A family tradition of supporting Seattle Humane
Throughout her life, Barbara Webber was passionate about supporting animal shelters. She first started working with Seattle Humane in the early 2000s. As one of the first volunteers on the MaxMobile, Barbara introduced her daughter Leanne to the organization. “I would go out and visit her when they were out on adoption events,” says Leanne.
Over time, Leanne began attending Tuxes & Tails and in 2011 her dog Rusty was featured in the yearly Seattle Humane calendar. After Barbara passed away in 2014, Leanne followed in her mother’s footsteps, becoming a regular volunteer on the MaxMobile. Thinking back to her time on the MaxMobile, Leanne spoke of an especially memorable moment when a family who had recently lost their beloved collie found their new pet.
“There was an Arts and Music festival in Kirkland a few years ago, and it was one of the few times we had a dog on the MaxMobile. A husband, wife and their three kids were looking for a kitten, and I don’t think they had even considered getting another dog. But when they saw the collie, they just fell in love. It was such a good fit and a stroke of luck that the right family came at such a perfect time.”
Shortly after becoming a volunteer, Leanne was asked to join the board as a member of the Finance Committee. With the Capital Campaign in its early stages, she joined during a time of major transition for Seattle Humane.
“I remember touring the old facility and seeing staff doing surgeries in closets and having animals recover on the floor. It was amazing to see how much the team was able to do with very little.”
After seeing the outdated building’s limitations firsthand, Leanne also became a Capital Campaign donor, supporting efforts to build what is today’s state-of-the-art facility.
Growing up in Shelton, Washington, Leanne’s family was always surrounded by animals. “Cats, dogs, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, fish, you name it we had it.” Today, she works at Russell Investments as their Global Head of Tax. As a board member, Leanne enjoys the duality of supporting Seattle Humane through her savvy number skills while also tapping into her emotional side. “I’ve always had that very analytical side of my brain, but then you have the emotional side that comes with the animals, which is something totally different.” Currently she has two westies named Zeke and Riley that she adopted together from Seattle Humane about five years ago. Both have been featured in the Seattle Humane calendar and Riley’s picture is on the MaxMobile.
Leanne became the chair of the board in April 2021, and she continues to be a strong advocate for Seattle Humane’s work and vision for the future.
“I think it’s a really great time to be on the board. There are a lot of positive changes underway, and seeing where we have the ability to go is energizing for donors. We’re also very fortunate to be in an area where so many people want to help and contribute.”
When it comes to thinking about what’s next and Seattle Humane’s Storyline, Leanne feels a particular passion about efforts to increase access to veterinary care.
“Both of my dogs are medically challenged, and I just can’t imagine being in a situation where taking them to the vet was not an option. Pets are family, and so being able to help people provide care for their animals, that’s something I’m really hoping to see increase in the future.”
Outside of her volunteer work with Seattle Humane, Leanne loves to travel, which is something she used to do frequently with her mom. She also enjoys working with other nonprofits.
“Something great about the Seattle area is it’s so philanthropic. As I think about what I want to do in retirement, I’m really looking forward to having more time to spend as a volunteer.”