As we dedicate a month to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history, we want to acknowledge our women mayors. We are so proud of these women mayors and many other women in public service for being leaders in their communities, thank you for all that you do!
ANN WOMER BENJAMIN, MAYOR OF AURORA
Ann Womer Benjamin was re-elected to her third term as Mayor of Aurora in November 2021, having been first elected in 2013 after two years as an At-Large Council member. An attorney by profession, Mayor Womer Benjamin practiced law for 24 years and served as State Representative in the Ohio House of Representatives for Aurora and most of Portage County from 1995-2002. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University and received her JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. While in the Ohio House, 20 of her bills become law, was a member of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee, and chaired the Criminal Justice Committee. She served four years in the Governor’s Cabinet as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.
KATHERINE GALLAGHER, MAYOR OF BROOKLYN
Katherine A. Gallagher has been serving as Mayor in the City of Brooklyn since January 2016. She serves as Executive Board member of the First Suburbs Consortium, Cuyahoga County Mayors’ Collaboration Committee Chair, Vice President of the NEORSD Council of Governments, and Cuyahoga County Economic Development Commission. She is also a recent Leadership Cleveland graduate. Katherine is a 2003 graduate of John Carroll University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. She earned her law degree from Cleveland Marshall College of Law and her Master’s in Public Administration from Cleveland State University. After graduating from law school, she was elected to Brooklyn City Council in 2011, serving as City Council Pro-Tem in 2013 and President in 2014 and 2015.
KIRSTEN HOLZHEIMER GAIL, MAYOR OF EUCLID
Kirsten Holzheimer Gail is proud to serve as the 14th Mayor of the City of Euclid and is a lifelong resident of Euclid. Mayor Gail is a graduate of Villa Angela Academy, Kenyon College, and earned a MSSA from Case Western Reserve University. She served as a Ward Councilwoman from 1997-2007 and City Council President from 2008-2015. Prior work experience includes serving as a Faculty Field Advisor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Science at CWRU and Executive Director of Euclid Community Concerns. Mayor Gail proudly serves as a member of NOACA, Mayors and Managers Association, Chagrin Valley Dispatch COG, First Suburbs Consortium, Ohio Mayors Alliance, and Euclid Hospital Community Advisory Council. She is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland.
KAREN E. SCHNEIDER, MAYOR OF GATES MILLS
Mayor Schneider has devoted the past 25 years to numerous community organizations, council, and has been mayor since 2016. She has spearheaded many positive developments including a fabulous community park. The Village is now embarking on a Comprehensive Plan to move Gates Mills forward while retaining its valued traditions. When not working for Gates Mills, she advises in the family businesses (Schneider Saddlery and Chagrin Valley Farms) and supports many charitable organizations: The Cleveland Metroparks, Fieldstone Farms Therapeutic Riding Center, and The Chagrin Valley Hunter-Jumper Classic Horse Show. Animals are one of her passions. Her other passion is spending time with her children and grandkids.
MEGHAN GEORGE, MAYOR OF LAKEWOOD
Meghan George was sworn in as Mayor of Lakewood on January 1, 2020. Mayor George is a graduate of Lakewood High School, The Ohio State University (B.A.), and Cleveland State University (PBACC). She has worked in the private and public sectors and has obtained a State of Ohio Education License and a Life and Health Insurance License. Mayor George began her public service career as an At-Large Councilwoman in the City of Lakewood and spent the past nine years working with employers advising on employee benefits, risk management. and human resource functions. Mayor George is a past president of Lakewood City Academy and is currently a member of several local and regional boards.
ASHLEE MCLAUGHLIN, ESQ., MAYOR OF LINNDALE
Ashlee McLaughlin has been the mayor of the Village of Linndale since 2013. Prior to becoming mayor, she served as council president and as a council member for seven years. Ms. McLaughlin is a third generation resident of the Village and her mother served on council during the 1960s. Ms. McLaughlin attended Saint Joseph Academy, Cleveland State University, and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. She is a practicing attorney, a member of the Ambassadors Circle of the Cleveland Zoological Society, a member of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Central Committee, and currently serves as President of the Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
ANNETTE BLACKWELL, MAYOR OF MAPLE HEIGHTS
On January 6, 2016, Mayor Blackwell was sworn in as the City of Maple Heights’16th Mayor, the first female and first African-American in the City’s 100-year history. She is also the City’s Safety Director. She received her B.A. in public relations/corporation communications from Ursuline College, attended The Ohio State University, John Glenn College of Public Affairs; Ohio Public Leadership Academy; and Cleveland State University, Ohio Certified Public Manager. Prior to becoming mayor, she was a Senior Commercial Property Tax Analyst for 16 years at Deloitte and Ryan Global Tax Services and Co-Leader of the Black Employee Network (BEN) where she was also a United States India Liaison when she won the election.
BRENDA TEDESCHI BODNAR, MAYOR OF MAYFIELD VILLAGE
Mayor Bodnar served her first term as mayor from 2016-2019 and was re-elected to her second term serving from 2020-2023. She previously served as Chair of Mayfield Village Citizens Advisory Committee and Civil Service Commission. She has been a practicing attorney for 38 years, currently at Sirvaitis Law, LLC. The Mayor graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cleveland State University with a B.A. in Communications and Magna Cum Laude from CSU Cleveland Marshall College of Law with her JD. Mayfield Village enjoys both an engaged, committed electorate and a sound, responsible business base. Collaboration among our private and corporate citizens has led to many positive changes.
