Banzai Network

Anne Gerwig, More Than a Mayor. A Leader from the Heart.

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It all started years ago with a heart of gold, a born desire to always help others and a Shetland pony. Ever since she was a little girl growing up in the woodlands of West Palm, Anne Gerwig has been doing what she can to not only to take others along for the ride, but to always make sure she does everything she can to get help them reach their destination.

  “I grew up with horses, so I know what sweet feed is,” Gerwig says with her somewhat mischievous smile. “And I know how to clean the underside of a frog.” Flash forward forty-something years later and although she says she has only ever rode Western and still has a passion for Shetland ponies, her recent appointment to the Equestrian Capital of the World is where she is still doing everything she can to help others to get to where they are going and more specifically- the entire village of Wellington.

Whether it was giving rides through the woods on her pony or paving the way for innovative water sustainability, she seems to take every task on at full force, matching her passion to her potential. Spend some time with Gerwig and you will see how service is good for the soul.

Gerwig started out as a proud parent to Jessica, (who is now 24 and a teacher at a local elementary school) wanting to help in the community and as a fellow mom of MOMS Club of Wellington. Her desire to assist soon led her to be the Area Coordinator for the Southeastern Florida District.

Gerwig’s deep desire for serving others has often led her to the leaders’ table. In 2004, she took on the challenge from making copies and helping teachers in the classroom at Binks Forest Elementary to serving for four years on the Executive Board of Directors at the school. She also joined the School Advisory Council and gave back for many years by being a committed Binks Business Partner. Gerwig’s passion for education and empowering others still thrives as she still sits on the SAC Committee for Wellington Landings Middle School.

In 2013, the then Councilwoman Gerwig ensued on what was a very personal quest to enhance the quality of education in Wellington by rallying the council and VOW staff to bestow an educational grant that would support all 11 Wellington area schools. The Keely Spinelli Education Grant was approved in October 2013 to give $25,000 to each school to support those students struggling in math and reading. Gerwig’s intimate memories and inspiration from this so very passionate teacher memorialized motivated her persevering outreach to fellow council members, Wellington staff and her community for support and as a way to continue Spinelli’s legacy.

  “After she was diagnosed with cancer, I remember sitting in Keely Spinelli’s office at Binks and seeing the walls covered with photos of students whom she told me, all had something they were struggling with.” Gerwig recalls. “Mrs. Spinelli told me those students gave her the strength to keep on fighting. {Spinelli passed away in December 2008 after a five year battle with ovarian cancer} After her life-long commitment to helping those struggling students, I knew we needed to honor her memory by giving a gift that would go on to continue to help countless students and teachers.”

And of course Gerwig does not take the credit for things such as this, she always insists on pointing out that any improvements in Wellington are a true community effort. She was the first to thank the Wellington Education Committee, the VOW staff and a very long list of so many others who’ve also helped in the community to get the Keely Spinelli Education Grant approved. Her leadership is very often highlighted by her heart.

In fact, Gerwig’s open heart and open ears are often the driving factors behind her tireless efforts to improve the quality of life in Wellington and within local government. Three years ago when Wellington resident Mike Scharberg came to her about some serious concerns regarding bike safety, Gerwig immediately went into action to create a Public Service Announcement. “I wanted to make a video about bike safety but my bike is a motorcycle.”

In true Gerwig responsive fashion, she says she gathered what she calls her greatly talented media team (she fondly names each member) and they tailored the video around the “motorcycle mamma” speaking to the needs of our community for pedestrian and bicycle safety. The PSA is a recreation of Sharberg’s actual accident where a car hit his bike at an intersection and Gerwig emphatically expressing the need for and encouraging a serious safety mindset and how important it is to have compassion for each other in our community. (You can watch this video ( and many others) on the Wellington’s Youtube channel located on the Village website www.wellingtonfl.gov.

As the newly appointed mayor, Gerwig continues to strive to make Wellington the kind of place everyone wants to live. “I feel like for so long, the council was so afraid to fail and for that reason we didn’t make any real progress. My future 10 to 20 year plans for Wellington are to continue improving water sustainability as well as working hard to create a space for the cultural arts and a place for family entertainment and recreational activities.”

Gerwig is as serous about the quality of life as she is about the standard of life here in Wellington. One of her first projects on the council was to work with VOW staff and the South Florida Water District to create the Wellington Environmental Preserve. The 365-acre conservation area that sits off Flying Cow Road serves not only a true nature lover’s preserve, but as a vital water flood prevention storage area. The preserve was later named as the Project of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers and continues to provide Wellington with a boardwalk, a six story observation tower, a nature learning center as well as pedestrian and horse trails.

As for her personal life, she has shown a commitment and inner drive that is commendable and is an example of authentic mind -body -spirit connection. Her deeply committed family life shines through the success of her three children, twenty-four year old Jessica, twenty-one year old Dane and eighteen- year-old Luke and her marriage for the past quarter of a century to her husband Alan. She is equally as driven in her church serving as a Sunday School teacher as she is serving as a member of the House of Leadership Council of Palm Beach County amplifying that a balanced life is certainly the key to happiness.

As for her fitness motto, she says everything in moderation and “there is no better motivator than your daughter’s wedding coming in October to incentivize better choices.”

Gerwig says she spends time playing volleyball at the dog park in the summer, walking when she can- especially when she was going door to door during the campaign season, eating more fruits and vegetables and simply staying active. “And the policy at the Village Hall that states employees can’t use the elevator and have to use the stairs, certainly helps too.”

  “It is so amazing to have so many things in Wellington to help us stay healthy”, Gerwig adds. From fresh organic food from Publix, Fresh Market and Whole Foods to the many health clubs in the area like Ufit, Ultima Fitness and Crossfit. When my kids were young they really benefited from Karate at Vallari’s and so many other things were are so lucky to have in Wellington.

Highlighting the good life in Wellington seems to be the theme of Gerwig’s life here for the past 25 years. “I always want to work to make Wellington the kind of place everyone would want to live, increasing the value of living here and making it better than any other place to live.”

Spend some time with our new mayor and you might leave thinking, commitment, compassion and action really are the keys to true happiness.

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