwen Webber-McLeod and it’s an honor to announce my candidacy for Cayuga County Legislator District 14.
My run for political office was seeded years ago and fueled in great part by the leadership legacies of my parents, the late Ltc. (Army) Charles E. Webber and the Hon. Barbara N. Webber who were both elected to serve in the Jefferson County Legislature in Watertown, NY. It was truly unfortunate that my Dad passed away before completing his first term as Legislator, yet truly fortunate that my Mom agreed to complete his term before running her own successful campaigns for a seat on that same legislative body. Barbara Webber served two full terms before retiring from office in 2003. Hence, the decision to run for a seat on the Cayuga County Legislature was really inevitable…I’ve been walking in the leadership footsteps of my folks and mentors for many, many years and as my family legacy would have it, it’s in my blood to run for political office.
My campaign slogan, GWEN Webber-McLeod: Representation Matters says why I’m choosing to run. Since I am in the “legacy building” years of my life, my personal, career and community endeavors must have significant long-term, positive impact on the people and issues I deeply care about., and I deeply care about the people of Cayuga County and their concerns.
In District 14 alone, I see hard-working parents strive to make ends meet, successful retirees, honored elders who need support, seasoned entrepreneurs, young professionals, and children full of potential and with bright futures. They all represent the very best of Auburn and Cayuga County and deserve a Legislator who deeply cares and will fearlessly represent their concerns. I AM THAT PERSON for District 14.
My focus as Legislator for the constituents in District 14 is four-fold:
- dedicated support for youth, families, veterans, and older residents
- protecting/enhancing the County’s natural resources
- support for existing business, industry, and emerging entrepreneurs
- promote effective/efficient County government administration and operations
I have lived in District 14 for more than 30 years with Tracy, my husband, who grew up in Melone Village; he is a NYS Corrections Officer at Auburn Correctional Facility. We raised our beautiful children Ashley and Travis in District 14 and they are raising our grandchildren in the district, and my mother recently purchased a home in our neighborhood; she intends to reside in District 14 in the very near future. My company Gwen, Inc. is located in the district. I AM DEEPLY INVESTED in District 14!
As a seasoned community leader, entrepreneur, parent, grandparent, good neighbor, and advocate for good and inclusive local government, I pledge to work each day of my tenure in the Cayuga County Legislature in support of every resident and business in District 14 because…
I’m IN IT to WIN IT, and with your help, I will.
Learn More About Gwen Webber-McLeod
Gwendolyn (Gwen) Webber-McLeod, M.S., is President/CEO of Gwen, Inc. She has over 30 years experience in leadership/organization development, facilitation, strategic planning, the development of effective coalitions/collaborations, helping companies develop strategies for taking diversity and inclusion initiatives to the next level (Diversity 2.0©) and the strategic development of women and minority leaders breaking glass/cement ceilings in companies (Unexpected Leaders®).
Gwen is a frequently sought-after lecturer and conference keynote speaker on the topic of leadership. Her clients are CEOs, executive and mid-level managers, and leadership teams in public, private, health care and education businesses and organizations.
Gwen, Inc. exists for the sole purpose of helping leaders achieve business goals by focusing on the competencies of confidence, competence, courage and calm.
In 2009, Gwen founded the You Can’t Fail (Because Your History Says You Can’t) conference as an unforgettable, one of a kind, conference designed to provide a strategically designed multicultural leadership development experience for professional women of color and women leaders of other races and cultures who support them. It was founded as a way to pay her success forward to other women leaders. You Can’t Fail is a unique opportunity to promote the positive growth of this important group of established and emerging leaders. In 2015 You Can’t Fail was incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization You Can’t Fail, Inc. is devoted to the development of the next generation of emerging women leaders of color. Additionally, Gwen writes “The Leadership Journey” column for Auburn’s home town newspaper, The Citizen, and hosts a monthly podcast The Leadership Journey: Living and Leading In and On Purpose. She is a published author with contributions most recently featured in Resilience: Living Life by Design by Dr. Deana Murphy and published in 2015 and available on Amazon.
Her chapter Thriving Through a Season of Grief chronicles how the vision for incorporating Gwen, Inc. was the result of thriving through a difficult moment in life. Gwen’s book The Leadership Journey will publish in 2019. Gwen contributes her success to the support of her loving family and to working daily to simply be the type of leader she believes God called her to be – A Servant Leader.
She has been Director of Communications for Wells College; Communications/Development Director of the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council; Executive Director of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls; Executive Director of the Booker T. Washington Community Center in Auburn, and Coordinator of Human Services for the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency.
Gwen is a recognized leader who has a very active civic life. She takes great pride in serving on boards of directors that enhance and improve the lives of people at the local, state, and national level. Currently she is very excited to serve as the Co-Chair of the WISE Women’s Business Center where she acts on her interest in helping women entrepreneurs.
Gwen has formerly served on the boards of or been affiliated with:
- Planned Parenthood of the Rochester and Syracuse Region Board Chair
- Member of Loretto in Syracuse New York Board of Directors
- The Central New York Women’s Fund Chair Marketing Committee
- National Co-chair of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Social Marketing Advisory Resource Team
- Past Board Chair and Interim CEO of the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce, where she led efforts to refocus and re-energize the work and reputation of the Chamber in the community
- Founding Board Member, Friends of Woman’s Rights National Park; Designed Elizabeth and Me program for middle school and high school girls based on the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, founder of the First Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY
- Trustee of Cayuga Community College
- The Central New York Business Council First Niagara Bank
- Team advisor to the CNY Health Fellows teams, a project of the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York
- Board chair of Booker T. Washington Community Center
Gwen has received many awards during her career, including:
- Auburn Cayuga NAACP Outstanding Community Service Award (1985)
- Central New York NOW Chapter Unsung Heroine Award (1990)
- Potsdam College added her name to the State University of New York Confederation
Honor Roll (1991)
- The New York State Governor’s Award for African-Americans of Distinction (1994)
- The Marjorie Dowdell Fortitude Award, presented to outstanding African-American women by the Syracuse Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (1994)
- The Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council Woman of Excellence Award (1995)
- The Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce Board Chairs Award (2002)
- The New York State Senate Woman of Distinction Award from Senator Michael Nozzolio | Her mother, the Honorable Barbara N. Webber, retired Jefferson County, New York legislator, also received this award, making them the first mother and daughter ever to receive the Woman of Distinction honor in the same year. (2004)
- Honored as one of CNY Business Journal’s 20 Women in Business Honorees and received the Phyllis Goldman Encouragement Award for Women from the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce. (2007)
- Elected to the Academy of Diversity Achievers, an award presented to successful diversity champions presented by the YWCA Syracuse and Onondaga County (2008)
- Initiated into the Syracuse Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a historic nationally renowned public service sorority for African American women (Spring 2009)
- MLK Millennium Award from Cayuga County Branch of NAACP (January 2010)
- Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship “Faces of Success” award for being an outstanding woman entrepreneur and the Syracuse Zonta Foundation Crystal Award given to women whose work improves the status of girls and women (Spring 2014)
- Recognized for Distinguished Service by the Syracuse Onondaga County NAACP (2016)
- Successful Business Women Award Mentor of the Year (2018)
- Inducted into the Auburn Cayuga NAACP Hall of Fame for being past President and lifelong commitment to social justice activism (2019)
- Gwen accepted a nomination from the Cayuga County Democratic Party to be a candidate for the 14th district seat in the Cayuga County Legislature. She follows in the footsteps of her parents Charles and Barbara Webber who made history by becoming the first African Americans elected to the Jefferson County Legislature in Watertown, NY. She intends to win her first political race.