NICOLE DAILEY JONES, MAYOR OF NORTH OLMSTED
Nicole Dailey Jones is the current North Olmsted Mayor after a successful election bid in November 2021. Mayor Dailey Jones holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Government and International Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and is a graduate of Parma Senior High School. She has more than 20 years’ experience in municipal, county and federal government, including work as a Congressional Aide to Democratic U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Mayor Dailey Jones and her husband, Daniel, have been residents of North Olmsted since 2002 and are the parents of five children. She began her North Olmsted political career as Ward 3 Council Representative and was appointed Council President in 2013.
KATHY U. MULCAHY, MAYOR OF ORANGE VILLAGE
Mayor Mulcahy has lived in Orange Village since 1978 and has served as mayor since January 1, 1996. She is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania. The Mayor has been a sole proprietorship/private practice Certified Public Accountant. Prior to her election as Mayor, Ms. Mulcahy served as the Orange Village Tax Administrator from 1984-1995. A graduate of Shaker Heights High School, she is a member of their 2003 Shaker Hall of Fame. Her involvement in local and county civic organizations helped her develop a broad and comprehensive understanding of regional governance and how Orange Village can most effectively thrive and participation on numerous committees provides an educational experience that benefits the entire community.
MARIE GALLO, MAYOR OF PARMA HEIGHTS
Mayor Marie Gallo is the first female mayor of Parma Heights. She was a city council member and Council President. She was the Director of Human Resources for the City of North Olmsted prior to becoming mayor. In addition to negotiating labor contracts and advising the Mayor and Directors on personnel issues, she also oversaw the Senior Center, Division of Youth and Family Services, Division of Information Technology, and the Building Department. Prior to her Director role, she served as Clerk of Council for North Olmsted and Parma Heights. Mayor Gallo is a Certified Municipal Clerk and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Baldwin-Wallace University.
KIM THOMAS, MAYOR OF RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Kim Thomas was sworn in as Mayor in January 2022. Just prior, she was a Ward 1 Councilwoman in January 2020. She graduated from South High School’s cosmetology program and later attended Cuyahoga Community College. She began her career as a stylist and became a national educator and consultant for John Paul Mitchell Systems. Kim traveled globally, helping salons grow their business through marketing and sales training. After establishing her own small business, Kim graduated from Baldwin Wallace University Emerging Entrepreneurs Program, which was founded by the Presidents’ Council Business Chamber and is comprised of the most prominent Black-owned businesses in the Greater Cleveland area. She sees herself as a public servant who understands the communities’ needs.
CYNTHIA KURPELY, MAYOR OF ROCHESTER VILLAGE
Cynthia Kurpely has been the Mayor of Rochester Village since 2016. She is also a quality control manager with The Hillman Group. She is President of the Board of the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District and a Trustee on the Rural Lorain County Water Authority Board. In her free time, she serves as President of the Rochester Historical Society and Recording Secretary of the Rochester Rod & Gun Club. In the summer, she enjoys going to car shows and parades in her 1973 Corvette Stingray convertible. She enjoys the rural life in Rochester with her husband, Andy, and rescue pup, Loki.
PAMELA BOBST, MAYOR OF ROCKY RIVER
Pamela Bobst has been the Mayor of the City of Rocky River since June 2006. She is a board member of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. She serves as Treasurer on the Executive Committee and as Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee of Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association. Mayor Bobst served on the Rocky River City Council as President Pro Tem and as President, serving as a Councilmember from 1996 to 2006. She received her M.Ed. in Community Health Education from Kent State University, her B.A. in Health Care Access/Public Health from Northeastern Illinois University, and her Dental Hygiene, G.D.H. from the University of Minnesota.
CAROL CARTER, MAYOR OF THE VILLAGE OF SEVILLE
It has been said that Mayor Carter has a habit of always falling head first into whatever project she commits herself to and forgets to come up for air. She recognizes this as a positive attribute and prides herself in giving 110% to any job she takes on. The last few years have forced her to step up in all aspects of her life. Losing her husband, Billy, was the hardest thing she has ever had to go through. However, his unwavering support of her as a strong, independent woman has always been the backbone of her strength. Billy also taught her about compromise. As the Mayor of the Village of Seville, she believes in honesty and integrity.
GEORGINE WELO, MAYOR OF SOUTH EUCLID
Mayor Welo was the first woman elected mayor in South Euclid in November 2003 and is still serving as mayor. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Akron and is a graduate of the Bliss Institute, University of Akron. Mayor Welo is a board member of Ohio First Suburbs Consortium, Euclid Creek Watershed Council, The Mayor’s Association of Ohio, Northeast Ohio Mayor and Managers Association, Council of Government Community Partnership, and an executive member of Heights Regional Chambers of Commerce. She was Council President Pro-Tem 1996-1998, Council Person 1992-1998, and Chairperson of Charter Review Commission 1994-2005 all with the City of South Euclid.
ROBIN L. LAUBAUGH, MAYOR OF WADSWORTH
Robin L. Laubaugh is serving her third four-year term as Mayor of Wadsworth. As Chief Executive Officer to the city government, one of her most important duties is appointing the Directors of Public Service, Human Resources, Public Safety, and Economic Development. These appointments help the Mayor effectively administer city services to over 23,000 residents and to supervise the city’s 204 full-time, 14 part-time, and 47 Fire and EMS volunteers. The Mayor appoints many citizens to serve on the more than 20 volunteer commissions and boards that benefit the community and regularly participates in City Council meetings, where she has the power to sign new legislation adopted or veto ordinances she opposes. Mayor Laubaugh is also busy attending various community events, meetings with officials from other municipalities, and other functions.
Click here to see the full page spread featuring our mayors on pages 14 & 15 in our February March digital magazine.