Guelph is home.
I know first hand what a great place Ward 5 is to raise a family, work, go to school and build community! First elected under the name Leanne Piper, I have proudly served the residents of Ward 5 on Guelph City Council since 2006.
I grew up near Arkell, moved away for university, and returned to Guelph to raise my family in Ward 5. Prior to being elected to public office, I was involved in community advocacy and political engagement through my work, my neighbourhood association, school councils and numerous community organizations (see below). I have spent decades as a strong champion for the environment, education, sustainability, water protection, heritage, sound planning and zoning, arts and culture.
In 2003, I was elected to the Upper Grand District School Board as a trustee. In that role, I focused on advocacy for strong libraries, funding for music and arts education, neighbourhood-based schools, smaller class sizes, community-use space, anti-bullying programming, and adequate funding for enrichment programs, resources and support for at-risk students.
My term of office as a trustee was also focused on city-wide boundary reviews that involved working with City Hall on planning new schools in growing subdivisions, while simultaneously protecting downtown schools from closure. Through this experience, I knew that running for City Council was the next logical step towards protecting and growing the city that I love.
I believe in hard work and continuous improvement. I got my first job at 14 and haven't stopped since, including while attending school. I graduated from McMaster University with an Honours BA in History and English, and an MA (Leadership) from the University of Guelph.
I've worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including over 25 years as a student affairs manager at McMaster University and University of Guelph, five years as director of communications and marketing with 4-H Ontario, and as a professional writer, photographer and publisher. I currently work at the University of Guelph in Admissions and Marketing.
As a fellow resident first, and as your councillor second, I have been involved in many roles within the Guelph community, offering me a diverse opportunity to understand what makes Guelph tick. Here are just a few of the organizations where I have played an active leadership role, past and present:
- Chair, Heritage Guelph
- Chair, John McCrae Parent Council, College Avenue Parent Council and Centennial CVI Parent Council
- Member, SmartGuelph Steering Committee
- Vice-President, Old University Neighbourhood Residents Association
- Founding member, Glass Guild of Guelph
- Board member, Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods (Ontario),
- Board member, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario
- Board member, Guelph Historical Society
- Board member, Career Education Council
- Downtown Guelph Business Association
- Guelph Junction Railway
- Guelph Police Services Board
- Macdonald Stewart Art Centre Board
- Heritage Guelph
- Family and Children’s Services Board
Additional Background Information
- Proud daughter of an RCAF navigator/airline pilot and a Registered Nurse (operating room)
- I am the super-proud mom of four amazing children, and my angel-granddaugher Emilia, all raised in Ward 5
- In my "spare" time, I have been busy restoring a stone house with my husband Arni Mikelsons, and cheering for the Raptors.
I am very thankful to all of my family for their unwavering encouragement and support!